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Gulf Coast Docks and Pilings take a beating over time thereby making them structurally weak. Also, because of the underwater conditions, dock bracing may be destroyed and eaten away by wood boring worms. In some circumstances, docks may be poorly designed or made with inferior materials, and this is a major contributor for the wasting away of this useful resources.
The solution to the above problems is to have the docks and pilings strengthened and firmly supported. Various techniques are frequently used which can extend the lifespan and longevity of your boat slip. The following are possible solutions along with brief descriptions of what each method entails.
When you are dealing with old or damaged pilings, concrete encapsulation is the best solution to implement due to its ability to restore and refurbish the pilings to a more serviceable state. It is a renovation process involving a complete feeling of the outer PVC jacket using a specially formulated concrete mix. The mixture then gradually slips into and fills out the cracks and empty spaces left by the boring worms. This process strengthens the piles thereby giving them another lease on life.
Cross bracing gives your boat slip superior rigidity and durability. With this method, a cross brace refers to a bar that goes from one pile to another while rising at an angle. On one side, it may be down close to the mud foot while on the other end it may rise to an approximately 30 to 45-degree angle. The beauty with cross bracing is that it provides accountability and structural integrity side to side between the piles on a section of the boat slip. It is a nice, sturdy solution that has been a trusted staple for many years.
When making an attempt to pull up to the dock, you may find yourself limited by water depth and tides. To sort out this problem, you will require boat slip dredging service. This service will give you deep water access by removing the sediment that has buildup.
Most boat slip maintenance companies have modern dredging equipment which can easily be deployed from a location that minimizes damage to seawalls, docks, and the waterfront.
During dredging, the material removed is pumped into containers which are usually sealed. Inside these containers, the sediments are allowed enough time to settle and separate from the water. Finally, the water is directed back to the dredged area and the sediments carried away for disposal.
Just as you would regularly give your deck or patio a once-over, a dock can significantly benefit from a little TLC and winter prep.
A quick power washing will remove any top surface contaminants like mold, mildew, salt, and other grime from seeping deeper into the wood. Once the dock's deck has been properly washed, a top coat of stain and/or paint can be used to seal it. Even if you sealed your dock within the last few years, it never hurts to do it again, especially if there’s going to be a chance of a cold snap. The sudden change in temperature can cause premature weathering and rot, and every little bit helps to stretch your dock’s useful life.
Remove the Dock
Taking another page out of our northern neighbor’s playbook, if you have an easily removable dock, you may want to remove and store it for the winter. Many freshwater docks are designed with a series of removable pins, allowing storage in the colder seasons. While they may need to take their docks down by later autumn, you may be able to wait a smidge longer here in the Sunshine State.
The bad news is, it’s going to take a little elbow grease, and may even take a few days to do. The good news? You’ll have peace of mind that you won’t need to replace your dock simply because it randomly dropped into the 30s last night. Piling docks are obviously best to be left alone. Down south, we don't have to worry about lakes freezing, so, chances are, you’ll be fine leaving your standing docks alone, albeit with a little extra maintenance come spring time.
Don’t Undo Hurricane Prep
What Gulf Coast states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida lack in snow days, we just may make up with a late-striking hurricane. Yes, the hurricane season begins in summer, but you never know when you might have a hurricane in late November, or even in early December. If you have extra hurricane prep items, tools, and accessories, it’s best just to keep them in place during winter if possible. Realistically, no matter how good you’ve been, Santa probably won’t bring you a new boat. By ensuring your boat is well secured, either with a helical anchor or with a dock with tall pilings, you can rest assured knowing that your boat damage would be minimized, and more importantly, prevent your dock from sustaining problems as well. It’s all too common for boats to be tossed into their docks during hurricane season, and sometimes that lasts well into winter.
Use the Right Dock Product
It may seem obvious, but many dock owners, especially new ones, think that any wood sealant is sufficient. However, marine-specific sealants are ideal for protecting wood from salt water and from mold and mildew. Even with pressure treated wood, a marine sealant should be applied every six months to a year to keep it from weathering and splintering.
Hire Us For Your Needs
When you’ve exhausted all of your at-home options or aren’t sure where to begin, you can hire us. We’ll provide your dock and pilings with a free inspection and let you know the best way to preserve your dock all winter long. While we may not have experience with ice and snow, we’re the Gulf Coast’s best choice.
