How to Repair a Dock

Dock repair is an essential maintenance task for anyone who owns waterfront property in Fort Lauderdale. Over time, docks can become damaged due to harsh weather conditions, wear and tear, and general aging. In this article, we will discuss how to repair a dock in Fort Lauderdale, from inspecting and assessing the damage to carrying out the repair process and maintaining a functional dock for years to come.

Assessing the Damage

  1. Walk the length of the dock
  • Take a slow and careful walk along the length of the dock, examining it for any visible damage.
  • Check for loose boards, cracks, or any areas that feel soft or spongy underfoot.
  • Look for any signs of wear and tear, such as peeling paint, rust, or rotting wood.
  1. Inspect the supports and pilings
  • Check the support beams, pilings, and crossbars for any signs of damage.
  • Look for any areas where the wood may be splitting or cracking.
  • Evaluate the condition of the underwater pilings for any signs of damage or decay.
  1. Determine the extent of the damage
  • Consider the type and extent of the damage to determine if it is repairable or if the dock needs to be replaced.
  • Evaluate the structural integrity of the dock to determine if it is safe to use.
  • Consider any environmental factors, such as storm damage or exposure to the sun, that may have caused the damage.
  1. Consult with a professional
  • If you are unsure about the extent of the damage, it’s best to consult with a professional.
  • A dock repair specialist can evaluate the damage and provide recommendations on the necessary repairs or replacements.
  • They can also advise on any necessary permits or approvals needed for repairs or replacement.

Gathering Materials and Tools

  1. Determine the necessary materials and tools
  • Based on the damage assessment, make a list of the necessary materials and tools for the repair.
  • Consider the type and extent of the damage to determine the necessary lumber, screws, bolts, and other materials.
  • Determine if any special tools or equipment are required, such as a circular saw or a drill.
  1. Purchase high-quality materials
  • Choose high-quality materials to ensure the repairs are effective and long-lasting.
  • Select lumber that is durable and resistant to weather and water damage.
  • Choose screws and bolts that are corrosion-resistant and appropriate for outdoor use.
  1. Identify the type of wood used for the dock
  • If you’re unsure of the type of wood used for the dock, take a small sample to your local hardware store or lumber yard for identification.
  • It’s important to use the same type of wood for the repairs to ensure consistency in color and texture.
  • If the original wood is no longer available, choose a similar type of wood that closely matches the original.
  1. Purchase extra materials
  • It’s always a good idea to purchase extra materials to have on hand in case additional repairs are needed.
  • Buy extra lumber, screws, bolts, and other materials to have available in case of unexpected damage or future repairs.
  1. Gather necessary tools
  • Collect all the necessary tools for the repair, such as a circular saw, drill, hammer, and screwdriver.
  • Ensure that all tools are in good working condition and have the necessary attachments and accessories.
  • Consider using safety equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask, to protect yourself while working on the dock.

Repairing the Dock

Now that you have assessed the damage and gathered the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start repairing the dock. Depending on the type of damage, the repairs may vary. Here are some common types of damage and how to repair them:

Replacing Boards

If you notice any loose or rotten boards, they’ll need to be replaced. Begin by removing the damaged boards with a pry bar or saw. Once the boards are removed, measure the size of the opening and cut a new board to fit. Use screws to secure the new board in place.

Reinforcing Pilings

If the pilings are damaged or unstable, they’ll need to be reinforced. Begin by attaching a metal bracket to the piling using lag bolts. Cut a new piece of lumber to fit between the bracket and the dock. Secure the new lumber to the bracket using lag bolts.

Fixing Cracks

If you notice any cracks in the dock, they’ll need to be filled to prevent further damage. Begin by cleaning the area around the crack with a wire brush. Fill the crack with an epoxy filler, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Sand the area smooth once the epoxy has cured.

It’s essential to take safety precautions when repairing a dock. Wear protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat. If you’re working with a partner, make sure you communicate effectively to avoid accidents.

Preventative Maintenance

Now that your dock is repaired, it’s essential to practice preventative maintenance to avoid future damage. Here are some tips for maintaining your dock:


Cleaning your dock regularly can help prevent damage caused by debris and saltwater. Use a pressure washer or a scrub brush to remove any dirt or grime buildup. You can also use a solution of water and vinegar to clean the wood.


After storms or heavy use, inspect your dock for any signs of damage. Look for loose boards, cracks, and signs of rot. Address any issues as soon as possible to avoid further damage.


To protect the wood from the elements, consider sealing it with a water-repellent sealant. This will help prevent water damage and extend the life of your dock.

Professional Maintenance

While preventative maintenance can help prolong the life of your dock, there may come a time when you need to call in a professional for more extensive repairs or maintenance. A professional can assess the condition of your dock and recommend the necessary repairs or maintenance. Hollywood Marine Construction can assist with any dock repair in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and everyplace between them in southeastern Florida. Call us today if you don’t want to handle the job yourself.


Repairing a dock in Fort Lauderdale is essential to ensure it remains safe and functional. Assessing the damage, gathering materials and tools, and repairing the dock are crucial steps in the process. Additionally, practicing preventative maintenance can help prolong the life of your dock and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Remember to wear protective gear and take safety precautions when repairing your dock. If you’re unsure of how to make the necessary repairs or feel uncomfortable doing so, consider calling in a professional. By following these steps, you can enjoy your dock for years to come.

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