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5 Things You Can Do to Extend the Life of Your Dock

by Duncan Seawall

The same environment that makes up Florida's serene Golf Coast, can quickly deteriorate your waterfront property without proper care. Just like your house, your dock needs regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it withstands everything from daily corrosion to storm surges.


Related Blog: Preventing Seawall Failure: 4 Common Causes and How to Avoid Them


To ensure your dock continues to serve you reliably, we've put together 5 maintenance tips for prolonging its lifespan:



How to Inspect Your Dock

Before you can effectively extend the life of your dock, you need to know where you stand. Deterioration can manifest in various forms, from wood rot and loose pilings to warped decking and rusted hardware.


An annual professional inspection is a great investment and can catch potential problems early, helping you avoid more extensive—and expensive—repairs in the future.



1. Quick Cleaning Tips

Regular cleaning can go a long way toward protecting your dock from deterioration caused by both the marine environment and water pollution. Here are the best cleaning products to use to protect and maintain your dock materials:

  • Biodegradable Cleaning Products: A paste of baking soda and water can be used to great effect. Likewise, a mixture of olive oil and white vinegar can be utilized to scour away oil stains on your custom dock.
  • Pressure Washer: This incredibly powerful tool that can do more harm than good in untrained hands. Start with a fan-tip nozzle and never hold the washer any closer than one inch away from the dock deck. Any nearer, and you are at risk of damaging the deck. If your dock is built with cedar wood, never use pressure that exceeds 600 pounds per square inch.



2. Re-Stain Your Custom Wood Dock

Applying a fresh coat of stain not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your dock but can also prolong its lifespan. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to undertake re-staining during the cooler months, when water levels are typically lower.


Re-staining at times of low tide minimizes the risk of stain pigments contaminating the water. Also, make sure you opt for a water-based stain, which is safer for the aquatic life and birds inhabiting the area around your dock.



3. Install Protective Dock Accessories

Few things can shorten the lifespan of your deck quicker than a bouncing boat. To prevent your dock from getting worn down each time you dock your boat or the tide rises, install one of these dock accessories:

  • Rub Rails
  • Bumpers
  • Boat Fenders

When rubber, whether in the form of recycled hose or professionally installed marine grade edging is in place, your dock is less likely to need extensive repair due to repeated collisions between your boat and dock. As a bonus, proper rub rails can extend the good looks and seaworthiness of your boat.


4. Repair Tricks for a More Durable Dock

Southwest Florida weather can take a lot out of a wooden boat dock. For this reason, always insist on pressure-treated wood for wood dock construction.


Pressure-treated dock pilings and decks are made to withstand the rigors of hurricanes, high tides, and anything else one might expect in this marvelous part of the Sunshine State.

Start your dock maintenance with an inspection from Duncan Seawall! As a seasoned Florida dock builder, we can offer tips and tricks for cost-effectively extending the life of your dock. Download our Complete Guide to Docks to discover more about building and maintaining durable custom docks in Florida!

Complete Guide to Docks


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