Whenever you go out on the dock, the last thing on your mind is probably the dock itself. You have the boat and the water to look forward to. But, if you want your dock to be there for a long time and provide you with decades of enjoyment, you must pay some attention to it. Maintaining decks and docks is very important in order to keep them in shape.
The type of care your dock will need completely depends on the material it is made from. Concrete docks are built to last and require minimal maintenance. You can always pressure wash them to keep them clean. Plus, you can add outdoor mats to the areas you plan on walking on the most to allow for safe footing and more. When it comes to wood however, you have a lot more work to do.
1 – Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness
We’ve all heard that before, but when it comes to decks and docks, it is particularly true. Stains and debris can over time pose a real risk to your wood’s durability. Often, just sweeping it will do but every few months a pressure wash is necessary. Pressure washing is great, but it is not to be overused. If you use it all the time, you could end up splintering and damaging your deck or dock. Always check for mildew, make sure no soil deposits stay in place and you should be fine.
2 – Protecting The Wood
If the wood used for your deck or dock has not been treated to withstand water you may be in trouble. Over time, water can erode and even rot the wood on your dock. Every splinter, every crevice on the wood is a pool where water can sit and do further damage. For this reason, it is good to sand your deck or dock once a year and fill any of those crevices with a sealant. You should reseal the entire thing regularly to avoid damage. Also, when you sand and seal the wood, the dock looks beautiful and new.
Water is not the only thing that can damage the wood however, the sun is quite abrasive as well. Just think of what happens to the paint on most cars after ten or fifteen years. Likewise, the wood will take a beating from the sun. So, make sure the sealant you use protects against water and the sun alike.
3 – If it is Broken, Fix It
Sometimes a piece of wood may break, it happens, perhaps the pressure of an accident or whatever the reason. So, the second you see any issue you should repair it to avoid further damage. Make sure you use quality materials when replacing any piece of wood and that the type of hardware such as screws is made to withstand water damage, otherwise you are just asking to replace the whole thing again in no time.
4 – Know Your Environment
Not all docks suffer the same type of onslaught from the elements. The temperature of the water makes an impact, the salinity and the marine life that may find your wood to be a nice place to take up residence.
5 – Shield Against Organisms
Some types of life will find the wood on your deck or dock to be irresistible, they will find any crevice and make their home there, slowly eating the wood and damaging your structure. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as properly sealing the wood and adding an insecticide. You want to make sure you are using the right insecticide as there is no need to pollute the water and harm anything outside the structure.
At a certain point you must evaluate whether your wood platform is worth repairing or if you need to go for a new one. It’s never a good idea to delay maintenance or replacement efforts because the longer it takes, the more unsafe the structure becomes. If replacement work is needed, concrete is a far better choice. Not only will you have far less maintenance concerns, but it will last for decades. Something to consider when you are spending your weekend trying to paint or seal your wood dock.