Do you need to build a new dock for your boat?
Are you a DIY person, thinking of building your dock?
If yes, it’s better to do it after deep planning and selecting the suitable dock piling materials.
Docks remain partially submerged in water and need to withstand harsh weather conditions like storms and hurricanes. So they need to be built solid and sturdy using some of the best and most durable dock piling materials.
The good news is that you have a wide choice of materials. And these materials are broadly classified into natural and synthetic materials.
1. Natural dock piling materials
Everyone likes docks with natural organic wood pilings. They look more authentic, and make a good choice, as long as you select the correct wood type.
Besides, unlike synthetic options, wood pilings can be trimmed to the correct size. There are two popular wood piling options available.
a) Treated wood piling
The lower oxygen levels in wood let it last long, even if submerged in water for extended periods. However, it’s the salt in water and marine life making the poles their home that can lead to problems.
This is where treated wood piling works as they are hardwearing and last longer than untreated timber. However, select straight and sound pilings, and poles which do not leach wood treatment. There’s the risk of the treatment leaching and contaminating the water.
b) Hardwood dock piling
Although untreated, hardwood dock piling can sustain the rough water and weather conditions better than treated woods. It’s thanks to its durability and resistance to marine borers. Besides, there’s no worry of any harsh materials leaching into the water.
2. Synthetic dock piling materials
While there are numerous modern dock piling materials to choose from, here are two of the best.
i. Fiberglass dock piling
Fiberglass dock piling makes a good choice, thanks to its numerous features and benefits. It’s highly weather-resistant, extremely durable and versatile, and low in maintenance.
And as fiberglass pilings are straight and look similar, they don’t require frequent quality checks. Besides, there’s not much worry about potential flaws with future exposure to the harsh weather elements.
You also have a wide range of fiberglass dock piling colors to choose from. And while fiberglass is more expensive than natural options, they do not rot and last longer, making a sound investment.
ii. Concrete dock piling
Concrete, when reinforced with steel or some other material, can support a deck well. Its resistance to decay, tensile strength, and no impact on water quality make it a good choice for your dock.
You, however, have to ensure the concrete pilings were cured for at least thirty days before use. The curing prevents chemicals from leaching from the piles into the water.
In addition to selecting the proper dock piling, certain accessories render the dock pilings strong for years to come:
a) Piling sleeve
The piling sleeve is usually heat-shrunk into wooden dock pilings before installation to create an exterior waterproof layer. As the piling sleeve prevents possible breaching, it effectively extends your dock piling’s life.
b) Piling caps
Piling caps protect the top of dock pilings from the elements and thus limit water and sun damage, thus weakening the piling. Though piling caps come in flat and pointed variations, the sharp types prevent local birds from using your dock poles as a potty.
What is the best dock piling material for me?
It’s a personal choice to make, based on factors like cost and environment.
For example, fiberglass makes a good investment for most environments if cost isn’t a constraint. It’s hardwearing, functions well in bad weather, and isn’t prone to rot and insect attacks.
However, wood is a better choice if you don’t have harsh weather conditions but are on a budget. Treated wood, hardwood, and a protective sleeve make a better choice for its increased durability.
You have to select the best dock piling material that can stand up to the conditions in your area. It’s always better to pay a little more for something better which lasts longer.
A poor-quality dock only requires more maintenance and may not withstand long in poor weather and water conditions.
Of course, you can always leave the dock building to the professionals instead of going through all these hassles. They build docks regularly, and will know which dock piling materials are best suited for your needs.
Besides, they will do a much stronger and professional job while building your dock for you!