These maintenance and cleaning projects can keep your boat dock looking great
Boat docks are a focal point for waterfront property owners.
Whether they are on lakes or rivers, homes with boat docks immediately have access to a world of water recreation activities, a place for friends and family to come together – and not to mention a nice feature that can raise the property value.
But docks only provide those benefits if they are taken care of on a regular basis. This includes maintenance and cleaning. However, you have to know how to take care of your boat dock the right way in order to maintain its structural integrity, aesthetic appeal and value.
Here is how to go about performing maintenance and cleaning tasks on your boat dock to keep it in ship shape during the upcoming boating season.
Why it’s important to keep your boat dock in good condition
Many boat owners take great care of their boats, often going to great lengths to make sure it is kept in good, if not great, condition. The same care should be taken when it comes to docks.
For one, a dock that has not been properly maintained may become unusable at the worst of times. Nobody wants to be left stranded on land when friends, family and neighbors are out enjoying the water because there’s no place to store and launch a boat.
It’s not a good idea to skip regular cleaning, either. A dirty boat dock is not attractive and could even be a slip or fall hazard to those who use it. Neighbors who want the entire area to look nice may start to notice and complain, too, if there’s a certain dock that is not kept up like the others.
Always start with a visual inspection
The first step to any boat dock maintenance or cleaning project should be a close visual inspection.
These inspections can not only give you a better look at the work that needs to be done, but they also can turn up other issues or areas that need to be addressed when you perform repairs or cleaning, including loose boards or decking, nails or screws sticking up, algae or mold buildups and much more.
Don’t be afraid to be hands-on with the inspection, either. Check all railings, ladders and any other attached accessories to make sure they are secured to the dock and able to be used as intended.
How to clean a boat dock the right way
After going through the visual inspection, it’s time to tackle either maintenance projects or cleaning tasks. We’ll start with cleaning. Here’s how to go about cleaning your boat dock the right way.
Be careful when using a pressure washer
Pressure washers are common when it comes to cleaning boat docks. However, these should be handled with care, especially around docks of specific materials.
Take pressure treated lumber and tropical hardwood, as examples. Pressure washing docks made primarily of these materials every year or two is a great way to work off any muck and grime that’s accumulated.
But you have to be careful not to splinter the wood. Use a stiff brush when trying to tackle those stubborn spots rather than increasing the pressure.
Owners of structures made with composite decking don’t have to be as careful when using a pressure washer – and likely won’t have to clean every year, either.
White vinegar and baking soda is a simple cleaning solution
Rather than reach for a cleaning product, try the simple mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. Combined, these two products are great for getting mildew off your dock and helping prevent it from coming back so quickly.
Simply mix the two with some water in a spray bottle. Then, just apply and wipe away wherever mildew appears.
Don’t use products with ammonia or phosphorus
Be careful not to use any cleaning products that contain ammonia or phosphorus when cleaning boat docks. These ingredients are common in household cleaners – and get the job done – but they could be harmful to the environment if they enter the water.
These chemicals can be toxic to both humans and wildlife. Plus, both can lead to increased nutrient pollution in water bodies, which could then lead to more harmful algae blooms.
If you do want to find a product that is safe for use on boat docks, then be sure to check the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of recommended safe products.
Common boat dock maintenance projects
Aside from a thorough cleaning, your boat dock will also need some regular maintenance from time to time.
Don’t put off any needed maintenance, as the problem may only get worse or could be a hazard to people who use the dock.
Some common maintenance items to keep an eye on include:
- Replacing screws and nails that are sticking up or missing
- Lubricating any moving pieces
- Replacing rusted parts
Maintaining wood docks
Wood boat docks are beautiful when cared for properly. To keep a wood dock’s attractiveness, they need to be sanded and sealed periodically. Sealing the wood minimizes damage due to moisture, sunlight and temperature changes.
Now, most resealing projects should be done with the dock removed from the water. The offseason is a good time for these projects. If you’re hoping to get the dock back in the water as soon as possible, then just be sure that the sealant is dry first.
You should also clean the dock before resealing the wood. After cleaning the dock and making any needed repairs, sand the wood to keep its smooth texture and appearance. Then, find an environmentally friendly waterproof sealant to apply to the wood.
We’ll design your dream boat dock
Maintaining and cleaning your boat dock can extend its life and ensure you get the most of it. But when it comes time to replace, contact VW Docks.
We are always up for any challenge when it comes to designing, building and installing your dream boat dock. All we need to get started is to hear from you! So, tell us about your project and we’ll be in touch.
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