A Guide to Dock Piling Protection
Whether a permanent residence or summer lake house, boat docks are a prominent feature of water-front properties and, thus, need regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. When properly cared for, boat docks can add significant value to your property.
Yet, maintenance alone shouldn’t be the only way you care for your dock. After installation, you must invest in piling protection to keep your pilings durable, secure, and long-lasting. If you don’t use piling protection, you risk critical damage to your structure.
In this guide to dock piling protection for homeowners, you’ll learn exactly what you need to ensure the longevity of your dock for years to come. Read on to learn more.
Why Is Docking Piling Protection Important?
Dock piling protection prevents your dock from succumbing to the whims of nature. Between sun damage, water corrosion, and sea creature infestation, dock piling protection is necessary to avoid costly damage. Marine borers alone caused over $100 million in structural damage in New York City in a single year.
Don’t let nature destroy your dock. Take the necessary precautions to keep your dock in excellent condition for decades at minimal cost.
Top Choices for Dock Piling Protection
Protection for your dock pilings comes in many forms. Let’s look at some of our favorite choices for your boat dock protection.
Pile sleeves use a PVC-like coating that is heat-shrunk around a pier. They are one of the best forms of dock protection, as they ensure water and marine organisms never touch the piling.
Usually, manufacturers install the sleeves over the entire pier at the lumber yard before putting the posts in the water. However, you must put the pile sleeves on before installing the dock. If your dock is already in the water, you won’t be able to use pile sleeves.
When buying dock sleeves, we recommend you use DuroSleeve. They are UV resistant and protect against marine borers and corrosion.
Dock piling wrap goes around the sides of your piles for protection. It comes in different materials for different levels of durability. From polyethylene materials, like high-density polyethylene (HDPE), to vinyl or plastic, piling wrap keeps your dock safe from the elements.
What’s great about pile wrap is that you can put it on the posts before or after dock installation. Even if your dock already has some damage, you can use pile wrap to prevent further destruction.
Piling caps protect the top part of each dock pile. The tops of the piles are especially prone to the following:
- Insect infestation
- Roosting birds
- UV rays
- Water damage
Piling caps seal the exposed area and give your dock a polished look. Materials to choose from include:
Although a bit costly and not easy to install, SnapJacket is a brand of piling wrap that offers total pier protection and is especially great for dock pilings with some wear and tear.
You snap the plastic wraps around each pile, then seal the wrap with concrete to fortify eroded or decayed wood. These wraps also provide structural support.
If your piling needs additional protection and you have a larger budget, go for SnapJacket wraps, which are also a fantastic option for repairing damaged piling.
Fenders, also known as vertical bumpers, protect your marine pilings from damage when boats are docking, creating a buffer between the dock and the boat.
Pile fenders come in various materials, such as PVC and HDPE support boards. These fenders may seem like a small addition, but when you use your dock frequently, you’ll quickly see their protective value.
Choosing the Right Materials for Dock Piling Protection
Selecting improper materials for your pilings and dock piling protectors can cause as much damage as failing to protect your structure at all. Below, we recommend two materials you should use for piling to optimize durability.
Fortress pilings have an exterior barrier liner wrapped at precise angles with fiberglass strands coated with vinyl ester resin to provide durability and rot resistance. Fiberglass piling is:
- Easy to install
- Environmentally friendly
Fortress pilings will significantly prolong your dock’s lifespan and not break the bank while doing so. They are strong enough to support nearly all docks, which is why they are a favorite with homeowners.
Treated Wood Pilings
Although traditional wood may meet the demands of the high-quality piling foundation you need, treated wood is a better option. Treated wood, like Greenheart piling, can handle brackish or saltwater without losing its integrity.
Further, treated wood pilings protect against decay and marine organisms, like shipworms and boring clams. A chemical wood preservative, usually chromated copper arsenate, surrounds the outer layer of the wood to create a protective layer around the inner part of the wood (heartwood). Although different chemical treatments exist when in doubt, choose the strongest one for your pilings.
Compared to Fortress Piling, treated wood is more affordable and just as attractive. It’s also easy to modify.
Decks & Docks Is Here to Help with Your Project
Dock piling protection is essential to keep your dock in tip-top shape as it ages. Yet, with so many protection options, you may not know which is best for your dock even after reading this guide.
Let the team at Docks & Decks help. Find a location near you and get in touch. We have locations along the U.S.A.’s east and Gulf coasts and other select areas in the county.
You can also browse our websites to see the dock accessories and other protection materials we have for sale, such as dock bumpers that preserve the dock edges from damage. Contact us when you’re ready to place an order and checkout or if you have further questions!
- About the Author
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Brian has worked for Decks and Docks for over ten years. He worked his way up the ladder, started as our Wilmington Branch Manager, opening that store for us in 2013. Brian was then promoted to our first Regional Manager and oversaw six stores before being promoted to our Corporate Office as COO. His vast experience in our industry makes him a valuable asset to the team and to our customers.