10 Must-Know Tips for Preparing Your New Dock for the Winter Months
You finally did it. You scraped up the time and funds to put in that new dock you've been wanting. But now that the colder months are approaching, you won't be using it much.
Just because you won't be using it doesn't mean your dock should be neglected. That new dock needs to be probably cared for during the winter if you want to keep it in good shape.
But docks are meant to be outside, so they're already prepped to withstand the elements, right? Well, not exactly. Here are 10 things you should do to protect your dock this winter.
1. Store all Accessories
If you have any accessories that usually hang out on your dock, all these things need to be put away for the winter. These might include chairs, drink holders, or tables.
Remove all these items and put them in storage. Keep them somewhere that will protect them from the moisture and cold temperatures that come with winter.
Your dock must be completely clear for you to properly protect it for the winter.
2. Tie Floating Docks
If you have a floating dock, make sure you tie it to the shoreline. This gives it a secure place to stay throughout the winter.
Depending on where you live and how low temperatures get, the water your dock rests on may freeze. This can damage your dock if it's still resting in the water.
So, remove the dock and secure it in place. Don't forget to bring in the anchors too.
3. Use a Deck Cleaner
Deck cleaners aren't just used for simply washing your dock off. Instead, this cleaner includes chemicals that help protect your dock.
Whether you can see them or not, you may have algae and fungus on your dock. There's probably a bit of dirt or sand on there too. This should all be cleaned off before you leave your dock for the winter.
Clean your dock's surface thoroughly to make sure none of these harmful things are left on top.
4. Check for Waterproofing
Since you're taking the time to prep your dock, now's a good time to make sure your waterproofing is still working. You can do this by covering the dock with water.
Splash some up on the dock, or pull out a hose and spray it down. However you get the water there, it'll show you if there are areas that aren't repelling water anymore.
You'll be able to tell by looking at what the water does on your dock. If needed, re-seal your dock before winter storms start to come in.
5. Check the Boat Lift
Your boat lift needs to be working properly before winter sets in. If it isn't holding air the way it should, you need to fix the problem. Waiting is an option, but it's better to just do it now.
You should also check to make sure all parts look good. Everything should be good and secure and working properly.
If you really want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, bring out a professional to inspect the lift for you.
6. Talk to Neighbors
Two pairs of eyes are better than one, so don't hesitate to reach out to your neighbors. Ask your surrounding neighbors to help keep an eye on your dock throughout the winter. You can return the favor by helping them with something.
While this may not prevent any issues from arriving, it can help you catch issues early on.
7. Prepare for Ice
If you tend to get a lot of ice in your area, you'll need to prepare the area around your dock. If you've removed the dock, you won't need to worry about this step.
If your dock is liftable, make sure you have it high enough to withstand the amount of ice that's likely to build up. You may want to lift it several feet.
Permanent docks are built to withstand a lot, but ice can cause damage to them too. If you're worried that ice may build up enough to cause damage, consider investing in some de-icers for the legs.
Make sure you have enough de-icers to protect your entire dock.
8. Keep Ice Away
If you'd rather not purchase and install de-icers, you can work on preventing ice in the first place. This can be done through the use of agitators and bubblers.
Both of these tools keep the water moving, which prevents the water from freezing.
9. Perform Dock Cable Maintenance
Your cables are important parts of your dock system, so don't forget about them. You'll be sorry if you do.
Make sure all pumps and drains are clear of the water. Otherwise, they may freeze, which could spell disaster.
Overall, the more you can deter or prevent ice from being in and around your dock, the better.
10. Verify Insurance Coverage
If you haven't insured your dock yet, now's the time. Dock insurance can really save you a lot of pain down the road.
Docks aren't cheap, so you'd probably rather not have to pay for yours again. Insurance will help you cover the cost of repairing or replacing your dock if something happens. Choose insurance that covers winter-related problems.
If you already have insurance, make sure there haven't been any changes made to your policy that you don't understand. Always verify that you're doing what's required of you so you can use the insurance if you need to.
Protect Your New Dock this Winter
Whether you bought it on a whim or you've been working towards getting it, your new dock should be your pride and joy. Don't neglect it when winter comes, or you may be in for some hefty expenses.
To give your dock the best chance possible, prep it for the winter months. Then, when the warm months return, your dock will be all ready for you to use.
Protecting your dock is important year-round, not just during the winter months. Click here for more tips for protecting your dock.
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