Each year, 1 in 3 adults and half of those over 80 will have at least one fall, according to the NHS. With the cold weather settling in, there can be an increased risk of trips and slips outdoors due to damaged outdoor tiles or extremely slippery surfaces.
The experts at Stone Superstore have compiled six top tips to ensure your garden is weather-proof, helping to prevent potential hazards:
Clear away debris and seal stone pavers
Try to keep your outdoor tiles free of leaves, dirt, and debris, as wet leaves can promote the growth of mould and mildew, which can lead to staining and very slippery surfaces when wet.
You can clean your outdoor tiles by sweeping away debris first and then washing them down with a suitable cleaning solution. This will both prevent staining and mould growth during the winter.
It’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals; instead, use a pH-neutral cleaner designed for outdoor use. Try to refrain from using salt or chemical de-icers on outdoor tiles too, as they can corrode the surface, creating cracks that could be a potential tripping hazard.
Additionally, consider applying a sealant to stone paving slabs. Sealing will create a protective barrier that helps prevent water from seeping into the slabs and freezing, which can cause cracks and damage.
Fix any cracks
Cracked tiles are a leading cause of falls, so it’s important to inspect your tiles for any existing cracks or chips and to repair them as soon as possible (ideally before winter weather). Repairing your cracked tiles will prevent further water infiltration, as freezing and thawing cycles can exacerbate existing damage.
Anti-slip coatings or outdoor mats
Consider applying an antislip coating to tiles that are not already rated as “anti-slip”. These products provide traction and help prevent slips in wet or icy conditions.
You could also place outdoor mats in high-traffic areas to provide extra traction and help trap moisture, preventing slippery conditions.
Ensure proper outdoor lighting to improve visibility, especially in the dark or during winter evenings. Well-lit pathways are safer on winter nights.
Snow removal and preventing ice
Icy conditions can cause severe injuries if a fall occurs. After a snowfall, remove snow from your outdoor tiles using a snow shovel or snow blower. This reduces the risk of ice formation and the weight of the snow, which can cause stress on tiles.
Wear appropriate non-slip footwear when walking on outdoor tiles during the winter. Slippers may not offer enough grip when taking the bins out.
Molly Woodward-Moor, creative director at Stone Superstore, added, “Protecting outdoor tiles during the winter is crucial to prevent damage and maintain their longevity.
Prevention is key to avoiding slips and falls on outdoor tiles in winter. Following these tips can help keep your outdoor areas safe and looking their best during the colder months.”