5 Essential Steps to Cleaning Your Dock

In Ormond Beach and surrounding Florida areas, you can use your dock year around.  If you are actually docking a boat there or simply sitting and enjoying the breeze, there are a few things to consider when cleaning your dock.

Before beginning the work, you should first get a good sense of the project at hand. Cleaning wood always takes longer than you initially anticipate. How long has it been since the last time it was properly cleaned? Do you have the right equipment to clean, sand and seal the wood? There is a lot that goes into doing it right. Making it look good is only half of the battle. Using the right sealing component to provide a long life of protection is very important. If you’ve cleaned your dock in the past, you know what we are talking about. With all the elements from the salt water to rain, heat and cold, the dock takes a beating during the year. It needs time and attention to keep it working and looking great.

Here are the steps we take as a professional exterior cleaning company to ensure our customers get exactly what they are paying for:

1.     Inspect - Our first order of business is to conduct an inspection. This includes walking the dock and looking for all loose boards, rotten boards, nail or screw heads sticking up and structural issues. If the dock seems to be in sound structural condition (minus a few boards that need replacing) we will measure the square footage of the entire dock.  This includes the railings on both sides, the decking, the boat house trim and any other exposed wood such as fascia on top or down below. The square footage will tell us how long it should take our technicians to clean it and how much sealer product we will need to purchase.  All of this is written up in a proposal for the customer’s approval.

If you would like to get a proposal from us, click here to connect with one of our estimators.

2.     Loose Boards - After we get the customer’s approval, we will set a date to complete the work and order the sealer product. Upon arrival, our first order of business is to replace any missing or rotten boards and secure loose nail or screw heads down. By doing this work first, it gives us a clean slate to start the pressure washing. We’ve worked on many docks over the last ten years of being in the pressure washing business. Therefore, we’ve seen docks that have been meticulously maintained and docks that have been all but abandoned. No matter what the application, we stick pretty close to these five steps when helping a customer clean his or her dock.

3.     Cleaning - Pressure washing the wood is the next step in the process. This is a delicate type of work since most pressure treated wood is soft in nature and splinters very easily. Our goal is to get the entire dock clean while maintaining the integrity of the wood as best as possible. If the dock has hand rails with spindles or ballisters in between, this will prove to be the most time consuming and detailed work on the whole project. Getting in between each of the rails without damaging them takes practice and should really be done by a professional. There is a difference between amateur and professional work here. Another component to cleaning a dock is being able to get in the water and move around the outside, cleaning all the necessary wood pieces you see when bringing the boat in or driving by. This part also separates the do it yourselfer and the professional. Having the right equipment means a world of a difference.

4.     Sanding - The next step is one that most contractors and homeowners tend to miss but is the most important to make sure it is done right. Sanding certain sections of the wood after pressure washing will take off the burs created from the high pressure and prepare the wood to take in the sealer. Let’s be honest, you don’t want a guest to run their hand down the dock railing and get a splinter. That would be awful. Along with the hazard that a lack of sanding produces, it also doesn’t look as nice when the right amount of sanding isn’t done. Attention to the details here will give you the result you are ultimately looking for in a clean and sealed dock.

5.     Sealing - Finally, the sealing. If you haven’t painted your dock then this next step is for you. If your dock already has paint on it, then your next step is to match the paint colors and get to painting. Using an exterior type, acrylic based paint is going to be your best option. If you are replacing the seal or sealing the wood for the first time, our recommendation is to pick up WoodRX Ultra. The cost is a little higher than what you will find at your local hardware store, but the quality is far superior. And the life range of the product is typically 5 years if applied properly. We also recommend going with the natural style of sealer that will give your wood its luster back while providing reflective properties that protect the wood longer. The great thing about this product is its ease of application. Just spray it on and let it do the rest of the work. You will need at least two coats, depending on what was on the wood before.

So now you know the high points on what is involved in professionally pressure washing and sealing your dock. Our recommendation, if done right is to clean and seal your dock once every five years.

Call us at 386.252.4447 or click here to connect with one of our estimators to get your project started.