Dock paint and coatings can provide long-lasting protection and extend the lifespan of your boat dock. Shop Boat Outfitters’ selection of dock paint below, or continue reading to learn more about dock paints and coatings. » Read More
Boat docks are the subject of constant abuse in the form of wind, rain, ice, and the sun’s rays. This constant abuse severely limits the lifespan of the decking boards, resulting in constant expensive repair and replacement. Dock paint can provide a layer of protection for your deck boards, prolonging their lifespan and making your dock safer to use.
The lifespan of a dock can vary from 15 to 30 years. Climate, water type, and location can all have an impact on lifespan. Saltwater can work its way into your deck boards, causing the wood fibers to split. In cold climates, ice crystals can also cause your wood to split.
In general, the weather is not kind to docks. The deck boards of a dock need replacing more often than the pilings or support beams, but the pilings have their own limiting factors such as ice and wood boring sea life. Shipworms, a type of clam, burrow into wooden pilings, causing extensive damage.
The Importance of Non-Skid Coatings on Docks
Docks can also be a dangerous place. When wet, they can be extremely slippery, and old wood dock boards can cause painful splinters. Non-skid dock paint can not only provide traction but also act as a barrier against moisture and UV degradation.
Tuff Coat is a non-skid paint that can be applied to most surfaces and can handle anything from foot traffic to forklifts. Its durability makes it an easy pick for docks, as it can handle any abuse thrown at it. KiwiGrip is another non-skid paint that can work on docks. Originally designed for boats, it can still be used for dock surfaces.
Should You Paint Your Dock?
Painting a dock has its pros and cons. For some, the natural wood look is an appealing factor that paint would cover up. For others, being able to paint your dock whatever color you like is appealing. Docks can also be painted to match the existing exterior paint. Painting is expensive, but the protection it provides for your dock can be worth it in the long haul.
Staining vs Painting for Docks
Staining is another way to protect your dock. Staining works by penetrating the wood it is applied to, forming a protective coat. Stain provides a more natural appearance than paint. Stain is simply tinting the natural pattern of wood, while painting can alter the dock to any color you choose.
Staining has its pros and cons as well, in comparison to paint. Stain is typically cheaper than paint, but the drawback is that it doesn’t last as long, typically fading in 5 to 7 years. Since stain does not completely block the sun’s rays, it also does not provide the same level of protection that paint does.
DIY Dock Painting & Staining
Painting your dock is all in the preparation. Be sure to clean your deck board before painting or deck coating. Painting on top of a dirty surface will cause the paint to bond with the grime on your wood, as opposed to the wood itself. This can cause issues down the road as your paint will crack and flake prematurely. Tuff Coat recommends cleaning the surface of your dock with a degreaser, then rinsing with a steady stream of water.
After cleaning your dock, apply a paint primer designed for your paint. In the case of Tuff Coat, it is recommended to use the company’s UT80 primer. After priming, wait a specified amount of time before applying a top coat. Tuff Coat UT80 is ready for topcoating in about 6 hours depending on conditions such as temperature and humidity.
For the non-skid topcoat, Tuff Coat requires the special textured roller sold by Tuff Coat. This roller is specifically designed to lift the rubber aggregate and distribute it evenly. Failure to use the designated roller can result in a poor outcome. Tuffcoat recommends a second coat of their non-skid for long-lasting results. If you choose to use a different product, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Tuffcoat can also be sprayed on using a spray gun set to a pressure of at least 40 psi.
Staining is a bit easier than painting but still requires prep work. Like paint, the wooden deck boards need to be clean and free of any dirt or grime. In the event of an extremely weathered dock, sanding may be required. Stain does not require a primer and can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed on. Stained decks must be re-stained as they fade.
With the cost of building a dock starting at around $7,000, it can be financially wise to protect your dock boards. Dock paint also allows you to customize the color of your dock to your liking. Add in the safety and comfort benefits of non-skid coating, painting your dock can provide years of enjoyment.
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