There’s nothing like a handcrafted, pressure-treated wood dock. They’re classic. Wood docks integrate into the landscape beautifully and natural aging adds to their patina. Carefully maintained and inspected, these can enjoy some serious longevity. (If they are installed right the first time with stainless steel screws and marine-grade lumber!)
If you are planning on repairing or replacing your existing dock, an alternative to consider is composite decking. You may feel you are forfeiting the traditional, but as a lower-maintenance, longer-lasting option it could be the right dock material choice.
As Florida state-certified, full-service marine contractors, we use the highest-quality materials. We stand (literally!) on our reputation. The structures we build are built to last – that’s why we’ve been doing it for over 30 years. It is important to understand what a client wants and the advantages of dock materials and their differences.
Composite decking is not a natural material, but is often comprised of recycled plastics and wood fibers and is, of course, available in a range of colors and stains. Because it doesn’t have the same characteristics of lumber, it doesn’t respond to wear like lumber; it is not going to split or warp.
Another huge advantage are the manufacturer warranties. Ranging from 20-25 years and some with lifetime limited ones, you have more of an assurance you are going to get real mileage out of your Florida dock.
There’s another consideration. Geography. Where you live has a great deal to do with the potential punishment which may be imposed on your marine structure. A quiet little manmade lake may be the perfect home for a fixed or floating wood dock. Periodic cleaning, attention to changes in the planks, a regimen of staining and sealing, and you’re good!
Put that same property along a saltwater coastline and you may make a different dock material decision. The weather in your area is also a factor. Do ice and snow blanket the dock over the winter? Or are tropical storms and the year-round high temperatures in Florida the bane of your marine structure’s existence?
Composite Decking Designs and Cost
If you haven’t started looking at the possibilities, don’t assume that the only PVC alternative is an ugly, industrial-looking piece of plastic that will extend off your shoreline. In addition to a wide selection of colors, there are plenty of textures from which to choose that mimic the appearance and a similarity to the feel of wood.
As with many additions to your home and landscaping, you can pay now or pay later. In other words, you can opt for the typically more affordable pressure treated lumber docks, but you will spend time in repairs and the need for vigilant maintenance.
Composite decking costs on the other hand tend toward the more expensive. They can certainly be custom-designed like a wood dock, but you will have durability and a less comprehensive care to administer.
Composite or Wood? Part of any professional consultation will include the need for the answers to these questions to make the decision that best suits you and your property.