What is non-slip decking and is it the best option for my garden?

Black labrador standing on non-slip decking

There are many types of non-slip decking, providing a wealth of options for creating a safe and beautiful outdoor space.

Garden decking soared in popularity in the 90s, when many Brits were inspired by hit TV show Ground Force. We fell in love with decking as our relationships with our gardens changed. No longer just seen as somewhere for keen gardeners to grow plants, they became an extension of our homes and we embraced the concept of outdoor living. There are no signs of our desire for decking abating. Instantly creating a space for relaxing or socialising, a garden deck has become an increasingly popular addition to a home.

Unfortunately, despite its many benefits, traditional decking has one major disadvantage: it becomes dangerously slippery when it’s wet. And that’s a major problem, particularly here in the UK where decking can make a garden a no-go area for much of the year. This is the challenge that Gripsure founders Mike Nicholson and Ross Crouch were grappling with when they first came up with the idea of non-slip decking back in 2004.

What are the benefits of non-slip decking?

If you are considering decking for your garden, you will have a lot to think about, from your budget to the look you want to achieve. Safety may not be the first thing on your mind. However, anyone who has experienced wet, slippery decking will know how important it is.

You may be dreaming of hot, sunny days enjoying your deck with family and friends. However, the reality is that there will also be wet days and icy days when you need to step outside. Installing non-slip decking means knowing that you, your family and visitors can safely walk into the garden, whatever the weather.

We think you deserve more than that though. Non-slip decking is not just about meeting a safety need, it’s about making more of our gardens. As we all spend more time outdoors, should we really limit the hours we spend in our gardens to those rare, perfect summer days? What about enjoying a magical winter night around the fire pit with friends? Getting the kids to let off steam by tearing around in the rain? Or simply taking a few moments to reflect on the changing seasons?

Non-slip decking opens up a world of possibilities. Perhaps you want to invest in an outdoor building for all-year-round entertaining or simply adapt your planting scheme to achieve annual interest. Anti-slip decking takes you a step closer to making the most of your outdoor space throughout the seasons.

How does non-slip decking work?

Gripsure decking is made from high-quality sustainable timber. When we manufacture our boards, we add anti-slip features. These are strips of aggregate set in resin, which never get slippery, even in wet or icy weather. This process provides each deck board with grip without spoiling the natural beauty of our timber boards.

Our residential range includes many different types of anti-slip decking, but each one is based on our tried and tested combination of high-quality timber and aggregate strips.

Other forms of non-slip decking include inserts made from rubber crumb, high-grip strips, which can be attached to existing decking and even anti-slip decking paint. However, high-quality non-slip timber decking achieves the best slip resistance in wet or icy weather and when algae has built up.

What are non-slip ratings?

The non-slip rating of a surface is measured using the Stanley Pendulum test. This is an industry standard test, which was designed to tackle the biggest cause of accident and injury in the UK: slips, trips and falls. The test is not only used for decking but for floors and a range of outdoor surfaces.

It calculates the Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of a product, which is based on friction. A slider, attached to a weight that mimics the sole of a shoe, is swung downwards to make contact with the surface. The height that the weighted ‘shoe’ reaches after touching the surface from three different directions gives the PTV measurement. Crucially, the test is carried out several times in wet and dry conditions.

The higher the PTV range, the less slippery the surface. For example, a PTV range of 65 or over is classed as a very low slip potential, while 0 to 24 is high.

What anti-slip rating should I look for in decking?

To ensure your decking has an acceptable non-slip rating, it should score a minimum of 36. All decking surfaces will achieve a low slip potential in dry conditions but the test score also reflects the board’s performance in wet weather.

Every product in Gripsure’s non-slip decking range has a PTV of at least 83. This is significantly higher than the minimum standard for very low risk, which is 65 and over. For example, our popular Home decking has an 83 PTV rating and our striking Contemporary decking achieves a score of 85. Our Classic decking board, which has been used at visitor attractions including Bristol Zoo, achieves a PTV slip rating of 100 – the best possible score.

Importantly, we measure the performance of our decking over time. That has shown that our decking retains its low risk rating over a number of years. In fact, we are so confident in the safety of our decking that every board comes with a 15 year non-slip performance warranty.

Installing and maintaining non-slip timber decking

One of the reasons why decking is so popular is that it is easy to install, compared with laying a patio, and is lower maintenance than a lawn. Installing non-slip decking is very similar to building any other deck. The main difference is that, if you need to cut any boards, you will need a diamond disk blade to saw through the tough timber and aggregate.

The build-up of moss and algae is one of the main causes of slippery decking. If you choose anti-slip decking, this will be much less of an issue. However, to get the best out of your anti-slip decking, it’s important to keep it clean. Fortunately, this just involves giving it a regular sweep with a stiff broom and an annual pressure wash to remove more stubborn growth. This will not only help your decking stay as safe as possible, it will also keep it looking beautiful.

So, if you are among the growing number of people considering decking for your garden, non-slip could be the best option for you. It will give you peace of mind that you, your family and friends can safely step outside, whatever the weather. But more than that, it will help you make the most of your garden, allowing you to spend more quality time outdoors.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.