My Deck Is Too Slippery in the Winter

Slippery decks can be a hazard at any time of year, but winter weather can aggravate an already dangerous situation. Often the stairs leading up to a deck provide an emergency entrance and exit to the home and must be kept accessible for safety reasons. Homes that have been subdivided into apartments often use a deck for sole and separate tenant access. Whatever the situation, safe footing on a deck and the stairs leading to or from it is highly essential.

Decks should be kept slip-free in all seasons.

Surface Issues

A winter deck may become slick as a result of precipitation that has not been adequately swept from the surface. All decks should have a slight slope to allow for moisture runoff and must be kept clear of snow and ice. Autumn is a good time to thoroughly sweep or power wash your deck to remove any dirt, debris or algae that can turn a winter rain or snowstorm into an accident just waiting to happen.

Winter Maintenance

Keeping your deck cleared of snow will allow the sun to melt underlying ice and allow the melt-water to run safely through the spaces between your deck boards or be pulled harmlessly by gravity to the ground below. Using salt to melt snow and ice on a deck is not an advisable practice as it can damage your decking material and negatively impact the vegetation planted nearby. Look for salt-free products that provide an environmentally-safe way to gain safe winter footing in icy conditions.

A Stairway Solution

The ease with which a homeowner or tenant can slip on a slippery set of deck stairs necessitates special care. A hardware store or your local home center is a good place to look for self-adhesive, non-slip traction treads that you can easily install yourself to the stairs of your deck. A nasty fall may be easily prevented by applying two or three strips of the peel-and-stick product parallel to the leading edge of each stair tread.

Anti-slip Wood Coating

For larger surfaces like the deck flooring, there is an anti-slip coating that you can apply to the wood. This substance has an acrylic-based formula that allows surface water evaporation while impeding the damaging effects of moisture penetration into the wooden surface. The coating dries in three to five hours between coats and your deck is ready for next-day use. The sealant may be safely applied over paint and stain to form a safe, slip-free base to help guard against adverse winter weather conditions.

Kevin Ann Reinhart

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.