Wood rot occurs when microbes digest the material’s cellulose fibers. It takes away wood’s rigidity and structural integrity. Over time, the microbes damage the surface to the point that rot becomes visible. As a result, the wood starts to crack and splinter, making the deck unstable. Too much weight on it might cause the surface to give away from underneath your feet.
There are two types of rot a dock faces: Wet rot and dry rot. Let’s take a look at them:
This rot is caused by fungus. It’s known as cellular fungus and usually develops when the dock’s surface is exposed to temperatures from 4°C to 38°C and moisture.
Signs of Wet Rot
- Spongy and softwood
- Flaky, damaged, or bubbling paint
- Lightened or darkened patches of wood
- Cracked wood, which crumbles when dry
- A must, damp smell
- Wood shrinkage
Compared to wet rot, dry rot can go undetected until it’s too late. It causes significant damage, which can sometimes be irreversible. Dry rot is caused by a fungus when wood comes into contact with moist, unsealed wood. The moisture level, in this case, is around 20% to 30% and is a result of humid climates, poor ventilation, and water splashes.
Signs of Dry Rot
- Cuboidal cracking pattern
- Chipped paint
- The rot changes color with time
Now that you know how rot affects your dock, let’s find out how to keep it safe:
Pressure-Wash the Dock
It’s important to clean your dock regularly. When the water level rises and splashes on your dock, it mixes with the dirt on the surface and creates a muddy mess. If left unclean, a layer forms on the surface and feeds the wood moisture slowly.
Do not use household detergents to clean the dock. They contain harmful chemicals that can strip any protective layer your wood dock has left. Use marine cleaners instead.
First, sweep the dock to remove any debris and then pressure-wash the surface to remove the stubborn dirt. Lastly, apply the marine cleaner and scrub the dock.
Sand Down the Splinters
Once the dock has been washed and cleaned, let it dry. Inspect the dock closely for any splinters because they can be quite dangerous when you have rambunctious kids. To sand down the splinters, it’s better to call a professional. They have more experience with this stage of the maintenance process.
Seal the Dock
With the dock now sanded, it’s time for the final touch. Sealing the dock allows you to create a protective layer on the wood that prevents rot. It keeps moisture at bay and ensures water does not damage the surface.
Always take before and after pictures to see the difference your maintenance made and for future reference to ensure the same problem does not happen again.
Get a floating dock or drive-on dock for your PWC from EZ Dock Texas. The company provides quality boat docks, do-it-yourself dock kits, and docking accessories. For more information, call (800) 654-8168.