Without decking, your dock is just a frame sitting in or floating on top of the water. Your decking is what people stand on and feel as they walk down your ramp or gangway onto your dock, which is why making the right choice in decking materials for your dock is crucial. The dock decking you choose will depend on factors like your budget, what you plan on using your dock for, and how much maintenance you want to do.
ShoreMaster is passionate about dock decking, and we’ve invested a lot of time and effort to offer you the most high-quality options in the industry. Because the strength of ShoreMaster’s docks is built into the frames, we can offer recessed and removable decking options in a variety of materials that makes the whole system easier to assemble, install, remove, upgrade, and work for you. To help you make your choice, we have some more information about three common materials used in dock decking: wood, plastic, and aluminum.
Wood Dock Decking
Traditional dock owners love incorporating wood decking into their boat dock designs because of its look and feel. Wood decking uses woods like red cedar or IPE hardwood, which contain natural oils and tannins to help resist rot and decay without dangerous chemical pre-treatments. Wood decking can absorb the sun’s rays and is more prone to getting warm to the touch. It also requires more maintenance than aluminum, plastic, or composite decking materials: wood decking requires annual washing and needs to be stained every three to four years to maintain its look and function.
Plastic Dock Decking
Plastic and composite decking is a lower-maintenance alternative to wood that doesn’t need to be sanded, stained, or refinished. Composite decking will contain some wood fibers, though, and it’s important to keep it clean to prevent decay, mold, and mildew growth. Plastic decking doesn’t have the risk of decaying that wood or composite decking does, but it can crack. Plastic decking is a good upgrade from wood for a boat dock design that’s low-maintenance and durable.
Aluminum Dock Decking
For long-term boat dock design ideas, aluminum is widely considered the best choice. It’s lightweight, which makes it easier for seasonal owners to set up, but durable enough to stay strong season after season. It stays cooler in the sun because of its ability to reflect and dissipate heat. It requires very little maintenance, if any: you only need to clean it when you see fit, and it doesn’t have the risk of rotting, decaying, warping, twisting, or cracking like plastic and wood decking. Aluminum decking can also be powder-coated, painted, and anodized, meaning virtually unlimited color options to fit your deck. You can even get the benefits of an aluminum dock in a traditional-looking decking option if you choose a woodgrain paint option!
Boat Dock Ideas by ShoreMaster
Your dock decking is what ties your entire waterfront set-up together, so it’s important to make the right decking choice for your dock. ShoreMaster has nine premium decking options as well as the industry’s largest selection of high-quality accessories and customization options. Contact ShoreMaster or a local ShoreMaster dealer to start planning your perfect boat dock design.