Like any investment, whether your home or your boat, scheduling and completing routine maintenance keeps systems going. Indoors or outdoors, swapping out A/C filters or sealing your wooden dock, these efforts are worth the time to add years to these support systems; particularly when it comes to marine structures vulnerable to the elements.
For safety reasons, keep a watchful eye on outdoor docks. In Florida, the blazing sun can do surface damage, punishing winds and water can easily take care of the rest of the job!
Advances in docking materials include the flexibility and ease of installation afforded by PVC or plastic decks. There are a range of materials from which to choose; each with their own advantages and maintenance.
Composite or PVC Decking
Fabricated from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, these types of docks offer a nice versatility and are comparatively easy to clean. Composite decking includes elements like recycled inorganic materials combined with organic materials such as wood fibers.
PVC decking is typically made from a combination of polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, and polyethylene. The boards that will comprise the dock can be injection molded, rotationally molded, or extruded to tailor its build.
While their surface appears sleek and impermeable, PVC docks still cannot escape the mold/mildew that targets damp or shaded areas; these composite docks should still be cleaned with regularity.
How to Clean Vinyl Decking
According to GeeksOnHome.com, “A vinyl deck is both durable and affordable, making it common in many outdoor living spaces. To keep your vinyl deck attractive and inviting, it must be clean and residue-free. When cleaning the vinyl, you’ll want to use a natural cleaning solution that removes buildup without damaging the deck or any surrounding plants or soil. Oxygen bleach is a green cleaner that uses oxygen ions to neutralize stains and dirt.”
Wooden Dock Power Washing Tips
At the other end of the spectrum, are docks constructed of wood. Classically beautiful, they integrate into surrounding landscape for that more organic feel. Their natural oils help protect them to an extent from insects and decay, but maintaining that “natural beauty” still requires sweat equity.
You’ll probably want to pressure wash annually, but we recommend consulting with a Florida dock professional first. We have seen homeowners inflict damage to their docks by setting their power washer to full blast and using the same type of attachment they would to clean concrete or siding.
- Do not use pressure over 1200 – 1500 PSI or you may actually etch the wood
- If the wood is a cedar or a pine, you will want to be more in the 500 – 600 PSI range
- Don’t place the power wash tip too close — you probably want to be about a foot away
- There are all kinds of nozzle attachments for pressure washers – use the fan tip for a less concentrated force
Do-it-yourself dock maintenance is achievable. If you have any questions about the proper techniques, contact Gibson Marine at (727) 942-3111 or fill out this form with your question!