How Long Do Docks Last?

Docks are meant to withstand the elements, and they are built to do just that. But over time, docks can start to deteriorate. Whether you own a wooden, composite or aluminum dock, there are some things you can do to help it last longer and make sure you get your money’s worth out of it.

The Material: Choose the Right Materials

Wood is an affordable and popular choice for a dock, but it can also become vulnerable to damage over time. You’ll want to use a material that is sturdy, durable and easy to maintain. Pressure-treated pine is a common and affordable option that should last for decades with proper maintenance.

However, it’s important to remember that softwoods like pine are susceptible to decay, mold, rot, and algae growth. You’ll need to check your dock frequently for signs of this, and it may be best to consider a new boat dock before the damage becomes too severe.

The Deck: Choosing the right material for your dock’s deck is one of the most important decisions you can make. It’ll determine how much money you’ll spend on upkeep and repairs, and it will influence the longevity of your dock. Several different types of wood are used to build a deck, including hardwoods and softwoods. The most durable and resistant of these are pressure-treated woods, but they can also be quite expensive.

If you’re building a deck with wood, it’s a good idea to use a waterproofing material. It’ll protect your deck from moisture, which can cause the wood to rot. It’s also a good idea to use a marine-grade oil or wax to keep your deck from absorbing water.

Aluminum is a popular option for boat docks because it’s lightweight, weather-resistant and low maintenance. It’s also more durable than wood, withstands damage better and does not rust.

But aluminum does corrode and can be encrusted with hard-water stains, calcium and lime deposits, and other kinds of dirt. So it’s important to make sure you clean up your dock regularly and replace any rotting or damaged decking quickly to keep it looking great.

Foundation Deterioration: If your dock’s foundation is weakened, it could collapse under its own weight. It’s a very dangerous situation, and it’s a good idea to call in the professionals for a safety assessment.

The Age of the Dock: Older docks will generally have a longer lifespan than brand new ones, but they’ll still need to be repaired and maintained regularly. You’ll need to make sure you’re keeping up with all necessary maintenance, otherwise your dock will eventually need to be replaced.

Dock Upkeep: The number of hours that you spend maintaining your dock will have an impact on its lifespan and should be taken into account when deciding whether it’s time to replace your dock. If you haven’t done much upkeep in the past few years, then you should probably consider a new dock sooner rather than later.

Aside from regular maintenance, docks should be bubbled periodically during the winter to prevent water freezing on the deck. The process of “bubbling” a dock involves placing an electric motor on the top of the structure that draws warmer lake water up from below and forces it back toward the dock, where it’s cooled and prevented from freezing.