How to Tell If Your Dock Needs Repair

A dock is a valuable addition to your lake home but requires regular maintenance to prevent damage. You may need a dock repair if you notice signs of rot, rust, cracks, or creosoting.

Dock repair

Homeowners can often do minor repairs with minimal DIY skills, but more complex issues might require professional help. Contact the experts at Mountain Island Lake Dock Builder to guide you through some common dock repair issues.

Wood rot is one of the biggest factors that determine whether a dock needs to be replaced or repaired. It’s normal for wooden docks to experience some rotting and decay due to the constant exposure to water. If the damage is limited to a small section, it can often be repaired with sanding and treating the affected area with fungicide. However, if the rot has reached the support beams or other structural components of your dock, it is usually necessary to replace them.

When the fungus that causes wood rot is allowed to spread, it will compromise the structure of the dock and pose safety risks for anyone who uses it. The first thing that must be done to prevent the spread of fungus is to remove any existing rot and make sure the damaged areas are dry. This can be accomplished by identifying the source of moisture and fixing it, such as fixing a roof leak or repairing any gutters that are blocked.

Once the damaged areas are dry, the wood can be treated with a fungicide and then filled with a commercially available wood filler. The filler will need time to set, so it’s best to allow the wood to dry completely before proceeding with any repairs or replacements. After the wood is treated, it can be sanded and then painted or stained to match the color of the rest of the wooden decking.

While some cracks in the dock are natural and can be repaired with a good concrete mix, widespread cracks indicate that the dock is nearing the end of its lifespan. It’s important to have a professional inspection done to determine the extent of the cracking in order to decide if the dock can be safely repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

The foundation of the dock is crucial to its stability, so any deterioration of this structure will likely necessitate a replacement rather than a repair. If the foundation is compromised, the entire dock platform could collapse and pose a danger to people using it. The condition of the foundation can be assessed by examining the surrounding soil, looking for any signs of heaving or sinking and also inspecting the supporting pillars that are underwater.


Your dock may be made of wood or it might be constructed of a combination of materials, but regardless of the material, it will likely encounter issues like rot, rust, and loose boards from time to time. When these issues occur, it’s important to hire a professional dock builder to perform dock repair before the problems worsen.

One of the most common problems that affects both wooden and metal docks is rust. Metal doesn’t mix well with water, so any metal parts of your dock will inevitably corrode and lose their structural integrity. If left untreated, rust can cause serious damage to your dock and lead to a collapsed or unsafe structure. To avoid rust, it’s best to regularly inspect your dock for any metal components and perform minor repairs when needed.

When rust takes hold, your dock may need to be completely replaced. A skilled professional can replace rusted metal sections and apply a protective coating to prevent further corrosion in the future. It’s also a good idea to invest in aluminum docks because they don’t rust, but even aluminum isn’t impervious to corrosion.

Another problem that can be caused by rust is warping and cracking. Warping is easy to repair if it’s on non-load bearing areas, but if it happens on load bearing areas, the dock will need to be entirely replaced.

Loose boards are also a safety issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Not only do they create tripping hazards, but they can also fall over and cause injuries to anyone using the dock. If you hear rattling from your dock, it’s a sign that the boards are coming loose and need to be repaired.

Some people worry that a new dock will be expensive, but when a dock starts to wear down to the point where it’s not safe for anyone to use, replacing it is usually a better value-for-money option. Plus, a nice, new dock can add value to your property, so it’s well worth the investment. Just make sure you choose a reputable dock builder who offers a warranty on their work to ensure your investment is protected.

Foundation Deterioration

If your dock’s foundation has begun to deteriorate, this is a serious problem that should be addressed immediately. Moisture that leaks from a deteriorating foundation can cause additional damage and create issues with water infiltration into the home. Signs of a leaking foundation include pooling water in the crawl space or basement, drywall that begins to bow or buckle, musty odors and the presence of pests like cockroaches and centipedes.

While many people blame faulty construction by the original builders, most of the time, a failing foundation is caused by environmental factors. Changing soil conditions, rain and wind can cause cracks and rot to occur, but preventive maintenance and regular inspections can catch these problems before they get out of hand.

A dock’s foundation is just as important as the foundation of a home, and it’s crucial that it stays strong and stable. If you notice a crack in your dock’s foundation, contact a professional right away for inspection and repair.

There are a number of ways that a dock’s foundation can be repaired, depending on the size and severity of the crack. For small cracks, a polyurethane or epoxy filler can be applied and packed into the crack until it is filled in. Once the crack is filled, it can be sanded and painted or stained to match the rest of the dock.

For larger cracks, a pier and beam foundation system can be used to reinforce the structure. This type of foundation elevates the structure off the ground with support posts, which are anchored to concrete piers in the ground. This is a more extensive repair than the typical foundation poured in place, but it can be accomplished using the same tools and techniques.

A faulty foundation can also be repaired by replacing it entirely. This is often the case with major deterioration or damage from hurricanes, but any cracking in a foundation should be a red flag for further investigation and immediate replacement.

Foundation deterioration is often the most dangerous part of any dock, as it means that the entire dock can collapse with the slightest nudge. However, this kind of repair usually involves extensive repairs and rebuilding, so it’s essential to consult with a professional before it’s too late.


If you notice any cracking of the foundation or structure of your dock, it is essential to call a professional right away. Cracking can lead to the deterioration of the entire dock. This can be dangerous and may require replacement of the dock completely. This is why it is important to have a dock inspection regularly, so that any cracks can be repaired quickly.

Wood rot is another common problem that can cause serious problems for dock owners. Fungus in the water can cause dry rot, which causes wood to decay and crumble over time. If the rotting is limited to specific areas, it might be possible to replace the affected boards with new treated wood, but if it is widespread, a full replacement of the dock is necessary.

It is also crucial to look for signs of corrosion on metal components in the dock. If these metal sections are rusting, they will need to be replaced quickly to avoid deterioration and safety concerns. This is especially true if the rusting is in the form of large cracks, holes, or other structural weakening of the dock.

Another sign that your dock is in need of repair is if it’s creaking or wobbling. This is a sign that the foundation of your dock is shifting, which can cause damage to other parts of the dock. This is usually caused by storms or other environmental factors, so it’s essential to check the foundation regularly.

Creaking and wagging are two of the most common signs that your dock is in need of repair. They are a sign that the foundation of your dock needs to be replaced, or that it is unstable and unsafe for boats to enter. This is often a sign that it is time to replace the dock completely.

It is essential to keep your dock in good condition, as it can add value to your home and is also a valuable amenity for your guests to use. It is essential to inspect it regularly for cracks, rot, and other issues, and get them repaired as soon as you see them. This will keep your dock safe and in a better condition for longer, and allow you to enjoy it more.