Whether your project is residential or commercial in nature, if you’re looking for the right decking for your boat dock, then the pursuit is really quite the same. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no “one-kind-fits-all” solution for dock planking and decking. The solution heavily depends on what your project’s top qualifiers are. Perhaps what you need is a budget-friendly dock or maybe you’re more concerned about upkeep and maintenance overtime. No matter how you list these priorities, the truth remains that there are a lot of options out there and with everyone claiming to be the best, it can be difficult to decide which marine decking is really the best for your dock.
To help simplify your selection of marine decking, we’ve come up with our top 3 best decking options for boat docks and marinas. The following three boat dock decking materials are very different and therefore fit a wide range of solutions for your dock’s specific needs.
Pressure Treated Wood Dock Decking
The use of pressure treated wood decking for boat docks and marinas is a very traditional choice. It’s classic in appearance and provides a rich wood grain that compliments every nautical setting. Pressure treated wood dock planking is probably the most cost effective decking material for docks, making it a great option for small residential projects as well as larger marinas that are on a budget. Plus wood dock planking is easy to work with and doesn’t require any special equipment that contractors wouldn’t normally have, keeping labor costs to a very manageable rate.
One thing to keep in mind about pressure treated wood decking is that it does require some upkeep if you want to maximize the life of your dock. Power washing as needed is recommended, as well as staining or sealing every few years. All together though, not a huge deterrent if you’re looking for a strong, reliable and budget-friendly dock decking.
Also it is important to note that not all pressure treated wood dock planks are created equal. There are many different wood species, grades and profiles that can make a rather big impact on the overall quality of your dock. We offer Pier Advantage wood dock planking as a prime example of what you should look for in wood decking for your dock or marina. Pier Advantage is made from high grade Southern Yellow Pine that is hand selected for quality and appearance. It’s a nominal 2” thick, compared to many other wood decking options that are only 5/4” thick, plus it’s eased edge profile and stress relief grooves make it more comfortable to walk on and less likely to warp or cup than comparable wood marine decking choices. Overall Pier Advantage pressure treated wood dock planking is something we’ve found to be a top contender for a natural looking and affordable dock.
Composite Dock Decking
Composite decking is a great option for homeowners and marinas that are looking for a more maintenance-free dock. Composite decking comes in many different colors, that are often fade-resistant, and doesn’t require any staining or sealing throughout its lifetime. Plus most composite dock decking options are backed by a manufacturer’s warranty for both residential and commercial properties – although the length of a residential versus commercial warranty will likely differ – giving you peace of mind that your dock will be built to withstand the harsh conditions that waterfront properties are often subjected to.
Composite dock planking will push the budget a little more than pressure treated wood, so if you’re main concern is the total dollar amount of your dock, please be advised. Yet still, composite decking can be installed just as easily as wood so your labor costs wouldn’t necessarily be higher, just material costs. Also composite decking it known to get hotter under the sun compared to wood, so choosing a composite that is designed to keep cool, like a MoistureShield’s new CoolDeck® line, is recommended.
There are a lot of composite decking options out there, but (and this is important) not all of them are suited for boat dock and marina applications. Our recommendation would again be a Pier Advantage product, because as a professional grade marine brand it’s specifically design for these applications. Pier Advantage composite dock planking is manufactured by MoistureShield®, the first manufacturer of composite decking, who has amazingly had zero product failure claims ever! The proprietary total fiber encapsulation process assures that each and every board is completely protected from rot, decay, terminates and delamination – so much so that you can actually fully submerge this dock planking into the water without affecting structural integrity or voiding your warranty. Pier Advantage composite dock planking is the master in composite decking for docks.
Modified Wood Dock Decking
Finally, it would be wrong to talk about the top contenders in the marine decking and dock planking world without highlighting modified wood. Modified wood is the ultimate eco-friendly option that doesn’t force you to compromise on having the beauty of a real natural wood dock. Modified wood permanently transforms sustainable wood species, like pine, altering the cellular structure and making it perform like durable tropical hardwood. Modified wood can be left natural, without any need of staining or sealing like there is with pressure treated wood, and will weather to a graceful silver/gray patina over time. Modified wood is incredibly durable and a great option for eco-conscious wood lovers.
One consideration to bear in mind about modified wood is the cost associated with such a remarkable feat in technology, making it a less than ideal option for those building on a more conservative budget. But with its extreme durability and maintenance-free nature, the overall lifecycle costs of modified wood remains low, it just takes a larger picture perspective.
The leader in modified wood technology is by far Kebony which has been embraced by architects and marine contractors across the world and therefore is what we recommend for residential boat docks and marinas alike. Kebony is engineered to withstand the most brutal of weather conditions making it an incredibly reliable choice. Plus as a real wood product, it stays cooler underfoot than composite and with the enhanced strength of the modification process, Kebony provides a splinter-free wood decking. Whether you’re an admirer of the look of natural wood, a fan of environmentally conscious products or just looking for a low-maintenance dock, Kebony is a great option for all of the above.
Well there you have it, the best three products the marine decking field has to offer in a compact little nut shell. The bottom line is that choosing the right decking for your dock should be something done with thought and attention because marine decking applications are naturally subjected to more severe conditions than normal decking installations. These three marine decking choices for boat docks and marinas are what we’ve found to be the most reliable and overall best solutions for the architects, marine contractors and marinas we work with, which is why they’ve earned their place in our top 3 marine decking list.