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.