If you live in Ontario, you are probably familiar with most of the lakes here. A quick search online will reveal that the following lakes are considered the best for boating:
- The Great Lakes
- 30,000 Islands, Georgian Bay
- The Trent-Severn Waterway
- The 1,000 Islands – St Lawrence River
- The Muskoka Lakes
- The Rideau Canal
- The Smaller Fishing Lakes (In Nipissing)
- The Ottawa River
- Lake Simcoe
- Lake Nipissing
If you have sailed on any of these lakes, you have taken advantage of the marinas nearby. Have you ever paid attention to the decking material of the dock?
If you have plans to build a dock for your lake house, why not inspect the docks in detail? They will tell you a tall tale of durability and maintenance.
Nowadays, the two most common materials that are used for docks include wood and aluminum. Let’s look at their features to help you make a decision on which one to choose:
Nothing can beat the natural beauty of wood, which is why many boat owners prefer a wood dock. This material comes in various stains and lumbers, allowing you to go for a customized look. It will also fit the theme of your property and the surrounding.
Some of the best wood options for a dock include:
- Western Red Cedar
- Eastern White Cedar
- Douglas Fir
Wood docks require an annual treatment schedule to keep them in good shape. You need to clean the surface with marine-grade cleaner, pressure-wash it, apply a protective coating to prevent mold and mildew, and then stain it for shine.
Maintaining this schedule can be very hectic and time-consuming. You can hire a professional cleaner to do this job, but it will cost you around $350. We suggest you reserve a weekend to clean the dock and call your friends for help.
Installing a wood deck can be difficult because this material is heavy and requires more manpower. It’s better to hire a company that offers this service in Ontario.
Compared to other decking materials, wood is more affordable. While its upfront and short-term cost might be low, you will pay more in maintenance.
Wood is susceptible to warping, cracking, and rotting over time. Look out for any splinters because they can be dangerous.
Aluminum does not offer wood’s earthy effect. It’s quite plain and does not blend well with the surrounding.
Aluminum does not require much maintenance. Give it a water-tight coating if you see its shine fading, which will be at least after a decade.
Aluminum decking is light, but it needs to be welded properly by a professional. Otherwise. it can be a safety hazard.
Aluminum is more expensive than wood because it lasts 20 to 30 years longer than wood. Moreover, it is not susceptible to rot, which increases its price.
An aluminum dock can last more than 50 years. You can make it last longer with proper maintenance and a little pressure washing.
Below is a comparison chart that summarizes the above points:
|Features||Wood Dock||Aluminum Dock|
|Visual Appeal||It has a shine to it||Lacks character|
|Maintenance||Requires heavy maintenance annually with cleaning, pressure washing, and staining||Low maintenance.|
|Installation||Wood decking is heavy and requires more manpower||It needs to be welded properly, or it can become a safety hazard|
|Cost||Inexpensive||The initial cost is high but does not require annual touch-ups|
|Durability||Can warp, rot and crack over time||It is not susceptible to bugs, mold, or rot like a wood dock|
Aluminum is mainly used for commercial and industrial floating docks, whereas wood is a residential option. Most people prefer the latter because it has a low up-front cost. Having a dock in any material is a plus point for your lake house because it will increase its value.
Visit the Nor Col EZ Dock website to learn about aluminum and wood docks. The company offers boat docks in different designs, including DIY docks, drive-on docks, kayak and canoe docks, floating docks, etc. For further information, call (800) 654-8168.