Docks, piers and beach accesses are the highways we use to visit many of natures real treasures. They allow us easy access to creeks, rivers, beaches and more. The environment that these structures exist in can be very unforgiving. Even on the best of days the sun is attacking the lumber with UV rays. The tide or river water flow is moistening the lumber so that it can rot or decompose. Then on some of the worst days, a hurricane, tropical storm or flood will test the engineering limits of the structure. All of these environmental hazards make for a short life on what is a very costly dock or pier. “There has got to be a better way to build a Dock!”
A few years ago we experienced first hand in Murrells Inlet, SC how Hurricane Matthew could destroy almost every dock due to its strong and tall storm surge. It did not matter much if the dock was 12 years old or if it was built last month. As we inspected the damage there were some real problems exposed in current dock construction methods.
Then the Big Issue HIT:
That is a huge problem for wooden docks.
The first issue that we solved is the floating issue. When a storm surge or flooding water covers a pier or dock, the wood structure is now trying to float. With the wave or water flow forces in play, the structure is being shaken and under a major uplift force to float. So why not build a structure that will not float? Fiberglass FRP is heavier than water so it sinks!
The next issue was to address the decaying wood. Most docks utilize treated lumber for framing and decking. Typical life spans are in the 12 year time frame. Worst of all the latest technology for treated lumber is heavily laden with salts. This salt works well to defend rot but has a corrosive affect on the fasteners. The salt will eat galvanized and stainless steel nails and screws. This corrosion of the fasteners dramatically shortens the life and strength of the dock. The treated lumber industry has not been able to solve this problem.
The last wood related issue we noticed is that the strength of a wood member was relative to the amount and placement of knots and wood grain. Docks would be much stronger if a better grade of lumber was employed. Our solution to the decaying lumber is FRP. FRP will not rot under even the wettest of climates. Fiberglass has no grain pattern or knots thus allowing us to build a stronger frame.
Best of all, structural fiberglass offers a typical life expectancy of 100+ years. Our solution to fight fastener corrosion was to incorporate #316 Stainless steel fasteners into our LAST Dock. The #316 stainless is the best marine grade stainless steel in the market.
The final part of the puzzle was designing an FRP pile system that would offer higher pull out resistance. We have installed these piles and are now testing our pile barb solution on our FRP piles. NO ROT. NO Worms and up to 10 times the pull out strength of a similar size wood pile.
Our LAST Dock system is componentized to allow for optimal design and strength for you next dock. The installation is typically reduced by 50% and on some projects even more. Scrap and material loss is a minimum. FRP is a noted Green Building product and will not harm the environment. The anti-skid UV coating has a life expectancy of 15+ years and meets ADA requirements for non-skid. (We are not slippery when wet!)
Best of all our LAST Dock system offers the lowest life cycle cost of any dock system in today’s market. The long life span, low maintenance expense and Hurricane resistance make the LAST Dock system the right choice for your dock project.
We have seen fiberglass as the best solution for rotting wood in our boats. We own fiberglass dock boxes. So now we have the opportunity to utilize the benefits of FRP to solve the issues with a wooden dock.
“We are not interested in selling you your next dock but we would rather help you with your LAST Dock!”