Docks require regular maintenance and repairs, especially in areas exposed to water. Neglecting these repairs can decrease the structure’s lifespan and pose a safety hazard for users.
Seeing signs of damage and taking prompt action can save you the cost of a total replacement. A routine inspection of your dock is an excellent way to catch minor issues before they become more significant problems. Contact Lake Norman Dock Builder for professional help.
Wood, especially the soft, brittle kind that a dock is made from, has a tendency to break down under the constant assault of UV rays. This can lead to two kinds of damage: fungus-caused wet or dry rot and discoloration from sun exposure. If the damage gets out of hand, it can mean a rickety dock that’s unsafe for use.
Wet rot can result in the wood looking gray or black and feeling spongy when touched. It can also cause a softening of the foundation of the dock and eventually lead to a serious loss of structural integrity. If the wood becomes completely rotten, it’s time to start thinking about replacing the entire structure rather than attempting repair or maintenance.
Dry rot is caused by a fungus that loves to grow in damp conditions. It can attack even pressure treated lumber, destroying the structure of your dock and putting you at risk for dangerous slips and falls. The best way to deal with wood rot is to prevent it. This means eliminating moisture sources, such as ensuring that gutters are clean and water is draining properly away from the property. You should also treat joists and other areas prone to moisture with a fungicide.
In addition to this, you should regularly inspect your dock and take care of any small problems that might arise before they become major issues. For instance, if you hear creaking sounds coming from your dock when someone walks on the decking, this is a sure sign that the foundation is becoming unstable and it’s time to replace the structure.
A common way to address small areas of wood rot is by using a liquid epoxy that’s specially formulated for the job at hand. These products are available at home improvement stores and some marine equipment suppliers, and can be applied with a paintbrush. Before applying the product, make sure to prepare the area by scraping loose rot and using a claw hammer to dig out the remaining spores of the fungus. Then, fill the holes with the epoxy and tool the surface to make it smooth. It’s a good idea to protect your hands and eyes by wearing gloves and safety goggles during this process.
Over time, metal fasteners (like screws, bolts, rivets, studs and anchors) can loosen or break. When this happens, it’s important to identify and fix the issue quickly to avoid further damage or a complete dock replacement.
Metal fasteners can be made of a variety of materials and work in different ways, but all are designed to help connect or assemble two or more components together. They can be made of metal (including stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum or alloy steel), plastic, rubber or other materials. Common types of fasteners include nuts and bolts, weld nuts, hex nuts, wing nuts and screw extractors.
Depending on the material, a screw or bolt can be tightened or removed with pliers or a wrench, or it can be pried out with a claw hammer. A hex nut has a hexagonal exterior, which can be turned by hand. Screws can be removed by inserting a screw extractor into the hole left by the broken screw and turning it counterclockwise to pull out the screw.
Piling or post-and-beam docks are usually built with hex nuts and require more frequent maintenance than pipe or floating docks. For this reason, it’s essential to check for hex nut issues, like cracking or rusting, and to replace them as soon as possible.
If you have a floating dock, it’s also essential to check for hex nut or bolt issues, especially if you have IPE decking (which requires oil rather than traditional wood stain). It’s a good idea to look at your boat lift as well – make sure the cable is not frayed and that the winch operates correctly before use.
As the temperature rises and summer arrives, many boaters are pulling their boats out of storage and prepping their docks for lake season. While cleaning, sanding and staining are all necessary dock maintenance tasks, identifying when you need a repair or an upgrade isn’t always easy. Fortunately, we know what it takes to help you decide when a repair or a full replacement is needed. Our experienced staff can evaluate your dock to determine whether it needs a complete restoration or just some minor repairs.
Cracks and Warps
Whether it is an old wooden dock or a modern metal one, any time there are cracks or warps in the structure it needs to be repaired. This is particularly important for docks near bodies of water, as they are constantly exposed to the elements, storms, changing temperatures, and boat collisions.
While many people may consider this a cosmetic problem, it can actually be quite dangerous. If the cracks are on the load-bearing supports, they can cause damage to the entire dock. A professional will be able to assess the situation and recommend either repair work or full replacement.
If the cracks are on non-load-bearing areas, they can often be fixed relatively easily. However, if a substantial amount of damage is found in the foundation, it will likely be best to replace the whole dock.
Another common issue that can affect a dock is rust. Especially on metal docks, rust is very dangerous as it can cause the structure to break down and become unstable. Luckily, most rust can be removed by sanding and repainting the affected area. It is also essential to keep metal components of the dock lubricated, which will help prevent rusting and other issues.
Lastly, any rattling or creaking sounds should be investigated by a professional as they can indicate that the dock is starting to deteriorate and may soon need to be replaced. Often this is a sign that there are loose screws or rotting boards that are rubbing together and creating friction. A qualified local dock builder should be able to identify the source of the problem and fix it before the situation gets worse.
Overall, a well-maintained dock will last longer and be safer for users. It is essential to regularly inspect the dock, replacing rotted wood with treated lumber and keeping metal components lubricated to prevent rusting. If you can catch these problems early, you can avoid expensive repairs and even avoid the need for a full replacement of the dock altogether. In addition, a regular inspection will allow you to determine when a full replacement is necessary and avoid potential safety hazards for vessels and people on the dock.
Floating docks are at the mercy of powerful waves, exposed to South Carolina’s heated sun and harsh winds, and subjected to the natural wear-and-tear of years of use. It’s no wonder that deterioration isn’t uncommon over time, even with regular maintenance.
Over time, the water can damage the structure of a dock by eroding the surface, and it can cause problems with the foundation as well. It’s also important to regularly clean the area around a dock to prevent the growth of organisms and other debris that can rot or damage the surface and weaken the supports.
It’s best to hire a professional to deal with any serious issues that may require repairs or a full replacement of a dock. For example, if a section of the dock is covered in rot or it poses a safety hazard for the people using it, it’s usually worth replacing the entire structure rather than trying to save it. It’s also important to check the insurance policy to find out what kinds of damages are covered and which ones are excluded.
A well-maintained dock can add value to the property and keep people safe when they’re using it. It can also help reduce the cost of maintenance by prolonging its life and minimizing repair expenses. A professional can do a variety of tasks to improve a dock, including cleaning, patching, restaining, inspecting decks and rails, checking connections, and fixing rusty parts.
The costs of a dock repair job vary depending on the nature and scope of the work that’s needed. For example, removing algae and moss is a relatively inexpensive task, while repairing rotten materials or rusted metal can cost up to $33,000 for an unsafe structure that requires total removal and replacement. By understanding the common expenses involved in dock repair, your clients can prepare to deal with any issues that might occur over time.