No surprise that in Old Norse, the word bulk actually means "cargo". In fact, in 15th century Europe, what would those contracted to do bulkhead construction quickly learned that ship walls would prevent precious cargo from moving around during the voyage. Accordingly, in construction of ships, any upright panel was referred to as a "head". Similarly, when walls were constructed alongside those “heads”, they were referred to as ship bulkheads. Amazingly, the same term, bulkhead, still applies.
If your dock is not maintained on a regular basis, old and poorly maintained pilings and the dock itself will significantly increase in repair cost. It’s ideal to get the dock checked yearly. Rotting deck boards splitting down the middle also need to be replaced immediately. It is easy to replace one board at a time then to have to replace the whole dock. A few signs that the dock maintenance is required include rickety stringers, wobbly and unstable piles and protruding pier decking. Do not ignore these signs as just every day wear and tear. Give us a call and we will gladly come out and inspect the dock.
Dock Maintenance Checklist:
1. Inspect each dock piling
2. Inspect the toe guards on a dock
3. Inspect the water seal
4. Tighten all dock nuts and bolts
5. If wired, inspect the outlets and the electrical connections
6. Inspect each deck board
7. Inspect the bumpers on the bulkhead and dock
Did you know that dock is a synonym for the words pier and wharf? No surprise there. Historically, a dock was meant to represent anything in the water that people could stand on. Nowadays, the word pier is generally used to denote to manufacturing or commercial structures. Verbiage also changes depending on your location. Along the gulf coast, such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, the word dock is most frequently used. Whereas, in the north, or along the east coast, pier is common nomenclature. Whichever terms you’re using to describe your dock, pier, wharf, or floating structure, it’s important that you keep it safe, sturdy and reliable.
Deep South Marine Restoration is in the business of keeping you, your patrons and your families safe. This is why we offer free dock inspections from Texas to Florida. Don’t worry if your city isn’t listed below, if you’re along the gulf coast, reach out to us, and we’ll check your dock pilings out too!
Below is a list of the many cities we provide services to throughout the Gulf Coast. It’s not an exclusive list, so if you’re not listed, be sure to give a call for your free dock piling inspection. From Texas to Florida, Deep South is your expert marine contractor.
New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Bossier City, Kenner, Monroe, Alexandria, Houma, Marrero, New Iberia, Laplace, Prairieville, Central, Slidell, Terrytown, Ruston, Harvey, Bayou Cane, Hammond, Sulphur, Chalmette, Shenandoah, Natchitoches, Gretna, Opelousas, Zachary, Estelle, Thibodaux, Pineville, River Ridge, Baker, Belle Chasse, Crowley, West Monroe, Minden, Bayou Blue, Moss Bluff, Abbeville, Luling, Mandeville, Woodmere, Youngsville, Bogalusa, Morgan City, Claiborne, Broussard, Destrehan, Jefferson, Timberlane, DeRidder, Bastrop, Gonzales, Gardere, Eunice, Jennings, Denham Springs, Reserve and Raceland, Covington, Waggaman, Fort Polk South, Merrydale, Harahan, St. Rose, Scott, Carencro, Oak Hills Place, Westwego, Breaux Bridge, Prien, Rayne, Galliano, Donaldsonville, Lacombe, Oakdale, Schriever, Eden Isle and Franklin, Ville Platte, Village St. George, Old Jefferson, Bridge City, St. Gabriel, Ponchatoula, Larose, Tallulah, Plaquemine, Red Chute, Inniswold, Meraux, Leesville, Walker, St. Martinville and Patterson, Violet, Brownfields, Marksville, Jeanerette, Cut Off, Monticello, Chackbay, Avondale, Grambling, Gray, Port Allen, Springhill, Bayou