Wood vs Aluminum Dock: Cost, Durability and Safety Wood vs Aluminum Dock: Cost, Durability and Safety

Whether you decide to build an aluminum dock or a wood dock depends on many factors. There are many pros and cons about both options, so it makes sense to research the two choices before making a final decision.  


Aluminum is a strong material that is well suited to the outdoors and exposure to water. Aluminum docks are sturdy, simple and light. This is where they have an advantage over wood docks.

Although stronger than wood, steel can rust and corrode over time. You have to maintain aluminum to keep it looking good over the years. Although aluminum docks are very strong, if you install a dock that has not been welded properly, it may break. This can cause a safety hazard for your family.

No matter what type of dock you purchase, external components such as posts, brackets, and fasteners that are attached to the frame can scratch boats and even hurt people. This is something to keep in mind when building or installing a dock.  

For many people, the look of aluminum is also an advantage. If you want to have a dock that looks different than traditional wood docks, aluminum is the way to go.  

One drawback of aluminum is that it costs more than wood initially. Aluminum docks are usually pre-built in a factory, in sections. Once they arrive for installation, they are assembled on site. This type of dock is more expensive upfront, but because it requires less maintenance than a wooden dock, it may actually be less expensive overall.

Wood Docks

Many people prefer wood docks because of the natural beauty and strength they offer. Wood docks are also affordable to install and last for many years. The only problem is that over time, wood has a tendency to rot, warp, splinter, crack and become damaged by insects. These are problems that don't affect aluminum docks. Of course, wood is more vulnerable to water than aluminum.  

Wood is rather soft and gets easily damaged by boats ramming into the side of the dock, as well as extreme weather. Another drawback of wood is that it needs to be repaired on a regular basis. You have to treat the wood with preservatives to prevent problems associated with constant submersion in water. In addition, the preservatives used to treat the wood have been found to be toxic to marine life, and even humans.

Wood docks are quite affordable because wood is a material that is readily available. Wood docks are usually built with treated lumber, and can be rather heavy, especially when they become wet. Regular maintenance can be a hassle as well.

The type of deck you decide to build for your home or cottage depends on a variety of different factors. It's important to weigh cost, durability, and safety when making such a large purchase decision.

Review the facts about each choice until you come to a final decision. No matter what type of dock you choose, make sure it's something you will enjoy for many years to come.

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