Summer Composite Dock Maintenance Checklist


As waterfront camp and cottage owners, we tend to take our docks for granted sometimes. Instead of giving them a little extra attention at the beginning and end of each season, we seem to always be in a rush to either get them in or out of the water. Once in place, it becomes even more unlikely – if not impossible – to do any maintenance at all. And, while composite decking materials allow for easy dock maintenance to keep it looking great, there’s still some work that can be done to extend the life of the dock.

Show Your Dock a Little Love

A neglected dock will not only look unappealing to your neighbors and guests, it will also need to be replaced a lot sooner than it should. For most waterfront dock owners, that’s money that could be used in more productive – and fun – ways! Here’s a quick checklist to go through each summer to keep your dock in tip top shape for years to come.

Hardware check – Regardless if you have a composite dock or use standard lumber, it’s important to regularly inspect the hardware used to keep it all together. When using standard lumber, it’s important to check to make sure that each fastener is tight and secure as changing temps and moisture levels can cause boards to expand and contract throughout the year.

Composite docks are much less susceptible to these types of fluctuations. In either case, if any hardware becomes damaged, it’s important to replace it appropriately using fasteners rated for outdoor use.

Keep the surface clean – The most effective way of keeping your composite dock looking great is also the simplest. Get in the habit of routinely cleaning your deck with simple soap and water. Oftentimes, a soft bristled brush and a quick rinse is all that is needed to easily remove spills, dirt, pollen, debris and bird droppings before they have a chance to build up, making dock maintenance on a composite decking material much easier then with traditional lumber.

Pressure treated lumber decking may also require periodic sanding in order to remove any loose paint, stain or damaged wood. This type of maintenance is almost always best performed out of the water at the beginning of the summer. This will help ensure that the residue from the sanding process doesn’t settle into the water and keeps electric powered equipment away at a safe distance, too. Homeowners would do well to first consult with a pro when it comes time to recondition wood docks. Not only will they have the right equipment for the job on hand, they’ll also provide valuable experience on which products and techniques work best.

Replace damaged boards - For composite dock owners, replacing damaged boards (or removing a few courses to make it easier to move sections in and out of the water) is simple and easy with the Step-Clip™ fastening system developed by DuraLife. Installed using a simple roofing nail gun or hammer, Step-Clip strips are attached across each joist and composite deck board is snapped into place using only a person’s body weight (or a non-marring rubber mallet). Pressure treated boards should be replaced at the first sign of warping, splitting or splintering.

Sealing wood docks with a waterproof sealant - Another way to prevent moisture from ruining a wood dock prematurely is to cover it with a liquid sealant every year. This provides a level of protection against wind driven rain and snow from being absorbed by the wood. Instead, water simply rolls off the surface of the dock. Whenever possible, homeowners should consider using an environmentally friendly deck sealant to lessen the impact on the surrounding water supply. This tedious annual task is not required for capped composite deck or dock planks.

Composite Docks and Boardwalks Made to Last Longer

In addition to inherent water repellant qualities of composite decking, capped composite products made by DuraLife™ in Biddeford, Maine also provide an extra layer of tough, UV protection. Embedded into the composite decking material during the manufacturing process, this co-extrusion layer never needs replacing – or sealing – to effectively keep it performing for many years to come. DuraLife composite dock and boardwalk planks are heavy-duty and designed to excel in both commercial and residential marine applications.

Get samples of DuraLife composite decking and a dock plank!  Select up to 4 complimentary composite decking samples in any combination of collection, profile and color. You may also choose a sample railing color and dock plank. Order yours now! 


This article is made possible by DuraLife. DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products. More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.