If you’re in the market for a lakeside property, you’re likely a boating or water sports enthusiast. As such, you’re going to need a place to store your boat or watercraft.
Thankfully for boaters, many of lakeside properties on the market come pre-equipped with boat docks. However, wood docks require occasional care and maintenance to maintain their functionality. Of course, there are contractors and repairmen that can tend to these needs for you, but you can also take care of a great deal of your dock’s maintenance needs on your own.
To keep your dock in great shape, follow these five simple steps.
Always Use Treated Lumber
For any repairs you may need to execute on your dock, be sure to use only treated lumber materials. Treated lumber will resist rot and degradation better than any other type of wood.
Never Use Sealants or Treatment Products
After being told to only use treated lumber on your dock, you might be tempted to stock up on sealants, stains, and other lumber treatments, but you shouldn’t!
Applying sealants to lumber only sets off an endless cycle in which you have to seal every six months – a scenario that’s only beneficial for the folks who make sealants.
Treated, unsealed lumber can handle wet conditions just fine. What’s more, it can dry out naturally, a necessity for dock longevity that’s impeded by sealant application. Six or so months after sealant application, the sealant will degrade enough to allow water in, but not enough to allow it to escape entirely – a recipe for disaster.
Leave your treated lumber unsealed and unstained for optimal results.
Replace Old Flotation Barrels
For those whose docks make use of flotation barrels, one of your dock’s most important facets is also one of the easiest to replace.
Flotation barrels can be replaced with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease. And replacing old, leaky barrels can have a huge impact on dock stability.
Mend and Treat Chains
If your dock makes use of chains, take care to treat them with lubricant regularly. Regular lubricant application will deter rust and keep everything running smoothly.
In harsh waterside conditions, fasteners are one of the first things to deteriorate. Screws, nails, and other specialty fasteners can loosen, even fall out, after years of wear.
Take a few hours to look over your dock’s fasteners, tighten where necessary, and make note of needed replacements.
Sand Down Split Boards and Large Splinters
Split lumber can cause a multitude of problems, the foremost of which being injury from splinters.
Luckily, getting rid of splinters is a pretty easy task. All you’ll need is a pair of gloves and a belt sander. Just sand down any splinter that’s underfoot, and run your hand over the newly sanded patch with a gloved hand to ensure optimal safety.
When sanding treated lumber, it’s always best to wear a utility mask and safety glasses.
1. Photo via Flickr
2. Photo via Flickr
3. Photo by Martin Kenny