dock restoration
Construction Services

Signs That Your Dock Needs Restoration

Your dock gets a lot of use, and as with anything that is directly exposed to water, it’s going to need repair from time to time. Look out for warping and cracks, as well as rust stains.dock restoration

Wood rot is common, even with treated wood. If you notice discolored wood, a professional like Top-Notch Dock Building should be called in to check for rot.

Wood rot is one of the most common signs that a dock may need restoration. Whether it’s visible on the surface of a board or affecting beams, joists, or flooring, fungus growth of any kind is a bad sign that water-destroying fungi are invading your dock. These fungi are particularly suited to the marine environment, where they feed on organic matter such as wooden boards, causing them to weaken and break apart.

The presence of a musty smell is also a sign that the wood on your dock has become infested with these fungi. In addition to this, a rotting dock can be identified by a soft or crumbly surface. Using a screwdriver to probe into the wood can also help determine if it’s still structurally sound. If the screwdriver sinks in with little or no resistance, it’s probably a good idea to replace that section of your dock.

In addition to the fungi that lead to wood rot, your dock’s metal components are at risk of corrosion as well. These metal parts must be inspected regularly to make sure they’re in good shape and aren’t beginning to show signs of wear. Metal corrosion is often caused by the oxidation of salt molecules in water, which eats away at metals as it penetrates them.

While the term “dry rot” has been used to refer to several different fungi, most references now use the term Serpula lacrymans for this particular type of rot. This fungus can grow in the absence of any moisture, which makes it an excellent choice for removing rot from dry timber where there is no source of moisture, like a leaking roof or window.


Whether they’re made of wood, metal, or another material, docks are constantly exposed to the elements and water. Even with proper maintenance, after a certain amount of time, they’ll show some natural signs that they’re due for some repairs. Knowing when to call in the professionals can help you get the most out of your dock’s lifespan.

The constant movement of boats and people on a dock can cause screws or welds to wear out. This can affect the structural integrity of a dock and should be repaired immediately. A swaying dock can be very dangerous to anyone who uses it, especially young children or seniors.

Any metal components on a dock should be inspected regularly for signs of rust. Rust eats away at metal and can quickly compromise the safety and reliability of your dock. This is particularly true with metal parts that are constantly submerged in salt water. If you’re noticing rust on any metal parts of your dock, it’s time for repair or replacement.

Some rust may be caused by organic growth such as algae or barnacles. These can be removed with a pressure washer or brush, and they should be cleaned regularly to prevent further damage to your dock or boat.


While you’re inspecting a dock, look closely for signs of warping. This occurs when a board starts to bend due to the water’s changing pressure. If the bending becomes severe, you’ll need to replace it to keep your dock safe.

You can spot warping in wood by laying it on a flat surface and looking for areas where the edges do not lie flat. You can also use a level across the surface of the wood to see if it’s warped or not. If the warping is minor, it may be possible to reshape and refinish the board for a fresh look, but if you’re dealing with significant bending, it’s time to consider replacing it completely.

Another important factor is the foundation of your dock. The pilings that support it are installed far down into sturdy bed materials to keep the dock stable and secure. However, changes in the lake environment have caused the sand and rock to shift in recent years, which can result in damage to the pilings. A deteriorating foundation is a serious safety hazard that should be addressed immediately by a professional.

Even if your dock is in good condition, it’s a good idea to check for small repairs each season. For example, if the boat lift isn’t working properly, it could cause injuries to boaters or swimmers. The pier’s supports are also important to check for damage and wear. If they’re made of metal, it’s best to choose anodized aluminum that won’t rust. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace them with a different material that won’t be affected by the lake water. If your pier isn’t removable, you may want to consider switching to a floating dock, which can be removed from the water for the winter.


It’s not uncommon for a dock to show signs of wear and tear as it ages. Knowing when a dock is a good candidate for repair and when it might be time to consider replacement can save you money, stress and headaches.

Wood rot is a common issue that can be addressed by replacing individual boards with new treated lumber. But if the entire structure is rotting, it’s probably time for a full replacement. The problem with rotted wood is that it can weaken the overall structure, making it unsafe for people to walk on or boats to dock at.

Another common issue with docks is rusting metal parts. This is caused by the constant contact with water that a dock experiences, which leads to a buildup of moisture that can eventually lead to rust. If the affected area is small, you may be able to repair the dock without needing a complete overhaul. However, if the rusted areas are widespread, it might be time to replace the entire dock.

Another sign that a dock is in need of repair is when the structure is wobbly. This can be due to loose screws or welds that connect different dock sections. The constant movement of a boat in and out can put extra strain on these connections. This can cause the dock to sway as the boat goes in and out of the water, which is unsafe for anyone using the structure.

A concrete spall is also a sign that it’s time to replace a dock. Spalling occurs when the concrete on a dock starts to break apart, creating uneven and unstable surfaces. This can be especially dangerous for forklift operators, who need a firm surface to dock their trucks.

Metal Parts

Metal parts on docks can wear out over time, especially if they’re submerged in salt water. The corrosive properties of salt water are very tough on metal, so any signs of rust should be addressed as quickly as possible. A little rust might be able to be cleaned, but severe rust will require replacing the affected metal. If the rust is in the form of corroded bolts or hinges, a repair is often much easier than replacing a whole dock structure.

During dock restoration, professionals will carefully inspect the entire structure for damage or wear. They’ll also examine the underwater foundation to make sure it’s intact and that there are no cracks or other issues with it. Foundation damage usually requires immediate replacement, as the foundation is what holds the rest of the dock in place and prevents it from sinking or moving.

Aside from inspecting the main components of the dock, they’ll also take a closer look at all of the other parts, such as a removable boat ramp. This part offers utility and convenience, as it allows you to pull your boat up out of the water without having to swim back and forth with a line. However, a sagging or warped ramp could be a sign of serious structural problems and should be evaluated by an expert as soon as possible.

The decision to fix or replace a dock is often complicated, as each has its own advantages and benefits. However, avoiding common mistakes can help you save time, money, and stress, so be sure to pay close attention to the warning signs mentioned above.