After a summer spent on and off the water, fall is the ideal season to address any maintenance issues. While it is easy to forget about maintenance while having fun on the boat, it is something that you must do to keep your dock in top condition.
It's not as difficult as you might think to care for your dock if you have the right knowledge and tools. It can save you money on costly repairs down the road if your dock is in good shape. Deteriorating dock components are less likely to cause dock accidents. These seven fall dock care tips will keep your dock safe, beautiful, and functional.
1. KNOW THE BEST MAINTENANCE OPTIONS FOR YOUR STYLE OF DOCK
How you maintain your dock will depend on the decking material. If you are still thinking about a dock, now is the time to think about how much maintenance you would like to do. Different materials require different levels of maintenance. Below are the pros and cons of three common materials:
- Composite decking - This composite decking is made from wood, plastics and natural fibers. It is both insect and water resistant. The unique cap makes it less susceptible to mildew and decay. This material is less likely to have the same problems as wood so it's easier to maintain.
- Hardwoods – Hardwood is one of the most attractive and durable materials for docks. It should be regularly oiled and cleaned to keep its colors vibrant. Hardwood is dense and resistant to water and insects, so it is easier to maintain than other materials.
- Pressure Treated Wood – This dock material is the most affordable, but it requires more maintenance. You can make your dock last longer by using marine-grade wood. To prevent moisture from entering, this wood must be sealed.
2. Use the RIGHT PROCESS to CLEAN THE DOCK
A simple way to maintain your dock in tip-top shape is to clean it once a year. After a summer of sun and fun, we recommend cleaning your dock in the fall. Cleaning involves more than just sweeping. It also includes inspecting the dock for wear and tear and clearing out any gaps. Finally, it requires scrubbing out any stains. Although pressure washing is a quick way to clean docks, it can also chip and splinter wood. A simple garden hose is better.
3. KNOW WHEN TO APPLY STAINS AND FINISHES
Water-based stains are the best for boat docks. These will give your dock the best look while protecting the environment. Because the water levels are lower in fall, it's better to apply stains and finishes during these months. The chemicals in the products are therefore less likely to reach water. To keep your dock looking great and prolong its life expectancy, you should stain it at least once per year.
4. THINK ABOUT PROTECTION - APPLY RUB RAILS
Your dock's edges are likely to be very hard. This means that boats could get scratched against them. You can take care of your dock and your watercraft by adding rub rails or edging to your boat dock. For a faster and easier option, you can either purchase rub rails or make your own. No matter what type of rub rail you choose, ensure it is marine grade.
5. DECIDE IF ANY SECTIONS MUST BE REPLACED
Inspecting the wood sections of your dock is another tip for fall season. These items can get discolored or weaken over time. You want to check for rotted wood and cracks as well as splinters. You should inspect the bolts and nails on the dock for signs of excessive corrosion. This can make your deck less secure and may compromise its functionality.
6. STORE ACCESSORIES & ITEMS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE SEASON
After spending time on the water, it's a good idea to bring items such as fishing rods, chairs and empty cups back to your house. Until the weather warms again, autumn is the best time to store and remove accessories. It will be easier to clean and maintain the dock. Additionally, the items that you move will last longer because they are not exposed to the elements.\