We are Tampa Bay Marine Construction Specialists. We’ve earned that title because we love the outdoors and because we are committed to functional and beautiful seawalls, docks, and decks that are structurally safe and sound.
However, we can never dispute the satisfaction sweat equity provides to coastal dwellers! If you love the water and enjoy nothing more than tending to your marine crafts, we get it. Like any other DIY projects, the trick comes down to having the proper tools and, of course, the skill set to do the job well.
Your time can be best spent on preemptive maneuvers that will save time and money. A common wooden deck problem is deterioration. Wind, water, salt, and sun are the elements that make the scenery, but are certainly the natural enemies of wooden structures. This breakdown of the material does not necessarily impact the entire structure at the same time, so routine inspections are key.
Sealing Your Wooden Dock
The plethora of quality products on the market gives you NO excuse to not properly seal and protect the wood of your dock or deck. Besides the apparent need to replace planking that has rotted, an easy litmus test for how porous wood has become is by simply sprinkling water onto it. If the water beads up, then you know the seal is still viable. If the wood absorbs the water, it is time to give it a good cleaning, swap out any of the damaged or corroded sections and apply a new coat of sealant.
Creaks and Squeaks
Basically, if your deck or dock is hurting, it will try to tell you. If you feel a “springy-ness” when you walk on it, or it makes groaning sounds, the structure may be compromised. We have found this is the fate of decks that are not professionally built. The sounds can be due to inferior fasteners and their improper connection to the planking. One of the beautiful aspects of a wooden dock is the natural sounds it makes, like a comfortable old house, but such a support system still needs to have structural integrity for safety.
Handrails and Stairs
Keep a close eye on these areas as the wear and tear on them is keen. Water also finds its way into the space in between, so ensuring those gaps are properly caulked and sealed will prevent abetting water from traveling to places where it can cause the most harm.
Keeping it Real
Inexpensive substances like vinegar and baking soda make wonderful cleaning aids. Full strength white vinegar for example is great to zap mildew. Poured into a spray bottle and squirted on the affected area, the stains typically can be removed with a wipe while the acid base of the vinegar will help retard future growth.
Again, we are specialists and take tremendous pride in the work we do. We appreciate the satisfaction of a job well done and acknowledge the DIY temptation. If you are going to build or repair a dock, it is still best practice to have a pro inspect it for that safe seal of approval!