What is the Best Wood to use For a Dock?

One of the hardest decisions to make when building a new boat dock is what you are going to make it out of. Wood is the most ideal option, but it also comes with some maintenance requirements. As with any wooden item you want to keep in good shape, it is important to stain and perform other routine maintenance as needed.

After all, the dock is a very important piece of your boating experience! You want to be able to safely board and un-board from your trip and keep your boat precisely where you want it when you return.

For many years, there were only two choices when it came to picking the wood you wanted to use; cedar and pressure treated. They both require the same joist spacing for the correct support, can be bleached, can be installed without special equipment or tools, and they are mostly resistant to rot.

Although both solutions are ideal for dock building, there isn’t one that is better than the other. They each have different qualities, and if you want to stick with the two tried and true options, you should base your choice on what is most important to you.

Cedar boasts a more natural look than the other options. It even resists wood-boring insects! The portion of the wood with the deeper coloring is actually rot resistant, and it doesn’t easily absorb moisture.

Moisture is what makes other wood split in different directions, but cedar stays together and straight. With cedar, you are looking at a lifespan of up to 20 years. For docks on the ground level, and shaded docks the lifespan will be shorter.

Pressure-treated wood docks are the more inexpensive choice between the two but require more maintenance than the natural cedar. Pressure-treated wood is appealing to the eye, but it does absorb moisture and is a bit high maintenance.

This type of wood will need to be sealed more often in order to keep its water resistance. As the wood gets older and as it is exposed to moisture, it may splinter.

A more modern option that has just started to gain popularity is called modified wood. This type of wood is real and doesn’t have any chemicals or additives embedded in it.

If you choose to make your boat dock with modified wood, you will not have to stain, seal, or repaint it regularly. A simple cleaning should do the trick, and it is resistant to insect damage, decay, and moisture!

This is possible because the process of modification makes it a more dense option for the dock. In addition to being low maintenance, modified wood is appealing to the eye, and won’t splinter. As this type of wood gets older, it begins to appear a silvery grey in color.

Other options are available for boat deck building, including:

  • Composites
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum

Most people still prefer wooded materials over the man-made materials when it comes to appearance and cost. Wooden decks are more cost-effective, but they do require a bit of TLC every once in a while to keep them in working order.

If your boat dock receives proper care and maintenance depending on the wood type, it will last for many years with little to no issues. As with any building project, your foundation is what is most important when it comes to stability and lifespan.

There really is no “best wood” to use for your dock-building endeavor. It truly depends on what you want your dock to look like, and the specific needs that you have.

If you have trouble deciding what wood would be best for your project, contact a company that specializes in boat dock building to ease your mind and begin your project!