Posted on May 21, 2020
Without decking, you have nowhere to stand or walk on your way out to your boat or anything else you have on your dock. Choosing your dock decking options and materials is an important decision that will likely come down to your budget, dock plans, maintenance preferences, and aesthetics. For a lot of dock owners, that choice might come down to wood or aluminum: ShoreMaster has the widest range of decking choices among dock manufacturers and years of waterfront experience, so we can tell you everything there is to know about comparing those two materials.
Decking materials for aluminum boat docks make up a large chunk of a dock budget. Usually, waterfront owners spend between 25% and 50% of their budget on their decking material, although that number can get higher. It’s also worth considering how much money you’ll have left to invest in your dock once it gets set up again: a higher cost up front could very well pay for itself over time as you save time and money on maintaining your dock every season. Wooden dock decking can vary in price depending on the type of wood that’s used and will require annual maintenance, where aluminum decking might cost a little more upfront but doesn’t require as much maintenance years from now.
Is your dock a place where you’re going to access your watercraft, or one where you’re going to be spending a lot of time relaxing and hosting get-togethers on (or both)? Will you need to be able to easily take down your dock when the boating season is over? Wooden dock owners enjoy the feel of natural wood decking, and wooden decking can absorb the sun’s rays, which can be nice to stand on on a cool but sunny day. Aluminum decking is lighter and easier to move, tends to stay cooler in the sun, and gives any aluminum boat dock layout a clean look.
Wood decking requires more maintenance than aluminum decking. While wooden decking contains oils and tannins that protect it from insects and decay, it still requires annual power washing and finish or stain every three to four years. Wooden decking is also prone to warping, decaying, rotting, or twisting over time, especially if it’s not cared for properly. Aluminum decking can be set out and essentially forgotten about: it requires little to no maintenance to perform well and keep looking good, and it doesn’t get damaged as easily as wood does.
A lot of traditionalists like wood decking’s classic and attractive look. The thing about wood decking, again, is the maintenance. It takes a lot of work to keep your wooden decking looking good season after season. If you’re handy and enjoy the work, wooden decking is a good option, but aluminum decking has won over even some wood traditionalists. Aluminum won’t rust, twist, or warp over the dock system, requires less maintenance and only occasional cleaning when compared to wooden decking, and it is available in a variety of beautiful and long-lasting color options—ShoreMaster has plain, white, tan, and even woodgrain painted aluminum to fit your dream dock plans. Learn more about boat dock rust and aluminum.
Whether you’re looking for a new dock system or upgrading your current one, ShoreMaster has everything you need and more. Using sectional docks that offer customization and flexibility, Shoremaster can help you build a dock specific to your waterfront. ShoreMaster is an industry leader in boat dock accessory quality and has the greatest number of available options for your waterfront. For more information about ShoreMaster’s offerings and what would work best for your unique shoreline, contact a ShoreMaster dealer near you.