Choose one of these decking materials for a beautiful, low-maintenance boat dock
A good boat dock is what brings together the appearance of every lakeside or riverfront home. Since one of the primary benefits of living along the water is having fast and convenient access to boats and other fun watercraft, having a high-quality, beautiful boat dock is on the top priority short list for most property owners.
Of course, the first step in all of this is to have a dock designed for your property and installed by a professional. Then, when you are having those pre-installation conversations and you are choosing what type of boat dock is right for your property, you will need to come to a decision on what’s perhaps one of the most aesthetically important aspects of any dock project: dock decking.
Now, we’ve covered how exactly to go about selecting the right decking, but what about the years after it has been installed? There are a few things you need to know about maintenance and repairs to keep the dock decking material looking clean, safe and visually appealing.
What is dock decking?
Dock decking is the material used for the floor of your boat dock. The right decking, matched with the right property and structures around the dock can really bring together an entire property and help it stand out, especially in crowded lakefront neighborhoods.
Decking comes in several different materials. Common materials include pressure-treated wood, natural wood, composite planks, vinyl, modified wood and sunwalk.
What materials are available to you may depend on the company that built your structure. For example, at VW Docks, we cover many options.
You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of specific decking materials, but we’re here to focus on the basics of decking repair and maintenance.
These materials offer low-maintenance care
If low-maintenance is your focus, then you will likely want to pick either vinyl, composite planks, modified wood or Sunwalk.
Vinyl offers the lowest maintenance needed to keep your dock looking great all year long. The decking will also last a long time because it won’t succumb to mildew issues. You will need to keep up on sweeping and clearing of dirt and other grime, though.
Vinyl also does not scratch as easily as some materials, making it a popular choice. However, the one drawback of vinyl is that it comes at a cost.
Like vinyl, modified wood also is not as budget-friendly, but it’s going to be longer-lasting and won’t need as much maintenance over the years as other wood options.
A common praise heard for modified wood is that you get the look of natural wood with added durability.
Anyone looking for low-maintenance decking for their boat dock should at least consider composite planks. There’s little to now wear and tear that some other, more natural options suffer from.
However, you will need to keep up on sweeping and washing. This will prevent mildew from building up on the structure.
On another note, be careful not to sand or pressure-wash composite planks too aggressively. The material may begin to peel if you do.
The final option for decking that we will cover is Sunwalk, which is one of the more innovative materials available on the market.
With Sunwalk, you’re going to get the strength, overall durability and long-lasting qualities of other non-wood decking options. You will also see a few more benefits, such as being more slip-resistant.
Here at VW Docks, Sunwalk is very popular with our residential and commercial customers who go with our aluminum sectional docks.
How to keep dock decking clean
With some dock types, such as natural wood, the cleaning and maintenance list can get rather long. That’s not as often the case with the materials we’ve listed above. However, each of those materials still needs some care from time to time, although it is mostly cleaning.
For some decking type, including composite, you can pressure wash to remove any dirt or algae that has built up. As with most decking materials, you will want to keep the pressure level at a low or gentle level.
Some materials may not be able to withstand a pressure washing, though. Others that are painted shouldn’t be cleaned this way either. For these types of decking materials, pick up a medium bristle brush and get to work on those dirty areas. If the dock is painted, then it’s a good idea to time your cleaning around when the structure will need a fresh coat of paint.
If you use a cleaning agent, then you should always check to make sure that cleaner is approved for use by local authorities. The U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a directory of cleaners that can be filtered to show which are safest for use in marine and water situations.
A simple, safe solution for cleaning docks and decking
No matter your dock decking type, there are two easy-to-make cleaners that are both environmentally friendly and won’t damage your material: white vinegar or baking soda. These are both excellent for fighting off mildew as spots begin to appear.
Simply combine the white vinegar or baking soda with some water, place the combination of your choice in a spray bottle. Spray on any mildew present and wipe away. It’s pretty straightforward.
When quality and value matter, choose VW Docks
The best boat docks are those that put an emphasis on high quality and help their owners realize maximum, lasting value. Those are the types of dock that VW Docks stakes its reputation on providing to our customers.
VW Docks has been designing, building and installing docks of only the highest quality since 1959. Over the years, we have tweaked and improved our dock designs in every way imaginable, so you know that when you buy any type of dock from us – sectional or floating, residential or commercial – you are getting a structure that is beautiful and long-lasting.
Let’s get started on dreaming up your ideal boat dock. Request a quote today. We are able to build any dock and look forward to taking on your project.
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