Spring is here, and now is the ideal time to inspect the dock at your recreational property to see what maintenance or repairs may be required before cottage season kicks off. In addition to normal wear and tear, harsh Canadian winters can really wreak havoc on wooden docks, especially if you have a permanent dock that can’t be removed from the water during the winter months.
Beyond basic maintenance, this is also an opportunity to think about how you can upgrade your existing dock this year to minimize the need for repairs in the future and improve your enjoyment of the dock space. For example, you can update its look and feel by replacing wooden deck boards with Deckorators Voyage Composite high-performance decking, available exclusively at Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Building Centre stores. This could also be the time to extend or expand your existing dock, or to install exciting new accessories and features.
Here are the key considerations to keep in mind when upgrading your cottage dock.
The ideal dock is good looking, easy to maintain, and can go for many years without requiring major repairs. Your deck boards should be made of a material that will offer good traction, virtually no water absorption, and comes with a multi-year warranty.
Unfortunately, wood and most composite decking actually aren’t ideal for use around water. But Deckorators Voyage Composite Decking is a mineral-based composite that is designed for use on and around water, making it a great choice for docks and pool decks. Voyage Composite Decking, which you can find at Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Building Centre stores, offers a look similar to wood but boasts a splinter-free surface and almost no water absorption. This high-performance material comes with an industry-leading warranty, and it’s available in four different widths and multiple colours. Winter after winter, you won’t have to worry about sagging or cracking boards, and it’s resistant to stains and fading.
Size and shape
Whether you have a permanent dock, pipe dock, floating dock, or lift-up dock, you want to first confirm that you have the right type of dock for your shoreline. If you’re thinking of changing the size or design of your existing dock, factors to keep in mind include how it currently sits and moves in the water, the waves and wind in the area, the potential views, and how much space you want or need. For example, if you have multiple boats, you may want to consider a T or U-shaped dock instead of a standard rectangular shape.
You don’t need a permit to do small maintenance and repairs like replacing rotting and cracking deck boards. But be aware that any changes or additions to your existing dock may require permits and approvals, depending on your plans and where your cottage is located. You will want to contact the local municipality, along with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) if you’re in Ontario. They should be able to give you more information and let you know if there are specific regulations or approvals you may need before proceeding.
Essential accessories and hardware
You can improve the look and utility of your dock by adding accessories and updating the existing hardware as needed. Small improvements like replacing worn-out dock bumpers or installing a new swim ladder can instantly refresh an older dock, while dedicated extras like a dock box or canoe and kayak rack are great for increasing storage and improving access to your water toys and essentials.
Thinking of upgrading your cottage dock? Learn more about the benefits of building with Voyage Composite Decking, available at Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Building Centre stores.