South Florida has ideal summer weather for boating, but it's not-so-ideal for your boat's dock. The heat, humidity, and salt water can take a toll on your wooden dock, causing it to rot and decay quickly. Here are five tips on how to maintain your dock in the South Florida summer heat.
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Seal Wooden Docks
One step you can take is sealing your dock. The heat and humidity can cause wood to swell and contract, leading to cracking and splitting. Applying a sealant will help protect the wood from water damage and UV rays.
There are several different types of sealants to choose from, including oil-based and water-based sealants. We recommend applying a water-based sealant when the tides are low to reduce the environmental impact on fish and waterfowl near your dock.
Inspect the Underwater Support
Did you know that heat waves can happen at the bottom of the ocean, too? If the air is hot outside, the water temperatures increase as well, which can potentially lead to issues with your dock's underwater support.
Consider scheduling an underwater inspection of your dock to check for any signs of decay or damage, such as rotting wood or rusted metal. Ignoring any issues with the underwater support can lead to a dangerous situation and costly repairs in the long run.
Remove Organic Attachments
Since green algae grow more in warm water, algae can cover docks in the Florida heat. Algae, barnacles, and other organic attachments can cause damage to your dock and boat over time. These attachments can weaken the wood and make it more susceptible to decay. They also can attach to your boat, creating unnecessary drag and slowing down your motor.
Make sure to regularly remove any organic growth using a pressure washer or a brush. If you notice that the attachments are particularly stubborn, you may need to use a specialized cleaner.
Repair or Replace Damaged Areas
At least once a season for regular docks and more frequently for pressure-washed docks, inspect your dock for any signs of damage. Look for any gray or blue discoloration, which may indicate rot, and use a probe to check for soft spots. If you notice any areas of decay or rot, you should call a dock maintenance professional to help you replace the affected boards with high-quality dock materials. Attempting to repair or replace damaged areas without proper knowledge and tools can result in further damage or potential safety hazards.
Repair or Replace Hardware
Since South Florida's humid and hot climate can cause rust, the hardware on your dock can become corroded or damaged over time. This can lead to instability and potential accidents. Inspect your dock's hardware regularly for rust, discoloration, and bending, and make sure to replace any damaged or corroded hardware immediately. Use high-quality materials that resist corrosion in moist environments, like stainless steel, to ensure your dock's stability and longevity.
Let a Professional Take Care of Your Dock
Maintaining your dock in the South Florida summer heat requires proactive measures to protect it from the damaging effects of heat and humidity. By following these five tips, you can help your dock hold up to the heat.
You can preserve your dock's longevity and durability without needing to do the work yourself. Turn to the professionals at Duncan Seawall for all your dock maintenance, repair, and construction needs this summer in South Florida. We can safely and efficiently protect your dock from the summer heat. Contact us to learn more about our dock maintenance services.