05 Jan

Deck panels vs. traditional deck boards — 5 reasons to use deck panels

BoardSafe’s piers, floating docks, and other marina and rowing center applications, are built with the finest-quality materials (Click here to read the article about high quality marina construction materials). Additionally, BoardSafe developed innovative ways to manufacture and install floating docks, gangways, and piers. Below is a glimpse into one of those proprietary processes that make BoardSafe the premier floating aluminum dock manufacturer in the United States.

BoardSafe uses NyloDeck synthetic deck boards. This decking, made of recycled carpet fiber (fiberglass), is among the strongest in the synthetic lumber industry, and one of the few deck boards that can be framed 16” on center. The fiberglass material has no wood flour and is therefore mold- and mildew-resistant, as well as ground-rated. Additionally, it is slip-resistant and offered in numerous color options to fit the aesthetic goals of your project. Because it is made of recycled materials, it is one of the most ecologically-friendly products on the market.

To fasten the NyloDeck decking, BoardSafe uses the TimberStrong fastening system. This hidden fastening system was developed at BoardSafe’s sister company, TimberStrong, to meet the need of a superior hidden fastening system for both decking strength and speed of installation. Following are the five reasons that deck panels are superior to installing, replacing, and using single deck boards’

Faster installation
One of the first steps in the BoardSafe manufacturing process is to cut the NyloDeck boards to the size specifications of the project. The boards are then loaded into a boring machine to drill holes in the sides of the deck boards. These holes are strategically located to place the hidden fasteners that connect the deck boards to one another. The deck boards are then laid flat, fasteners are inserted, and the boards snap together. The fasteners have spacers implemented into their design to ensure they are properly placed and spaced. After a series of four and up to twelve deck boards are fastened to each other, the deck panel is made. The deck panels are then fastened to the aluminum frame of the floating dock or pier. In some cases, the deck panels are prepared for shipping so they can be installed on-site.

Pictured below: TimberStrong fastener


Reduced costs
In studies performed by BoardSafe, deck panel manufacturing and installation was found to be up to four times faster than performing the same process board-by-board. This dramatically reduces the labor costs, whether at the BoardSafe facilities, on-site with the BoardSafe installation team, or with an independent marina contractor. This not only reduces the overall cost of the residential, commercial, or rowing center marina project, it also reduces the amount of time that workers and equipment are on-site for the installation. This is a further reduction of cost, as well as a decreased impact on the natural habitat and surrounding area. Additionally, because the TimberStrong system uses its own fasteners, the dock or pier will require up to 50% fewer fasteners and less hardware to secure the decking, offering a further reduction in material costs.

Options for sizing, replacement, spacing, and more
The TimberStrong fastener comes in three spacing options: ¼”, ⅜”, and ½” sizes, to accommodate the physical and aesthetic needs of a project. This is a minor detail for some but can be a major concern for the surrounding habitat and the need to allow sunlight through the dock or pier to the habitat below. While BoardSafe encourages the use of NyloBoard decking, the fasteners can be used with any composite or natural wood decking.

Click to watch deck panel video

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The deck panels can be up to 12 feet wide, and panels can be notched and cut to accommodate marina and rowing center features. This is often necessary with high-end residential docks and commercial marinas and areas around the piling guides.

No face nailing
The deck panels are fastened from the side and require no face nailing. This eliminates the movement of screws and nail pops that rise up above the deck surface and create a tripping hazard. The lateral fastening of the boards and deck panel systems also reduces the likelihood of a board lifting or protruding above the deck surface to create another hazard. The end product is a clean and sharp-looking pier or dock that is safe. These characteristics make all of BoardSafe’s products compliant with ADA requirements and make for great adaptive recreation projects. BoardSafe developed and manufacturers numerous adaptive and ADA fishing piers, boat launches, kayak launches, and floating docks.

Ecologically friendly
BoardSafe products are ecologically friendly. BoardSafe management understands the need to access and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining the ecology and minimizing the impact on the habitat. The use of the recycled materials that go into NyloBoard, the long-term durability of all the projects, and the decreased time on-site for installation, all support responsible and sustainable recreation.

If you are a homeowner or manage a rowing center or marina, or have another commercial marine project, and would like to discuss your project with the team at BoardSafe, call 610-899-0286. BoardSafe works on projects located on lakes, rivers, marshes, ocean frontage, and other marine and coastal areas on the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic states, New England, New Jersey shore, the Midwest, Carolinas, Outer Banks, Florida, and anywhere else we are needed. We also handle all shipping details! Whether you are replacing docks, building a new marina, rowing center, or residential dock, BoardSafe can help you.

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