Why It’s Important to Inspect Your Dock Regularly

Wood docks will rot and rust over time, especially if they’re not treated regularly. It’s important to inspect your dock often for rotting spots and look out for signs of rust in support beams as well.dock restoration

Staining your dock can make it look brand new and add to the aesthetic of your lakeside property. Consider staining other exterior wood surfaces as well to create a cohesive outdoor space. If you need help from experts, contact Top-Notch Dock Building now!

The structure of your boat dock is exposed to outdoor weather conditions 24/7 and will eventually start to deteriorate. This is why it is important to be aware of the telltale signs that your dock has reached its end point and needs to be replaced or repaired by a professional.

A common problem that occurs is foundation deterioration. The foundation of your boat dock is the very thing that holds the entire dock up and if it becomes damaged it is time to do a complete replacement. Damage to the foundation is very dangerous as the entire dock could easily come tumbling down into the water at the slightest nudge.

Usually, when a foundation is starting to deteriorate, it will start to show some cracking. Small cracks and lines in the concrete are normal and can be repaired, but if you notice any wide cracks then that is a clear sign that your foundation has passed its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

Another thing to be on the lookout for is rust. If you notice any areas of your dock that are covered in rust then this is a sign that it is time for replacement. Rust and corrosion can cause serious damage to metal docks if it is allowed to spread, which is why it is important to have any areas of rusting on your dock repaired as soon as you notice them.

It is also a good idea to be aware of any changes in the lake environment that may affect your dock’s support. Most docks are built on pilings that go far down into the lake bed to keep them stable and secure, but if the lake bed changes over time this can cause damage to these supports. Changes in the makeup of the lake bed can also cause a change in the way your dock is set up, which may require a complete rebuild to accommodate new environmental circumstances.

Corrosion or Rust on Metal Dock Parts

Even though most docks are constructed with wood, they still have a lot of metal components, including supports and anchors. These hardware items need to be checked for rust or corrosion regularly. This is especially important if the dock is near salt water. These metal pieces are prone to corrosive effects because of the salt that is often present in the water. Corrosion is also amplified when the metal comes into contact with water molecules. If any rust or corrosion is found, the parts should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards.

The good news is that if you’ve caught it early enough, rust or corrosion only affects the surface layer of your dock. However, if the corrosion continues to spread, the dock may be at risk of collapsing. This is why it’s so important to check your dock regularly and act on any rust or corrosion as soon as you notice it.

When it comes to the metal hardware on your dock, there are some types of hardware that are prone to corrosion in humid environments, such as stainless steel. However, the majority of dock hardware is made from galvanized or coated metal, which are able to resist corrosion in humid conditions. Still, this doesn’t mean that these types of hardware are impenetrable. Over time, screws will become stripped and need to be replaced. Additionally, dings or dents in these metal pieces can cause corrosion to begin.

Using the proper metals is essential when it comes to dock hardware, and the best way to avoid corrosion is by using aluminum. Some people worry that aluminum will rust because it’s a metal, but the truth is that only when two dissimilar metals come into contact with each other is rust or corrosion likely to occur. This is because the aluminum acts as an anode while the stainless steel acts as a cathode. The areas with the most contact are the joints between sections of your dock, so these are key areas to inspect. The type of stain that is used on a dock can also play an important role in reducing moisture exposure.

Connectors Become Loose

If you live on the water, a boat dock is a valuable asset. But, like all structures exposed to nature’s forces, docks of all types and sizes can warp or wear down over time. If you notice a problem, hiring professionals to repair it is the best way to ensure you can enjoy your property and access the water safely.

Whether you have a removable floating dock, a pipe or piling dock, or a permanent crib or suspension dock, there are some basic repairs that need to be made from time to time. Depending on the type of boat dock and the specific problems, your solution may involve cleaning, sealing, replacing boards, or adding new features to make the area more functional.

Docks are constantly exposed to the elements: sun, wind, rain, and changing temperatures. This constant contact with water can cause wood rot, cracks, or rust on metal sections of the structure.

Over time, the screws or welds that connect different points of the dock can break down or weaken. This can result in a wobbly dock that shakes or moves when boats are using the ramp or people walk on the platform. This is a sign that your dock needs to be repaired or replaced.

The water can also cause the wood to warp or bend. Even treated wood can eventually degrade and start to rot, so it is important to check for this issue regularly. A wobbly dock is not only dangerous for people and boats, but it can also be a tripping or falling hazard for those walking on the platform.

Keeping your dock clean and sealed is one of the easiest ways to extend its life. This not only makes the area more appealing, but it helps to protect the wood from moisture that leads to fungal decay. It’s a good idea to consider applying a new coat of stain or paint at least once every couple of years.

Taking care of your dock can make it last longer and improve its value. If you notice a deteriorating foundation, rotten boards, or rusted supports, consider hiring professionals to repair or replace them before the damage gets worse.


No matter how strong and sturdy the structure may seem, docks for boats are not indestructible. They are constantly at the mercy of the water, taking on barrage after barrage of waves every day. It’s not uncommon for them to start bending and warping due to the powerful force of the water that they receive. This may lead to swaying, which is hard on the human body and can be very dangerous for people walking or standing around on the dock.

If the swaying becomes too extreme, it’s time to do some dock restoration. This could include replacing the swaying boards or the entire dock itself. It might also mean repairing the foundation or a pillar, especially if there are cracks that have started to show up in it. Widespread cracking is a sign that the boat dock has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

Over time, the welds and screws that connect the different parts of a dock can loosen and wear out, leading to the structure becoming unstable. When this happens, it’s a good idea to inspect the entire dock and replace any broken welds or missing screws. Floating docks are particularly susceptible to this because they depend on a lot of connections to hold them up in the water.

As the season changes, it’s important to check on your dock and do some maintenance before the winter weather arrives. This includes removing snow as soon as possible to avoid damage to the wood and prevent water saturation, which can make your docks unsafe for use. It’s also a good idea to paint or stain your docks to protect them from the harsh effects of winter rain and snow.

The most common sign that it’s time to do some dock restoration is if you notice the fingers of your floating dock drooping in the water. These are the attachment points that keep your dock anchored in the water and allow you to access it easily when loading and unloading your boat. If the fingers are drooping, this means the hardware has become loose and it’s time to replace them.