Choosing the right aggregate for your non-slip decking

Kids playing on scooters on non-slip timber decking

If you are considering anti-slip decking for a home or commercial project, it is helpful to understand a bit more about the different types of aggregate and how they work.

Small particles of stone, called aggregate, are what give Gripsure decking its non-slip properties. We add aggregate to inserts in our timber boards so that when you step on Gripsure decking you can be sure you won’t slip – even if it’s wet or icy underfoot. If you are considering anti-slip decking for a home or commercial project, it is helpful to understand a bit more about the different types of aggregate and how they work.

Why is choosing the right aggregate important?

When you buy non-slip decking you are making a long-term investment for decking that is safe all year round with minimal maintenance. The type, and size (known as ‘grading’) of aggregate used will determine how your non-slip decking will perform initially and in the long-term.

What does the aggregate do?

There are many different types of non-slip aggregate, which all have slightly different properties and therefore perform differently. The overall goal of the non-slip aggregate is to increase the amount of friction between the timber decking and the person walking on it. For maximum friction you need to increase the amount of surface area available for your feet to grip. This is best achieved by using an angular stone that won’t polish up.

The best way to ensure you have good non-slip aggregate is to look at some key features, which we in the industry call Polished Stone Value (PSV), Aggregate Abrasion Value (AAV) and Hardness. PSV indicates how easily the aggregate will polish during use and the higher the value, the longer the aggregate will continue to perform. AAV is a measure of how the aggregate will wear down when exposed to a hard material. Aggregates with a low AAV will wear down slower and will therefore last longer.

A stone called bauxite is considered to be the ‘Gold Standard’ when it comes to non-slip aggregates. With a PSV of 72, AAV of 1.6, and Hardness of 9 you are guaranteed to have a long lasting high performance anti-slip aggregate.

Aesthetics and colouring: getting the right look for your outdoor project

We are often asked if we can provide decking with different coloured aggregates to match a design or to create a contrast. It is possible to pigment aggregates like bauxite but there are a couple of drawbacks. The first is the extra cost involved in changing the colour of the aggregate. The second is that through normal use the pigmented coating on the aggregate will wear off, revealing the natural colour of the stone.

Making outdoor spaces safer to comply with DDA regulations

For some commercial projects the colour may be needed to comply with DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) regulations, by making ramps and steps more visible. Once the pigment has worn off the product will no longer be DDA compliant.

The best way to comply with DDA legislation is to select two naturally contrasting coloured aggregates, which both have good non-slip properties. An obvious choice would be to use buff bauxite alongside grey bauxite. There are other aggregate types such as Emery, Silicone Carbide and Quartz, but they all have different PSV, AAV and Hardness values to bear in mind.

Get advice from your non-slip decking manufacturer

The non-slip decking manufacturer should be able to advise you on the different properties of the aggregates they use. At Gripsure we are always very happy to give advice and assist you in making an informed choice. Getting advice at the outset when you are planning your project will help ensure your non-slip decking looks great and that it lasts.