Beginners Guide: Repairing vs. Replacing a Dock

Repairing vs. Replacing a Dock

Information on how to evaluate the condition of your dock

If you live along the shore, you know that a dock is an essential aspect of a water-front property. Unfortunately, as with most things, the decking has a lifespan of its own – much like the roof of your house, your car, or even appliances. Of course, if maintained properly, there are ways in which you’re able to extend your dock’s lifespan (See “How Long Will My Dock Last?”). This brief article will discuss what to consider when looking to repair or replace a dock.


As for maintenance, there are minor repairs that a homeowner will be able to handle on his/her own. It costs much less than replacing, and it’s a fun little project to pass some time. However, it’s important that these repairs are done the correct way. If not, the cost may end up being significantly greater than replacing the entire dock itself. Common “minor repairs,” are replacing a ladder, and sanding the surface of the deck when splinters appear.

It’s not always a walk in the park though … certain weather conditions take a toll on boat docks exposing them to a great amount of pressure (wind, water, etc.). Over the years, these forces of nature strain and weaken the pilings and cables that support the dock. Marine life may deteriorate the wood on the dock platform and decking boards. Extreme sun exposure will wear down bumpers and rails, reducing their ability to protect the boat when it bumps into the dock. The following repairs are a bit more labor intensive, and will require the help of a professional…

  • Pilings and support cables under the water
  • Dock bumpers and rusty nails
  • Decking
  • Floats
  • Hardware
  • Boat Lifts


Time is an important factor to consider when thinking about repairing or replacing a dock. If repairing the dock will only leave you with a few more years, it may be smart to replace the dock entirely. This will not only save you money in the long run, but will aid in time as well. Here are a few of the most common replacements:

  • Cracks and warps in the decking may be a sign of structural damage. Depending on where and how much, will determine the need to repair or replace.
  • On the other hand, deterioration is an absolute replacement. No questions asked.
  • Rust can be just as dangerous. Again, the severity/how much there is, will determine the need to repair or replace.
  • Rotting wood may be a sign to replace the decking.
  • Check the pilings for cracks and see how they sit in the ground. These are essential to the overall dock and may weaken over time, leaving them unsafe to support the dock and even worse, the people.

As with anything worth value, it’s important to properly care for and maintain your dock. It’s a special item to have and is there for making memories. Appropriate care/routine maintenance will leave you with a lifetime of fun – guaranteed! Give us at Carolina Dock & Marine a call if you need assistance with any of your potential repairs/replacements. We’re always here to help! (843) 557-1234.