6 Signs you need to replace your Dock
In our experience, at least two things happen every year – record-setting water levels mean that water waves can dislodge logs, trees, and other floating objects that may have been sitting on the shore for decades. They get washed along the shoreline and could hit your dock during a storm. Nearby docks or decking from a neighbor’s pier can easily be washed out too. The debris could hit your dock, not to mention the boats and jet skis that may get dislodged during storms.
Dangers of a damaged or worn-out dock
The worn-out or damaged dock shouldn’t be taken lightly because it can result in severe injuries and death in the worst-case scenario. Auxiliary structures like ropes and cables must be inspected regularly as they hold a lot of weight in place. Suppose these ropes and cables snap while you and your loved ones use the dock; they could inflict severe injuries due to the force released.
Additionally, docks offer anchorage to water vessels like jet skis and boats. If your dock is damaged, there is a chance your boat will drift away or get smashed on the shoreline, causing irreparable damage. A compromised dock could get submerged in water, and if it has electrical wiring, this may pose a risk for anyone coming into contact with the water.
The dangers of a worn-out or damaged dock cannot be underestimated. Failure to fix the problem in your dock could result in accidents and other disasters. So, the moment you realize that damage is setting into your dock, don’t hesitate to have the issue addressed.
Signs it’s time to replace your dock.
No matter how sturdy your dock is, it will succumb to damage in the long run. It’s now up to you to inspect it regularly and note signs of damage that could indicate it’s time to get the entire dock replaced, not repaired. Here are some of the signs your dock is in very bad shape and needs to be replaced.
1. Damaged foundation
Your dock’s foundation is what supports the entire structure. Once its integrity is partially or fully compromised, the dock platform might come tumbling down into the water even at a slight nudge. If you notice signs of bending or severe cracking in the foundation, it’s time to do a complete overhaul.
Find out if the damage is limited to one or two pillars. If so, you can get them replaced with new ones. Get the services of a licensed professional who can help determine the exact extent of the damage. An accurate assessment will help you determine whether or not you should replace your current dock.
2. Extensive corrosion
Water is a highly corrosive agent, particularly where the saline environment is involved. Suppose you chose metallic structures to support your deck; the metallic foundation is somewhat more stable and durable. However, many metal types are prone to corrosion and rust. The ideal type of metal you should use is aluminum. It’s important to mention that aluminum has been proved to fall prey to calcification, a process that leads to corrosion.
The moment you notice extensive corrosion or rust on some of your dock’s parts, it is in your best interest to nip the bud early enough. Replace it before the entire structure tumbles down. If a licensed professional advises you to replace the dock, don’t hesitate.
3. Wood rot
One of the common materials used in making piling docks is wood. Unfortunately, wood doesn’t hold well inside water. Eventually, water eats away the wood surface and soaks wooden parts deeply, resulting in accelerated rotting.
Generally, wet wood rot makes dock foundations weak, and this could lead to the collapse of the dock platform, particularly if the situation isn’t rectified on time. The best way to address wood rot is to coat the wooden parts in waterproof paint that can hold out for a long time before water begins to seep through. Extensive wood rot could be a signal that you need to replace your dock.
4. Loose decking
Your dock’s deck is an integral part of an excellent watercraft lift. A deck is a surface upon which your water vessel is docked and where you walk across the water. Many decks are made of aluminum or wood, and due to the load they support when your boat is docked, they can eventually become loose.
Get your decking inspected weekly, particularly when it’s free from jet skis and boats to check for loose deck boards. A loose or damaged deck can lead to severe injuries if a person’s leg goes through an opening. So, hammer the loose boards, back down, or get a new replacement as soon as possible.
5. Extensive sand bed erosion
There are times when the problem isn’t your dock construction but the sand bed. Piling docks and crib docks suffer from this issue because their foundations are deeply embedded in the lake bed. As mentioned earlier, water is a highly corrosive agent and may gradually carry away layers of sand, and eventually, the dock piles will get exposed. That means your dock will start losing anchorage in the ground.
One effective solution to this issue would be to shift the dock, including its ramp, to a shallow water section. It’s also possible to switch from a crib dock to a floating dock.
6. A wobbly dock
If your dock becomes too wobbly to allow a stable walk on the deck, consider getting it inspected by a professional deck builder. Sometimes, the screws that connect different joints of your dock might be loose or fall off, which makes the entire dock sway every time a heavy load is applied. If the structure is wobbly because it’s too old and extensively damaged, consider replacing it.
Get a high-quality docking system.
Whether you want your dock inspected, repaired, or replaced, VW Docks can help. We have been designing, building, and installing top-quality docking systems since 1959. If you have a dock-related project, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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