Static Electricity on Composite Decking

Home owners invest thousands of dollars every year on home upgrades. A common upgrade on a US home is the addition of an outdoor deck to enjoy leisurely time with family and friends.

Outdoor decks are easy to build and maintain, but one commonly overlooked factor is that new decks made from plastic composite material generate static electricity that potentially becomes a nuisance through the first years unless treated with a topical anti-static solution.

Static electricity on decks can occur when dry climate and low level humid air combine with dust particles that lay on deck surfaces.

As an alternative to wood, insulating materials such as plastic composites are often used. The peculiarity about insulating materials is that they hold in electro static charge, until electrons get excited by friction, and static is then transferred onto another object.

Typically, the manner in which a person walks, e.g. scuffing and friction of the shoes against the floor, or the action of brushing against furniture, even sitting and rising from seats are ways in which people on decks get electrostatically charged.

If a body becomes charged, then it only is a matter of time until it discharges onto a grounded source such as a railing, a door knob, or another body as they come in contact. An electrostatic discharge (ESD) on a person, may range anywhere from a mild shock to a very painful shock.

In the US, Heavy Duty Staticide® is used as a maintenance product for eliminating static from composite decking. This product is a non-toxic topical anti-stat that leaves behind a surface-active residual substance that washes away with water. Since this product is not a permanent coating, reapplications are advised after weather conditions such as rains or snow.

Static generated from composite materials decreases as the material ages, the recommended product application is regularly throughout the first year, and periodically after that if necessary.

*Image by Irina Mos/