Non-slip strips

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Timber decking can get remarkably slippery in wet conditions, particularly when in a woodland. Bridges or boardwalks all need some sort of anti-slip treatment applied to their decking, and the paths at Battleby demonstrate a number of techniques.

The simplest approach is to use boards with grooves in the surface, like the recycled plastic boards on the boardwalk at Battleby. This helps, but it does not provide a ideal solution for a secure enough footing for a long stretch of decking.

recycled plastic boards with grooves battleby

The best, but usually also the most expensive, approach is to use boards already fitted with glass reinforced plastic strips, impregnated with hard wearing coarse grit, embeded into the board surface, as on this simple bridge. Several manufacturers supply decking boards that has already been treated in this way, or you can send grooved boards away to have anti-slip inserts fitted into two or three grooves on each board.

non slip strips

Another non-slip technique is to fit non-slip strips or flat sheets directly on top of the decking surface. The strips or sheets are made from glass reinforced plastic, impregnated with hard wearing coarse grit. Non-slip flat sheets, trade name SureGrip, have been fixed to the timber boardwalk at Battleby. They are a 'quick fix' solution, that works well, and are particularly suitable for fixing to existing decking boards that are already slippery. However, a large expanse of non-slip sheeting is not partcularly very attractive in the countryside, but more suitable for urban setting. The non-slip strips would be more visually appealing in a countryside location, with the timber boards still visable.

non-slip flat sheets

A cheap solution that will be more secure than just plain boards is to hammer fencing staples in an irregular pattern over the surface of each board. This will give some grip, but the surface will still be slippery in very wet or icy conditions.

The one approach you should never use is to fix chicken wire or plastic mesh onto the boards! Over time, holes will appear in the wire or mesh, creating a trip hazard. It is also very difficult to replace, and most people just add another layer of wire or mesh directly on top. This makes things even worse, once the new wire or mesh has worn there is a thick layer of loose material that presents an even greater risk of tripping over.

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