Vista, Carlyss, Swartz, Mansfield, Berwick, Winnsboro, Elmwood, New Roads, Kaplan, Westlake, Addis, Jonesboro, Winnfield, Arabi and Church Point, Eastwood, Amite City, Brownsville, Vidalia, Bunkie, Ball, Farmerville, Jackson, Franklinton, Lake Providence, Bawcomville, Rayville, Vivian, South Vacherie, Richwood, Gramercy, Jena, Ferriday, Lutcher, Vinton, Hahnville, Haughton, Welsh, Chauvin, Iowa, Greenwood, Westminster, Mamou, DeQuincy, Norco, Milton, Homer, Sunset, Blanchard, Natalbany and Delhi, Arcadia, Pierre Part, Many, Brusly, Lake Arthur, Fort Polk North, Bayou Gauche, Lockport, Pearl River, Garyville, Abita Springs, New Llano, Sterlington, Kinder, Boutte, Bourg, Baldwin, Kentwood, Poydras, Lafourche Crossing, Amelia, Erwinville, Mathews, North Vacherie, Jonesville and Ossun, Haynesville, Edgard, Grand Point, Port Barre, Simmesport, Erath, Port Sulphur and Stonewall, Golden Meadow, Benton, Labadieville, Montz, Zwolle and Jean Lafitte, Deville, Cottonport, Charenton, Livingston, Minorca and Delcambre, Coushatta, White Castle, Basile, Independence, Duson, Des Allemands, Oberlin, Henderson, St. Francisville, Oak Grove, Bernice, Rosepine, Midway, Presquille, Pine Prairie, Lakeshore, Sorrento, Belle Rose, Clinton, Logansport, Colfax, Iota, Vienna Bend, New Sarpy, Montegut, Ringgold, Livonia, Grand Isle, Bayou Country Club, Gueydan and Paradis, Olla, Mansura, Bayou L'Ourse, Ama, Glenmora, Urania, Lawtell, Killian, Banks Springs, Hackberry, Lafitte, Maurice, Paulina, Cade, Krotz Springs and Roseland, Lecompte, Sibley, Paincourtville, French Settlement, Elton, Cullen, Dulac, Merryville, Catahoula, Albany, Leonville, Empire, Woodworth, Lockport Heights and Newellton, Arnaudville, Maringouin, Ventress and Union, St. Joseph, Lakeview, Melville, Campti, Cecilia, Welcome, Clarks, Kraemer and Oil City, Dubach and Boyce, Cotton Valley, Plain Dealing, Slaughter, Estherwood, Washington, Choudrant, Gibsland, Start, Grand Coteau, St. James, Wisner, Barataria, Fordoche and Moreauville, Supreme, Boothville, Loreauville, Longville, Lemannville, Fifth Ward, Bordelonville, Sarepta, Buras, Simsboro, Sorrel and Anacoco, Epps, Madisonville, Tangipahoa, Morse, Wallace, Forest Hill and Choctaw, Doyline, Crescent, Folsom, Mooringsport, Hessmer, Rosedale, Marion, Belmont, Port Vincent, Watson, Tickfaw, Calhoun, Montgomery, Pleasant Hill, Lydia, Clayton and Reddell, Greensburg, Parks, Prospect, Ridgecrest, Mermentau, Starks, Mangham, Napoleonville, Grosse Tete, Florien, Convent, Simpson, Waterproof, Provencal and Cheneyville, Siracusaville, Morganza, Mer Rouge, Natchez, Killona, Wilson, Pitkin, Gilbert and Junction City, Martin, Frierson, Elizabeth, Singer, Chatham, Richmond, Monterey, Grayson, Hayes, Sicily Island, Springfield, St. Maurice, Cankton, Clarence, Sun, Pollock, Oretta, Hornbeck and Gillis, Bayou Goula, Hodge, Turkey Creek, Hester, Converse, Dry Prong, Lacassine, Goldonna, Fort Jesup, Kilbourne, Glencoe, Vienna, Tullos, Columbia, North Hodge, Fenton, Chataignier, Egan, South Mansfield and Spokane, Cameron, Forest, Harrisonburg, Pleasure Bend, Varnado, Georgetown, Dodson, Roanoke, Norwood, Hosston, Point Place, Evergreen, Center Point, Keachi, Hall Summit, East Hodge, Collinston, Saline, Bonita, Rodessa, Ashland, Dixie Inn, and Dubberly, Romeville, Lucky, Delta, Belcher, Noble, Montpelier, Baskin and Castor, Angie and Grand Cane, Plaucheville, Athens, Heflin, Reeves, Wallace Ridge, Fisher, Calvin, Venice, Joyce and Ida, Bienville and Creola, Edgefield, McNary, Rock Hill, Bayou Corne, Shongaloo, Quitman, Lisbon, Robeline, Palmetto, Gilliam, Longstreet, Atlanta, Pioneer, Eros, Downsville, Spearsville and Oak Ridge, Jamestown, Powhatan, Branch, Pointe a la Hache, Lillie, Moonshine, Sikes, Stanley, Bryceland, Triumph, Jordan Hill, Mount Lebanon, Taft, Mound, Sugartown