When It’s Time For a Dock Replacement

Dock Replacement

Docks can experience a lot of damage over time. Some of this is minor and easily repaired. But some of it can be extensive and dangerous.Dock Replacement

In this article, we’ll explore how professionals perform dock repair to prevent serious problems like rotting and splintering. This can extend their life and save you money in the long run. Visit https://yourmarinecontractor.com/ to learn more.

Even a well-maintained dock will experience some surface damage over time. While cracks, splinters and discoloration are easily addressed with a little cleaning, sanding and staining, a less obvious problem like wood rot is a much bigger issue. In a forest setting, decomposing and decaying wood is converted to soil nutrients for new growth, but on the waterfront, this process doesn’t quite work as well. That’s why if you notice signs of rotting, it is important to take care of it right away. Otherwise, the rot will spread and weaken the structural integrity of your dock, posing serious safety risks for everyone who uses it.

If you catch a small section of rot early, it is often possible to replace the affected wood with fresh lumber and avoid the more serious consequences of continued deterioration. However, if the affected wood is significant or the dock’s structure has been compromised in other ways, replacing your entire dock is probably a better idea to ensure its continued safety and functionality.

The most common and dangerous problem with wooden docks is wet or dry rot, caused by fungus that thrives in damp conditions. When this fungus takes hold, the timber deteriorates from within, and if not treated promptly, will eventually crumble or even fall apart entirely. Dry rot is most often seen on the corners and edges of docks, where it is exposed to sunlight and water all day. However, it can occur anywhere on a dock where there is prolonged moisture in the wood.

Oftentimes, wet or dry rot can be prevented by maintaining proper maintenance on your dock and making sure it is covered during the winter months. It is also helpful to keep a close eye on any metal components of your dock and address any rust stains as soon as you spot them. Generally, if you can catch a spot of rust before it spreads, you should be able to repair the area with home remedies such as white vinegar or dish soap. In some cases, especially if the rust has eaten through major load-bearing metal parts, it may be more worthwhile to consider replacing your dock altogether rather than trying to fix the corroded components.

Cracks & Warps

Whether it’s from normal wear and tear or natural erosion over time, cracking and warping are common problems that affect dock repair. When these issues affect the foundations of your dock, it’s time for a replacement.

Marine organisms, like the shipworm, can cause significant damage to dock pilings. They can eat through the wood, leading to decay and infestation. Marine organisms are a common problem that’s difficult to prevent, so regular inspections should be made. If your dock has a permanent foundation on the water, it may need to be replaced due to constant pressure from currents and waves.

Metal components of your dock, like the supports and platforms, can also deteriorate due to corrosive salt water. This can lead to broken and sagging structures, which can be dangerous for anyone on the dock. Regular inspections can help identify these deterioration signs so they can be repaired or replaced before they become a serious safety hazard.

Loose boards on a dock deck might not seem like a major structural concern, but they can pose a tripping hazard for anyone on the dock. These loose boards can be fixed by hammering them back into place or replacing them altogether with new boards that have been treated to resist fungal growth.

Wood rot and discoloration are often the most obvious signs of a dock in need of repair. Wood rot is typically caused by a fungus that can spread quickly. Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems to fix, as it only involves replacing rotting boards with new treated wood that’s been through a preservation process. Staining the replacement wood can make it blend in with the rest of your dock to help conceal the repair work.

Other signs of a dock in need of repair include cracks, bends, and warps. While these problems can sometimes be fixed with regular dock maintenance, a more extensive repair project is often necessary to restore safety and integrity to the structure.

Stains & Preservatives

Though PVC and synthetic decking has become a popular option, nothing beats the durability and natural beauty of an authentic wood dock. The best way to keep your wood dock looking new is with a quality, water-resistant stain. Defy Marine Seal, a non-toxic stain for docks, is perfect for both traditional cedar and pressure treated wood docks. It protects against dry rot, mildew and fungus growth. This water resistant wood stain for docks dries quickly, giving moisture little time to harm the finish or cause damage to the dock structure.

Staining your dock regularly helps it last longer by preventing weathering and protecting against rot, splintering and mildew. When choosing a stain for your dock, be sure to test it on a small portion of the dock structure to see how it reacts. Different types of wood take stains differently. Darker wood may be more difficult to stain than lighter wood. Also, older docks need to be re-stained more frequently than newer ones.

Depending on the type of dock you have, you will need to apply a preservative as well. There are several different kinds of wood preservatives, and each one has its own benefits. Some protect against mold and mildew, while others prevent fungi from rotting the wood. Wood preservatives also protect the wood from UV rays, which can fade it and cause color fading.

Splintering is a common problem with old, untreated wood docks. It can be both unsightly and dangerous, especially if a boat is docked nearby. Repairing splintering wood usually involves sanding the affected area, then re-staining it with an appropriate stain for your dock.

It is important to inspect your dock regularly, particularly the underwater support structure. If you notice any signs of rot or decay, contact a professional to schedule an inspection and cleaning. A rotting dock can fall into the water, damaging boats and endangering the lives of swimmers. In addition, a well-maintained dock adds value to the property, so regularly checking and fixing issues with your dock can save you money in the long run.


Whether or not you want to keep your existing dock and give it a facelift, there comes a point where the damage has gone so far that replacement is the only option. While wood rot or cracks are relatively easy to repair, structural problems such as foundation deterioration usually call for a total dock replacement. The foundation of a dock is what holds the entire structure up, and once this has been damaged it can bring the whole platform crashing down into the water with just the slightest of nudges.

Most of the time, when a dock has to be replaced, it’s because the foundation has been compromised by water or erosion. This is a serious problem that can be expensive and dangerous to repair, so it’s important to keep up with your maintenance schedule and watch for any signs of this type of damage.

Another common repair issue involves rusted metal parts. Metal doesn’t mix well with water, so it will eventually rust over time. This can be a problem for both the look of your dock and its safety, as rust may compromise the structural integrity of some metal parts. It’s best to replace rusted metal parts before they begin to degrade, so you should consult with a professional about when this is a good idea for your dock.

Dock professionals will also look for any areas that have become warped or bent over time. This can be a result of changing humidity levels and the expansion and contraction of wood fibers. Typically, this can be easily repaired by using a specialized epoxy or other marine-grade materials to fill in the affected area and allow it to cure.

When inspecting a dock, a professional will also be looking at its underwater support structures as well. This will involve putting on scuba or snorkel gear so they can check the condition of a dock’s pillars and underwater foundational support system. While these aren’t quite as hard to monitor as the surface of a dock, they do require special equipment to inspect properly and repair if needed.