How to Build a Dock

Pile cap

If you’re one of the many watercraft owners in the United States, it’s likely that you have put a great deal of thought into deciding what type of dock you should build. What material should you use? What style should it be built in? What dock building hardware will work best? And how will you create storage space for life jackets and other necessary items? To answer these questions, read on for tips and tricks to pick the best dock for your needs.

  1. Style– Traditional docks use posts to ground them on the floor of the body of water. However, if the water is deeper than eight feet or the dock is being built on a soft river bed, it may be preferable to use a floating dock. Floating docks typically use timber decking and can be anchored in a variety of ways. They are often prized for their ability to rise and fall with the lake, often allowing boaters to be five to six feet closer to their crafts. Moreover, they can be customized with a variety of features, such as floating dock ladders. Some floating docks, such as the VersaDock models, can even be left in the water all winter, saving time and money.
  2. Material– Over the years, a number of different types of materials have been used to build docks, including plastics, concrete, fiberglass, and wood/plastic composites. While wood is the most common choice for floating docks, metals are becoming increasingly common in dock fabrication, with the most popular choices including aluminum, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Whereas wooden docks require frequent repairs and must be regularly treated with wood preservatives to prevent deterioration, metals like aluminum are lightweight and naturally resistant to corrosion. Because aluminum produces a surface layer of oxide when it interacts with oxygen, the material constantly protects itself from further degradation without any maintenance from the dock owner.
  3. Dock Building Hardware– Dock building hardware refers to the various metal pieces that help connect the boards and other components of a dock. They can be used to help create tying spaces for polystyrene dock bumpers and even attach new segments of decking to an existing dock. Because the pieces required will typically depend on the style of deck you choose, it is often recommended that people building docks use design plans to determine which pieces to use and how to use them.
  4. Storage– Every dock needs basic storage space to help store the basic necessities, including life jackets, water gear, and fishing equipment. Certain styles of docks can be built to include structures to provide this storage. However, most watercraft owners prefer dock boxes: typically made of fiberglass or plastic, dock boxes are a convenient way to store your belongings while protecting them from the elements. Fiberglass dock boxes are especially practical in this area, as they do not warp or become discolored in the sunlight, as some of the plastic versions do. Dock boxes come in a variety of styles and sizes, helping you find the best product to store your possessions.

Building a dock involves a lot of choices, but by making the right ones, you will have a product you and your family will enjoy for many years to come. Consider how much work you are willing to put into your structure, the amount of maintenance you will be willing to put in. Additionally, consider what will work best for your watercraft. With these questions in mind, deciding on how to build your dock should be an easy task.

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