Steel or Aluminum Docks – Is Steel your best choice?

Steel or Aluminum Docks – Is Steel your best choice?

                Aluminum ShoreMaster Dock

Pier & Waterfront Solutions has strongly recommended aluminum docks from ShoreMaster for years. 

Today, the rising waters and intense storm activity has forced us to re-examine our customer needs.

What was the result?

If you’re in a protected or semi-protected area, we still recommend aluminum docks from ShoreMaster. These are the strongest aluminum docks on the market. When combined with their Flow-Thru decking, you have a winning combination for most needs.

But what if you aren’t in a protected area? Is steel a better choice?

3-Season Pier on Lake Michigan

      Steel 3-Season Pier

The high waters have changed the environment in the last several years. For Lake Michigan and Green Bay customers, we saw a need to develop a new version of a dock. In March 2020, we announced the latest innovation from Pier & Waterfront Solutions – the steel 3-Seasons Pier.  

When did this come about?

Initially developed in 2017 and 2018, the first docks were built and tested in 2019. In 2020, we put the 3-Season Pier in our sales area, where it quickly sold out.

Imagine having the most massive steel dock in the state to withstand the waves. Now, combine that with SunWalk decking, and you have another winning combination.

What else is different about the Steel 3-Season Pier?

It comes with 20-foot ramps – not the typical eight or 10-foot ramps you are accustomed to. Why is this important? A 20-foot ramp means you have a gentle rise up to the dock, and you don’t have to get a running head start to get there. It’s easier for young and old to access the pier.

Anything else?

Instead of having a mere 4′ x 8′ (32 square foot) “L” section to socialize on, you have a 4′ x 10′ (40 square foot) “L” section. The kids will no longer trip over your feet as they run around.  

There’s 25% more room to sit or socialize on. The massive “L” section will also get you away from the boat lift area and the supplies you want to load.

What’s important when deciding what material to use?

When deciding on the type of material to use on your dock, it is essential to use strong materials that will last season after season. 

Even the legs are massive. They measure 2-3/8″ outside diameter versus the next closest one 1-7/8″.

You can follow this link  3-Seasons Pier for the technical details of why it’s the strongest and best dock for you.

Aluminum Docks

Aluminum docks have always been popular due to their low maintenance and durability. Some people choose to install and remove their piers themselves, and the lighter weight helps.

Aluminum Dock Pros:

  • Low Maintenance & Durability – Aluminum frames do not rust.
  • Light-weight – Aluminum docks are easier to install.


  • More expensive – The biggest drawback for aluminum docks is that it can be more costly than it’s steel counterpart.

 Steel Docks

Steel docks are popular because of their cost efficiencies and superior strength,


  • Strength: For heavily used piers, steel will be the best option for its strength, which will withstand constant use.
  • Galvanized steel: At Pier & Waterfront Solutions, we use galvanized steel to prevent rusting. 


  • Heavier weight: While the dock is known for its superior strength, the weight can also prevent buoyancy issues.

 Ready to learn more?

At Pier & Waterfront Solutions, we provide a free site survey to determine the best material and design for your next dock. 

Contact Jerry today to get started!  

Call 920-493-4404 or email

Where are we located?

Pier & Waterfront Solutions (PWS) specializes in ShoreMaster aluminum docks and now the 3-Seasons 
Pier by PWS.  We
 are located in the center of Door County at 7325 St Hwy 57 south  Sturgeon Bay at the intersection of Idlewild Road. Our staff looks forward to serving all of your waterfront needs.