Our LAST Dock Structural Fiberglass system offers customers stronger, longer lasting docks that are hurricane, rust, corrosion, and rot resistant.
Docks, piers, and beach accesses are the pathways to our favorite places. They are typically built from treated lumber, plastic lumber and sometimes even concrete. These structures exist in a very unforgiving and harsh environment. The constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays as well as the ever presence of water, usually salt water, promotes corrosion and rot that destroys these structures. Throw in a hurricane or flood and it is not hard to understand the high cost of owning a marine structure.
Treated lumber was developed in the 1960’s to replace creosote treated lumber. This was a big step forward for the marine construction industry and the environment. Over the years treated lumber has gone through some major reformulations of the chemicals used to lengthen its life. Copper and arsenic were eliminated to make an eco-friendlier treated lumber in 2016. This new salt based treated lumber formulation offers a shorter life cycle and now is a source of corrosion attacking all metal fasteners. Remember treated lumber is considered a hazardous material and needs to be handled and disposed of properly with due to health risks. Treated lumber is not friendly to our environment and increases waste in our landfills for decades.
As property owners, we have the need to build strong docks that will with stand mother nature’s fury and cost us less. That is our fundamental pursuit at AFS.
LAST Docks are designed with Structural Fiberglass. Structural Fiberglass is a new product to most people, but it was developed in the 1960’s and has been successfully used by government, industrial, and military engineers for decades all around the world. Structural fiberglass offers stronger framing, decking, and piles that will never rot or rust. Best of all it offers a 75+ year life cycle and is friendly to the environment. LAST Docks will always offer the longest life cycle and lowest cost of ownership for your next marine project.
Now that we know the physical properties listed above, we can make some conclusions. Our LAST Dock piles are 3 times the strength of similar wood piles. They will never rot nor will the worms eat them. We through bolt our structural fiberglass frame members to the piles. Our bolt retention strength is 500% to 800% that of a wood connection. It will take a dramatically stronger force for a bolt in Structural Fiberglass to fail versus a new wood connection. Our composite frame is 8 to 10 times stronger than wood, thus it will withstand larger storm forces. We can span longer distances and reduce the number of piles required. Structural Fiberglass is a homogenous product. This means it has no grain or knots to reduce the strength of the member. When we place a live load on a wood 2x10 and push it to failure point, we typically see failure at the bolt hole and splitting along the grain. This is not the case with structural fiberglass. LAST Dock systems are dramatically stronger and will withstand more of Mother Nature’s fury.
Specific gravity (SG) is the comparison of a material’s weight to that of water. The SG of water is 1.00. Any SG less than 1 will float and any SG greater than 1.00 sinks. This may seem trivial, but this is the Holy Grail in the destruction of docks. Many people feel that storm surges from hurricanes pound the docks to pieces and in some cases they are correct. How do you account for the many losses of dock decking and complete dock systems pulled from their piles? When we analyzed the many destructive forces that docks encounter, one force stood alone at the top of the list- floatation. When a dock is covered by water in a storm surge or a flood the wood will float. When this floatation or uplift becomes greater than the pile retention load, the pier will float. This is a major reason for dock losses. The solution for this problem is simple. Build piers from products that do not float! (Concrete / Structural Fiberglass).
Our LAST Docks carry a higher price tag than a wooden dock. Wow, you mean that a fiberglass boat costs more than a wood one, or a fiberglass dock box costs more than a wooden dock box? Boaters know the realistic benefits of buying fiberglass products. Now for the first time you can buy this new technology that will save you maintenance and rebuilding expenses over decades.
Forest Engineers settled on the fiberglass construction due to its increased expected lifespan and improved load capabilities in comparison to treated wood. Specifically, the fiberglass used for the trail boardwalk has a lifespan of 75 years in comparison to the 13 years of treated lumber and is eight to ten times stronger.