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Premium Decking for a Truly Premium System

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Premium Decking for a Truly Premium System

There is no element on any dock system that connects more closely to the dock user than the decking. And most important to someone purchasing a new dock, or upgrading an existing dock, is the amount of decking choices available to them. 

“Take Away The Decking, And The Dock Becomes Useless”


The decking on any dock system is the first thing that the dock user will see as they walk toward the dock, it is the first thing they will touch as they step onto the dock, and it is the first thing that creates a feeling of safety and stability as they continue their walk on the dock. All of these connections resonate deeply in the mind of the dock owner to create a perception of their dock which is categorized around the decking choice they have made. Take away the decking, and the dock becomes useless to the dock owner, a framework of aluminum gussets and welds, and a mere shell of its former existence. Sure, the dock frames, legs, or flotation are the foundation of any dock system, but without the decking they are simply potential, unrealized. If the dock frame and its frame components are the skeleton of the dock system, the decking is its soul. To fully realize the potential of any dock system, it needs the perfect decking.

Ask any dock owner to describe their dock and they will likely tell you two things, what style the dock is, and what kind of decking it has. A common response to this question is something along the lines of “I have a wheel-in style dock with cedar decking.” In some cases, a passionate dock owner will give you the brand name as well. The point here is that the decking on any dock is so highly regarded by dock owners, that it is used as key descriptor when asked to describe their dock system.

“Not All Dock Manufacturers Have As Many Decking Choices As ShoreMaster”

When it comes to upgrading an existing dock system, or purchasing a new one, there is no more important choice to the dock owner than the decking. When it comes to dock decking, more choices are definitely better than fewer. We all know that docks are used for varying reasons, as well as some common ones such as providing access to a boat or pontoon, or fishing and swimming. Docks are also used for work, special events, and relaxation. Not all dock decking is created equal, and not all dock manufacturers have as many decking choices as ShoreMaster. 

ShoreMaster is an Industry Leader in Dock Decking Choices and Quality

Long ago, ShoreMaster realized that not all dock decking is created equal depending on how you intend to use your dock. That’s why today, ShoreMaster offers the widest range of decking choices among all dock manufacturers in the industry, and ShoreMaster decking is regarded one of the highest quality decking options available today.

So How Do Dock Owners Choose The Right Decking?

ShoreMaster offers so many decking choices that it can be hard for consumers to grasp which option best fits their needs. Other dock manufacturers are much more limited in their decking options, which might seem like a blessing to a dealer who wants to limit their on-hand inventory, but limited decking choices really affect a dock users ability to truly get the best owner experience available in the industry. As a consumer, you don’t have to settle for what a dealer has on hand, or what they have access to from a dock manufacturer other than ShoreMaster. Remember, ShoreMaster dealers have access to the most decking choices anywhere, which is a major positive for dock owners looking to upgrade an existing dock system or purchase a new one. Even if your ShoreMaster dealer does not have your ShoreMaster decking choice in stock, they have access to it, and can likely get it in a very reasonable time frame as a part of ShoreMaster’s nationwide network of authorized dealers.

“Dock decking can represent anywhere between 25% to 50% of the total cost of a dock system”

While initial cost is obviously an important aspect when choosing decking for a dock system,  you might be surprised to discover that important factors such as how you will use your dock, how much maintenance are you willing to do yourself versus hire out, and how long you expect your decking to last all have major implications on the total cost of dock decking over the life of the product. You should also consider that; dock decking typically represents anywhere from 25% to 50% (or more) of total cost of any complete dock system. Some other dock manufacturers not only limit your decking choices, but hide the true price of their decking in complete dock frame packages. This not only hides the true cost of the decking, but it can hide other factor such as how much you are paying for the dock frame, or other dock components.   

Below, we’ll describe the different decking materials that are used to create ShoreMaster’s wide range of decking options, then we’ll list out some important considerations based on each decking material, and finally, we’ll describe the decking options available from ShoreMaster in each decking material category.

Choosing Wood Decking For Your Dock System 

For many traditionalists, wood decking such as red cedar or IPE hardwood is the only way to go when it comes to decking for docks. This is because these types of woods contain natural oils and tannins to resist rot, decay and insects without having to be pre-treated with potentially dangerous or harmful chemicals. Plus, many dock owners like the look and feel of a natural wood decking on their dock. It is important to note that wood decking will require more maintenance than aluminum or composite decking. A general recommendation is to power wash your wood decking annually and apply a coat of finish or stain every three to four years to keep it looking great. When choosing wood decking, it’s important to consider that natural wood decking can absorb the sun’s rays and become warm to the touch on especially hot days, on the flip side, wood decking will generally feel nice and warm even on cool days with plenty of sunshine.

Deciding between Hardwood Decking and Softwood Decking For Your Dock

Wood is a great natural looking and durable decking material for your dock system. ShoreMaster offers two types of wood decking material for your dock, IPE, which is a tropical hardwood, and red cedar, a softwood.

The first thing that you are likely to notice in the difference between hardwoods and softwoods is price. Hardwoods take longer to grow than softwoods, and this is attributable to the higher cost for hardwood material. Another difference that you’ll encounter is the density, or, the hardness of each material. Because hardwoods take longer to grow, the wood is more compact and dense; this makes hardwoods heavier than softwoods.

Softwoods grow quicker than hardwoods, and the wood is less dense, making it easier to cut and drill than hardwoods. Softwoods such as red cedar can have varying levels of hardness and resistance to insects and decay. This is directly related to the amount of heartwood in the boards. Heartwood grows near the center of the tree, which makes it harder, and more resistant to insects and decay. Sapwood grows near the outer part of the tree, and can be a bit softer and more susceptible to decay. The red Cedar decking supplied by ShoreMaster contains more heartwood so your decking is less susceptible to early weatherization and insects.

Whether you choose a hardwood or a softwood decking material for your natural looking dock, you’ll be glad to know that each type of wood contains natural oils and tannins to help protect it from insects and decay. And no matter which choice you make, each type of wood will require about the same level of maintenance to keep it looking good. In general, you’ll want to power wash your wood decking annually, and apply a finish or stain every three to four years to keep it looking great. If no stain or finish is used, you will still want to power wash your wood decking annually. Both IPE hardwoods and red cedar softwoods will weather to a nice silver-gray color when no stain or finish is applied.

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