The dock is the very essence of a great cottage waterfront. Ensuring it remains that way for the next generation starts with intelligent planning and looking ahead.
When installing a steel dock, you should consider a structure that can last three to four decades, or more, rather than a handful of years, says Philipp Spoerndli of Nordcap Steel Docks.
“If you intend to expand your waterfront structures in the future, it’s smart to build in all the possible options while planning your new steel dock,” he says.
An expert in designing and building steel docks that stand the test of time, Philipp says it’s important to consider that the dock and boathouse may eventually need to accommodate a longer boat or wider vessel like a pontoon boat.
Other considerations for potential additions include additional slips or a boat port. The design should ensure there is best access to an upper sun deck. And you should consider future electrical requirements as well, which will allow you to install a boat lift, a de-icer, or shore power.
Should your boathouse also require a gravity-drain plumbing system, the ideal approach would be to rough in the required lines prior to installing planks on the dock.
Although steel docks are relatively low maintenance, there are ways to minimize long term maintenance in the face of changing weather patterns in Muskoka.
These include using insulation for the piles in shallow water rather than heat lines; choosing battered piles rather than X-bases that may suffer ice damage; and other structural features Nordcap will build into the original design to ensure longevity and safeguard against ice damage.
“But there’s no doubt the most important feature of any long-lasting steel dock is the submersion-approved epoxy coating for all of the steelwork,” explains Philipp. If applied properly in a 10 mill thickness, it can add more than 20 years to the life of a steel dock.
Keeping your finished dock looking great above the water for almost as long as the foundation lasts means using excellent materials when building the structure.
“If you use wood deck boards, using a quality oil helps repel water and guards against the severe weather conditions in the off-season.”
With over 30 years experience as a steel dock builder in Muskoka, Phillip says today there are several synthetic lumber solutions available to maximize the longevity of your steel dock above the water line. Some of these products even have a lifetime warranty, virtually eliminating the need for maintenance and complementing the strength and durability of Nordcap steel docks.
Nordcap has a reputation for ingenuity, strength, and durability. That’s not by accident: it’s by design.
Philipp is constantly staying on top of new developments in the industry, looking for materials and processes that will lengthen the lifespan of the docks even further.
With the experience gained over the past 30 years, Phillip has been able to assess work that was done in the 1990s, improving on components and processes that weren’t successful to ensure that every structure his team builds is rock solid.
“In a time where rising costs are becoming challenging to control, we remain committed to top quality workmanship and using prime materials to ensure your steel dock remains rock solid for years to come.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI
PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL