What is the Best Boat Dock Material?

Everyone knows lake homes are places to make memories. Whether you are an avid boater, hardcore fisherman, or just like to relax, the common lake side accessory is a dock. To make the most of lakefront living a dock is more than just an accessory, it is almost, dare we say…a need. There are several types of docks: Floating, piling, pipe, crib and suspension to name a few. What all of these have in common is the decking, the platform of the dock. Some may think the decision is easy to choose what type of material to use, but in todays market the choices have become not only about durability but of aesthetics as well. This decking material overview can help point you in the right direction—whether you’re on a budget, or just focused on performance and upkeep.

Pressure Treated Wood– This may be the most common type of dock material used. Typically the most budget friendly, and readily available, pressure treated decking can be a smart choice for any dock project. It is easy to work with and can be painted or stained in may different colors giving the homeowner more design options. As with any natural product there does come some disadvantages as well. Wood decking needs regular maintenance as it is porous. Yearly sealing and staining is a must, as well as checking for protruding nails and splinters. However, if you take good care of a wood dock, it could last 10 or 20 years.

Composite Planks-Virtually maintenance free, composite decking will appeal to the homeowner that doesn’t get the rush of a weekend spent refinishing their dock. I know it is shocking that someone would rather spend time doing that instead of a quick sweep, or the wash to prevent mildew build up. The down side to composite decking is the limited color selection, and more often than not they can be pricey. It also can be hard to match planks if you need to in the future.

Vinyl/Plastic/PVC Decking– Usually it is lightweight and allows natural sunlight to pass through, which may be a requirement in some areas. It is also non-porous so mildew would not be an issue. Many plastic decking options come in 4×8 panels and offers non slip surface. This is also a pricy option , but is very low maintenance with a 15 to 20 year life span, Color options are very limited. The biggest complaint with this type of decking is that it feels “plasticky” underfoot…go figure!

Aluminum-As another low-maintenance decking option, aluminum is often the material of choice for dock owners who want versatility. Aluminum can be left plain or powder coated. The coating options are long-lasting and some can even get the aluminum decking to resemble wood. Like its counterparts, composite and plastic, it wont decay. It is also warp and twist resistant. Often the panels are lightweight and can be easily removed. Aluminum decking has a industrial feel and tends to be used in commercial applications. Sometimes aluminum decking can get hot, so not a great option for those who are always barefoot. It can also be one of the pricier options but durability and lack of maintenance make it well worth it.

No matter what boat dock decking material you want to go with any of these options will enhance your lakefront living experience! Even the most basic style dock will benefit from a refresh, and with so many options available there will surely be something that fits everyone’s budget and style.

“Posted by Scott Freerksen – The Lake Guy”

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