Will grooved timber decking boards be less slippery than plain boards?

By far the majority of timber decking boards, boardwalks and piers built around the world are surfaced with plain timber boards. Whilst grooved deck boards are often marketed as "anti-slip" there is no evidence to suggest that they perform any better or worse than plain decking. Choice of deck board style is therefore a matter of personal preference.

Grooved timber decking boards were in fact developed to assist with water drainage on decking, helping to move moisture away from the surface as quickly as possible. With this in mind, a fall of around 1:100 should be built into a deck to help the surface drain and prevent standing water. Grooved decking boards should be laid in the direction of the fall – away from any adjoining property.

There are of course many anti-slip decking options available (many from TDCA members) should you wish to opt for timber decking boards with this safety enhancement. This can be particularly relevant in higher risk areas such as stairs, ramps and bridges that are perhaps subject to wetting. Many commercial installations will choose anti-slip timber decking boards to demonstrate the high safety credentials of the surface to customers and visitors.

New deck boards enhanced with an anti-slip property can be purchased – the most common being a resin and aggregate formulation placed into some of the grooves. This sits slightly proud of the timber decking boards and can providing a reassuring grip when walking over it. Alternatively, there are now a number of anti-slip decking products that can be fitted retrospectively to timber decking, either within the grooves or to fix on the surface. They can be used for both small and large areas, dependent on the specific requirements.

Choosing anti-slip decking does not reduce the need for regular care and maintenance of timber decking in order to maximise its service life as a reliable and attractive outdoor surface.

Please contact the TDCA if you wish to be made aware of DeckMark quality assessed manufacturers of anti-slip timber decking boards.