Decking for your dock is a critical choice

With all the materials available today for your dock – your decking choice is the most important decision you will make.

image of Pressure Washed Wood Decking

Cleaning wood decking

At one time, cedar or treated wood were your only choices. It wasn’t long before people realized the
maintenance for a wood deck took time away from enjoying their summer.

As simple as cleaning a deck may sound, it takes time each year. Even painted, or stained and sealed wood requires maintenance. The costs and inconvenience mount up quickly.

In addition, a wood deck gets uncomfortably hot on sunny days. It also traps the dirt on its flat surface. This dirt needs to be washed off to prevent mold from forming.



Then, along came a better choice!

image of Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster - Tan

ShoreMaster Aluminum Decking 



Aluminum cuts down the maintenance considerably. It solves the problem of painting or staining and sealing the wood. It only requires minimal washing to keep its appearance. No pressure washing or cleaners needed.

Plus, it does not get hot in the prolonged heat of the summer. It dissipates the heat quickly.

Are there problems with aluminum?

Despite those advantages, aluminum does make noise when walked on. You can correct this issue by applying a custom tape to the frame.

Additionally, like wood, it comes in a “board” form only. Why is that important?

Standard practice is to install a dock high enough above the water to keep waves from reaching the deck. Many times a storm will send waves crashing against the bottom of the deck or worse yet, over it.

With only a 3% opening between the boards, this puts virtually all of the wave pressure directly on the deck.

With a deck bolted to the frame, the pressure from the waves goes directly to the frame structure. In many cases, this results in the entire dock twisting or flipping over no matter how massive the dock is.

There had to be a solution for this problem.

So what’s the Solution?


image of "Flow Through" Decking

“Flow-Through” Decking

But not just any plastic.  Flow-Through decking from ShoreMaster.

It’s also important to understand that not all plastic decking is an actual plastic deck. Some people refer to a composite deck as plastic decking. That is NOT the case.

If the plastic contains wood fibers, it will eventually swell with moisture, despite the fibers being “encapsulated” in plastic. The plastic will wear off the surface and expose the fibers.

You must also understand that there are two basic styles of plastic decking:

1. The “board” style (similar to wood boards); and
2. “open” panels. (perforated panels)

Here’s why that’s important.

The board style has the same problems that wood decking has but without the maintenance required on wood.

The “open” style eliminates the build-up of water on the panels. It self-drains” and cleans itself everytime it rains. It cleans itself without the moisture buildup on the panels. You just have removed one of (3) ingredients for mold and mildew to form.

There are numerous reasons that plastic is the best choice for decking including:

• It’s lightweight;
• Available in many colors and patterns;
• Eliminates the need to clean the decking;
• It can be mounted to the frame with a breakaway clip (recommended) or screwed down;
• It’s cool in the summer heat; and
• Most importantly, it has a 43% open surface.

The open surface allows the water to pass through the decking. These openings relieve the pressure on the dock when a wave hits it, unlike other decks.

In conclusion, if you want the BEST decking for your dock – look for
Flow-Through decking.

Where can you find Flow-Through decking?

At Pier and Waterfront Solutions, of course.

PWS is located at 7325 St. Hwy 42/57. That’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 3 miles South of Sturgeon Bay. Look for the Idlewild Road intersection. Our staff is ready to assist year round.

Don’t forget – Give us a call If you want to see an issue discussed on our site.

Call Jerry at 920-493-4404 or Email with any questions.