Wood vs. Aluminum Boat Docks: Which is Best for Okanagan Lake?
If you’re lucky enough to live in the Okanagan, you know it’s one of the most beautiful places in Canada. Many people attribute that to one thing: Okanagan Lake. When the sun glints across the blue water during the summer season, tourists from all over Canada and beyond flock to the Okanagan valley, eager to enjoy the spectacular sunshine, cool water, and amazing views.
And if you’re among those lucky enough to own a home along the shores of this beautiful lake, you may have found yourself asking the same question we hear over and over again: Is a wooden dock or an aluminum dock better for Okanagan Lake?
A brief look at Okanagan Lake
Aside from the high-water event that took place a few years ago, Okanagan Lake doesn’t flood very often. At Shoreline, we’ve been monitoring lake levels daily for roughly forty years. We do this to ensure our docks are built to withstand damage caused by these infrequent events. We also do this to help our clients prepare accordingly before these events occur.
By monitoring and recording lake activity daily, we’ve put ourselves in a position to make building decisions tailored to Okanagan Lake specifically.
An aluminum dock vs. a wood dock
When it comes to the structure of the dock, we almost always recommend aluminum. It’s durable, strong and lasts for decades. It’s also lightweight, about three times stronger than a wooden frame, and won’t warp or twist over the years. Aluminum frames also last for thirty to fifty years with proper maintenance.
We also use locally manufactured aluminum dock sections in our installs. We do this to support local businesses and ensure the Okanagan economy continues to thrive. It’s also a selling point for many of our customers as they love to support local as much as we do.
Decking the frame
When it comes to decking the frame, however, the wood decking debate holds a little more water.
Wood decking is great for those that want to bring natural elements into their dock design. At Shoreline, we typically install treated Douglas Fir decking. It’s all natural and truly stunning. With proper maintenance and servicing, these docks can last for 10 – 15 years.
For something more durable and long-lasting, we also offer composite decking. This type of decking has a lifespan of about 20 years with proper care.
We offer two different kinds of composite decking from MoistureShield:
- 1. The Vantage Collection is a step above pressure treated lumber, though it can look really similar. These uncapped composite boards reduce the need for staining, painting and frequent repairs. They’re also resistant to moisture, rot and warping when properly maintained.
- 2. The Vision Collection consists of capped wood composite boards that’s resistant to scratches, stains and damage. They come in a variety of different colour options and reflect the look of hardwood. They also stay cool when the Okanagan sun is at its hottest.
So are aluminum or wood docks better?
It basically all comes down to personal preference. While we still strongly recommend aluminum frames for a variety of reasons, the choice ultimately belongs with the homeowner. Though wood docks are more affordable, aluminum docks are much more durable.