Dock decking is a critical choice.  With all the decking choices – it’s the most important choice you make.

Frames for docks were covered in Part 1 of this series. Part 2 will cover the many choices of decking you have.


Wood decking was the first and only choice for decking. It required yearly cleaning. As simple as cleaning a deck may sound, it takes time each year.

image of cedar wood decking from ShoreMaster - Door County

Cedar Wood Decking from ShoreMaster

The costs and inconvenience mount up.

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. People started to look for other choices. 

Then, along came a better choice!




Aluminum decking cuts down on maintenance. 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.


image of Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster- Natural Woodgrain

Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster- Natural Woodgrain

image of Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster - White

Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster – White









image of Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster - Tan

Tan Aluminum Decking by ShoreMaster



Plus, it does not get hot in the prolonged heat of the summer. The heat rapidly dissipates, so it stays cool to the touch.

There are many colors, and they look great.

Are there problems with aluminum?

Despite the advantages, aluminum does make noise when walked on. This issue is corrected by applying a cushion tape to the top of the frame.

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


Initially, plastic decking came in a board form. The board was bolted to the frame so it would not wash away. This worked great except the plastic shrinks and swells in the weather. It also gets dirty from rain and sand.

image of Typical Plastic decking

Typical Plastic boards

Most importantly, when the waves reached the decking, the 1/2″ opening between the boards was too small to relieve the pressure. This caused some docks (even heavy steel docks) to flip over.

People also mixed it with wood fibers which swelled over time. Still not a solution. Yet, plastic was a great idea, just not in a board form.

So what is the answer? 


Back to plastic again

But not just any plastic. Flow-Through decking from ShoreMaster turned out to be the solution.

image of Glacier Decking by ShoreMaster - Tan

Glacier Flow Through Plastic Decking 

There are many reasons that plastic Flow-Through decking is the best choice including:

• It’s lightweight;
• Available in many colors and patterns;
• Eliminates the need to clean the decking;
• 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 42% open surface which means 42% less pressure.

The open surface allows the water to pass through the decking. These openings relieve the pressure on the dock when a wave hits it.  Solid boards do not do this.

In addition to eliminating the pressure of the water, it “self-drains” due to its curved surface.  The decking does not allow moisture buildup on the panels. You have now removed one of (3) ingredients for mold and mildew to form. See related article:

In conclusion, if you want the BEST decking for your money – look for Flow-Through decking from ShoreMaster at PIER & WATERFRONT SOLUTIONS.

For more information about additional types of decking follow this link:

Where can you find Flow Through decking?

At Pier and Waterfront Solutions, of course.

Publication dates:

Part 1 – What does a Dock cost?
2 – What type of decking is available?
3 –  Which dock configuration should I choose?

Need Help Planning a Dock System For Your Home or Cottage?

Contact Pier & Waterfront Solutions TODAY!

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PWS is located at 7325 St. Hwy 57. That’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 3 miles South of Sturgeon Bay at the Idlewild Road intersection.

Our staff is here year-round to assist you.