When you picture a deck or a dock, you probably picture one made from wooden boards. But wood isn’t the only option you have for your next marine construction project. Grated decking is becoming an increasingly popular alternative.
Made from either PVC, PPC, or fiberglass, grated decks and docks are more environmentally friendly and more durable than their wooden counterparts. If you still want the look of wood with the benefits of a plastic material, you might also want to consider composite decking. There are many reasons grated decking has grown in popularity.
Why Use Grated Decking?
A wooden deck might have the advantage of its iconic look, but grated decking is the more functional option of the two. Here are a few reasons you should consider using grated decking for your next residential or commercial marine construction project.
While you might assume that wood is the more eco-friendly choice because it’s made from natural materials, this is not the case. To keep water out and prevent rotting, wood needs to be chemically sealed. Leaching from chemically treated wood can be harmful to the surrounding marine environment. Wood also blocks sunlight, cutting off any aquatic plants underneath from their main source of food.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends using grated docks to allow enough sunlight to penetrate through so that the seagrasses underneath can grow. And because grated docks are made from naturally water-resistant PVC, they won’t leach chemicals into the water.
Because it’s made from 100% plastic (often recycled plastic), grated decking will not rot due to water exposure. Not only does this mean a grated deck or dock will last longer, but you also won’t have to maintain it like you would a wooden deck.
If you want a dock that truly stands the test of time, a grated dock offers maximum durability. In addition to being water and fade resistant, grated decking is able to easily withstand harsh marine weather conditions.
Because wooden docks float, constant pressure is put on the fasteners that keep it secure. During a storm, surging waves push up against the dock and create even more pressure. Over time, this can damage both the dock and the supporting fasteners. Grated docks, like most things made of holes, sink. This keeps them from being damaged when the water gets rough.
Safe & Accessible
Grated decking is surprisingly kind to bare feet. While all-plastic decks are among the hottest types of solid decking, they become much cooler and more feet-friendly in grated form.
The unique texture of a grated deck also gives it better slip resistance than solid wood or PVC. Rain falls harmlessly through the gaps, creating a non-skid surface that’s safe for kids and allows for easy boat entry. In cooler climates, you won’t have to deal with ice or snow buildup.
Compared to natural wood, grated decks made from plastic materials are 60% to 75% lighter. This makes them much easier and less expensive to install and remove. And because water is able to flow through, grated dock platforms are easier to lift in and out of the water.
Grated dock panels fit together like a puzzle, with interlocking tabs and slotted mounting holes that make installation quick and easy. This, combined with their lightweight, makes it possible for homeowners to install grated decking without professional help.
As we’ve already mentioned, grated decks and docks are resistant to water damage – this means you will never have to seal or reseal them. Both grated and non-grated PVC decking is often UV stabilized as well, meaning that decks made from this material also resist fading caused by sun exposure.
This no-maintenance marine construction solution is particularly useful for commercial builders looking to minimize long-term expenses.
Types of Grated Decking
There are different styles of grated decking available depending on your needs. These include:
- Panel Style: Brands like Titan Deck, SureStep, and Titan offer panels in 3, 4, or 5-foot lengths that are easy to assemble and ideal for stairs and small residential projects.
- Board Style: Longer 12, 16, and 20-foot long board-style grates that are ideal for more ambitious commercial and industrial projects.
The grating itself can be customized as well. In areas where seagrass conservation is a major concern, you might seek out wider grating that allows for more light to come through. You can also upgrade to grating that’s reinforced with aluminum for greater stability or a surface with added grit to provide better slip-resistance.
Color & Design Options
You can’t beat the rich and warm hues of a natural hardwood like ipe, but grated decking still offers a solid variety of color options. Most brands offer white, tan, and gray to choose from. You can also choose the grate pattern of your dock. Popular patterns include chevron, straight, and x-shaped designs.
The Cons of Grated Decking
The pros of grated decking solutions far outweigh the cons, but there are still a few things you’ll want to consider. For one, it’s possible to drop small items through the grates depending on their size. Small keys, fishing lures, and jewelry can all be swallowed by the sea if you aren’t careful!
Explore a Variety of Marine Construction Solutions
Every marine construction project is unique. A large-scale industrial dock is going to require a different approach than a recreational deck for family gatherings. At Decks & Docks Lumber Co., we’ve provided the marine-grade materials for countless projects of all shapes and sizes.
So whether you plan on using grated PVC, lumber, or composite wood, you can find the hardware and accessories you need to bring your project to life. Call us today to learn more about our marine construction solutions!