Dock Construction: Which Type of Dock Material Should You Choose?

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Harry's Home Improvement Blog

Hello, my name is Harry and this is my home improvement blog. Welcome! On this blog, I will be discussing many different home improvement and construction topics. I should explain that I am not a professional contractor. However, I have just come to the end of a home renovation project which took over 2 years to complete. During that time, I worked with dozens of different contractors in order to get my house into shape. I have spent hours working alongside plumbers, electricians, surveyors and roofing specialist. I learnt so much about their different trades that I decided to start this blog.

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Dock Construction: Which Type of Dock Material Should You Choose?

31 July 2019
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Are you among the lucky few to own a piece of residential or commercial property that sits on the beachfront? No doubt, coastal real estate is hot property owing to its proximity to the water. 

If you plan on accessing the water for leisurely rides on a boat, constructing a dock is vital to ensure your enjoyment of the water. A dock is mainly used to conveniently access the water from the shoreline and to moor your boat. 

When you're ready to build your own personal dock, one of the critical decisions you will need to make is the type of material to be used for your new deck. Wood, aluminium and plastic are typically the main materials used for dock construction. 

Here's what you need to know about each of the material choices to make an informed decision for your marine structure. 

Wood Docks 

Wood is the traditional choice of material for dock construction. It is the perfect dock construction material for those looking for a traditional-style, natural-looking dock — nothing beats the look of natural wood grains and colours when it comes to aesthetics. 

To ensure the durability of wood docks, pressure-treated lumber is usually used to construct the docks. However, exposure to marine water, rain and direct sunlight call for regular maintenance of the wood. This will involve painting and sealing the wood on occasion to minimise damage caused by the elements.

Unfortunately, the timber may still warp, rot or splinter, even with proper upkeep. What's more, wood-loving insects may nest in the wood, causing extensive structural damage to your dock. The susceptibility of wood to warping, rotting and splintering, as well as its high-maintenance requirements, are what make plastic and aluminium more practical dock materials for you.

Aluminium Docks 

For those looking to build a dock that offers more strength and durability than wood docks while avoiding the high level of upkeep that marine-grade wood requires, an aluminium dock is an excellent choice.

However, aluminium docks are generally more expensive to install than their wood cousins. With that said, it is important to note that aluminium docks can outlast comparable wood docks, so they can prove to be the more economical option over the long term.

Although aluminium doesn't rust, warp, rot or get attacked by wood-loving insects, it can corrode. Corrosion can compromise the structural integrity of your aluminium dock, so you should keep an eye out for and attend to any signs of corrosion quickly. 

Plastic Docks

If you want a versatile floating docking system that doesn't require piling and can rise or fall with the tides, look no further than plastic docks. These docks are lighter in weight than their wood and aluminium counterparts, hence why they are ideal for installing floating docks. 

Many people love plastic docks because they are generally cheaper to install than wood and aluminium docks. Plus, plastic doesn't warp, rot or suffer insect damage the way wood will, and it also doesn't corrode the way aluminium will.

So, which type of dock material should you choose? The best material for your dock will depend on your specific watercraft needs, budget and personal preference. If you still aren't sure about which dock material is best for you, a marine contractor can help.