Although our weather is comparatively temperate considering the exposure of the docks that dot the Jersey Shore, Florida dock maintenance is the means to a safe structure that enjoys a long life.
Even if your dock was constructed from the finest marine-grade pressure treated lumber or a high end composite decking or the seemingly indestructible PVC, it will need to be thoroughly inspected at regular intervals.
Problems with marine structures do not get better. Despite a professional dock installation, it is still a man-made extension to your property that is subjected to punishing sun and the erosive nature of wind and water.
Fortunately, in Florida, our window of time to inspect docks for weaknesses is a wider one – the assault of ice and snow is hopefully not in our forecast!
We always recommend a professional dock inspection as there are things you can tend to overlook after time, or even not be 100% certain how to repair a trouble you discover.
Florida Dock Maintenance
Before the weather gets colder, while it is also a great idea to check your boat lift for any weak spots, this is a good time to clean your dock. If you live up north, that is a task for autumn, but with temps still in the 70s and 80s in Florida, you can still manage this preventative maintenance.
Keep your dock free of dirt, debris, algae, or fungus; it will not only look better, but you will be able to uncover potential issues these growths may mask, and also retard their ability for destruction.
Again, we suggest you do not unleash the full capacity of a power washer on your wood dock. You can easily do more harm than good. The technique and the force should not mirror that of the intensity with which you blast pavement to rid it of discoloration.
When your dock is dry and the day is a mild one, it is a good idea for you to “spray the dock with water to see how it beads on the wood’s surface. If the wood doesn’t adequately repel water, you may want to resurface it.”
After your pressure treated wood dock has been inspected and cleaned and any damaged sections are replaced, a sealant is recommended. There is also the consideration of remaining environmentally responsible by using products that do not pollute.
Fortunately, in our industry, there is now a wide selection of products from which to choose.
“New sealants with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) have been developed specifically for boat docks and other woods that are continuously exposed to water. They contain no oils or petrochemicals that can pollute lake, river or stream water. They are clear in color and harden the wood so it becomes highly water-resistant and less porous.”
Living on the water is a distinct privilege that comes with maintenance responsibilities. Like anything else, be it your car or your home’s gutters, keep a schedule of when to do what and you will always be ahead of the repair curve.