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HOUSE & DOCK
New Technology in Dock Pilings

by Eric Stein

 

New Technology Saves Docks and Piers from Winter Damage

 

During the seasonal lull of fall and winter, many waterfront property owners have new docks built or have their existing docks repaired. These property owners often tend to believe that times of highest use – typically the summer - are the times of highest damage to their docks and piers and that the low season is merely a time to effect repairs. In fact, it is times of temperature change and harsh seasonal elements which frequently do the most damage.

 

Harsh winter conditions can take a serious toll on docks and piers. Once ice forms around the pilings it forms a bond with the wood, gripping and then lifting the piles out of the ground. It is not uncommon for dock owners to find their docks some inches higher in the spring than they were in the fall. For some lakehome owners, this can represent a serious problem.

 

In many environments, a commonly used solution to winter ice troubles is a device called a “bubbler”. Bubblers work by releasing a constant stream of bubbles into the water to keep ice from forming around pilings – this is accomplished by disrupting the surface of the water and thereby reducing the ability of ice crystals to form. Bubblers have some significant drawbacks, however. They are electrical devices which can break down and they cost money to operate day and night for the entire winter season. In addition, bubblers generally cease functioning once the temperature falls more than a few degrees below the freezing point – leaving the dock or pier subject to the formation of ice. Some other dock owners use various water or pile heating mechanisms to reduce ice formation – once again, these are typically electrical devices which are expensive to operate and prone to breakdown.

 

Polymer-Covered Timber Doesn’t Allow Ice to Grip Dock Pilings

One solution available to help deal with these lifting problems is offered by Atlanta-based Crane Materials International. TimberGuard - a polymer-encased timber product - is a relatively inexpensive answer to the troubles that winter can cause for docks and piers. The benefit offered by TimberGuard is that it drastically reduces the ability of ice to grip the piles through the use of a proprietary vinyl polymer-based coating that significantly reduces the surface friction of the piling. This polymer-encasement confers significant advantages over some other solutions often used to reduce ice formation.

 

Polymer encased timber solutions like TimberGuard offer property owners a way to significantly reduce the effects of the elements on their docks and piers without resorting to costly and break-down prone electrical devices like “bubblers”. Polymer-encased timber not only resists ice in the water, but is also highly resistant to ultraviolet rays and splintering as well. UV rays and splintering are responsible for the fading and cracking that normal docks and piers succumb to – typically in just a few short years. Polymer-encased timber solutions, by virtue of their protective covering, typically retain their aesthetic qualities for many years longer than plain wood.

 

Ultimately, choosing polymer-encased timber products can help you along the way towards insuring that your dock or pier will resist the elements and also retain a great aesthetic appearance year after year.

 

For more information about polymer-encased timber products please visit www.protectedtimber.com.

 

 


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