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The Basics of Dock Building

A dock allows you to park your boat when not in use, and it can serve as a place for relaxing and water activities. To make your dock building project successful, it’s important to understand the basics of the process.

Dock Building

Ideally, the dock should be built on a flat and sandy lake bed with adequate water depths. The dock should also be well-sheltered from winds and water currents. Contact Lake Wylie Dock Builder for professional help.

When planning a dock, it is important to consider the location. Ideally, it should be located at a point that is easily accessible, safe and deep enough for boats. In addition, the dock should be situated in a place where it will not interfere with boat traffic or other activities on the water. It should also be located in a place that is easy to navigate and has a good view of the ocean.

Loading docks should be designed to be as safe as possible, and special care must be taken to prevent accidents. Various types of accidents can occur in loading docks, including spills and leaks; equipment that is not properly secured; containers, packaging and tools that are not kept out of circulation paths; and forklifts that are not driven according to safety rules.

Ideally, the entrance to the loading dock should be at the same level as the height of the lorry, and slightly separated from the building so that rainwater can drain away. However, this type of access can pose a danger to the safety of the warehouse if the lorry and trailer are withdrawn from the entry too quickly: the upper part of the trailer may hit the walls of the building.

For this reason, loading docks should be planned with a maximum water level in mind, using historical records for lakes and natural stone outcroppings for smaller bodies of water. This will allow for the dock to be constructed in the best location, while avoiding unnecessary submergence. The height of the dock should be designed to meet the requirements of various lorries. For example, if the dock will be used for refrigerated vehicles, it should be built to accommodate cradles that are higher or lower than those of other lorries.


The pilings that anchor a dock to the water’s edge are crucial for its stability and longevity. The ideal piling depth depends on a number of factors, including soil type and structure loading. Getting it wrong can lead to structural instability or even collapse. This is why professional piling analysis is critical for new pier and dock construction.

Dock pilings are generally made from wood, concrete, steel, or PVC. Wood piles are popular because they are easily sourced and affordable. However, they can be prone to rot and marine borers. PVC piles, on the other hand, are resistant to both rot and corrosion. They can also be made into different shapes and sizes. Concrete piles are also durable and are less prone to bending due to heavy tides.

Before constructing a dock, it is important to clear the area of any obstructions. It is also important to mark the maximum water line, which can vary depending on the weather and season. Using a water jet can help you to “pre-jet” the site for your dock pilings, which helps them to quickly sink in and set.

Pilings are usually driven 10 to 30 feet down into the soil to ensure that they are at the right depth. This is important because it ensures that the dock will be able to withstand the weight of the structure, as well as any tidal surges. Getting the depth incorrect can result in a number of problems, from structural instability to outright collapse.

To make sure that your pier or dock is safe and sturdy, it’s a good idea to use heavy duty galvanized fastening hardware. It’s best to buy it from a marine supplier, as they will have American made hardware that is properly dipped.


When designing a dock, the decking will be a big factor in determining the overall look and functionality. There are many options for decking, from natural woods to composite and vinyl. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Wood is a traditional choice and offers a natural, classic look to your boat dock. However, it can be a poor option if your lake is very salty as the water can quickly damage the wood. Additionally, wood requires yearly staining and frequent replacement of rotted planks.

A more modern choice is composite decking which is a combination of wood fibers and polymer. This material is very visually appealing and offers a wide variety of textures, colors and finishes. However, composite is also very heavy which can cause issues during installation and if the dock is floating on the water. Additionally, composites can retain moisture which can lead to rotting and warping.

Another popular choice is a high-quality exotic hardwood like Ipe, Cumaru or Garapa. Although this is more expensive than a pressure-treated Pine dock, it will last far longer and require minimal structural maintenance. Hardwoods are also very cool to the touch, so they’ll be much safer for children and pets when being used barefoot.

Lastly, aluminum is another great option for a maintenance-free dock surface. Light-colored powder-coated aluminum is durable, and its unique profile prevents heat build-up while allowing air to flow freely. This is the best option if you intend to use your dock for watersports and want to stay cool while doing so. Unlike the other options, it does not contain any harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment.


Choosing the right materials to build your boat dock is crucial for both longevity and aesthetics. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to suit your needs. For example, wooden docks crafted from cedar, ipe, and other tropical hardwoods offer natural aesthetics while remaining durable and long-lasting. Meanwhile, prefab wood dock kits are manufactured in a controlled setting and require less energy than on-site construction, making them more environmentally friendly.

Using concrete as your dock foundation offers a strong, stable support platform. In addition, it’s resistant to the effects of water, ensuring your dock is resilient against damage from storms and day-to-day wear and tear. Alternatively, you can opt for metals like stainless steel, which are a good choice for commercial marinas and other high-traffic docks because they’re extremely durable and resistant to corrosion.

Another common material used in dock construction is fiberglass, which is a man-made, lightweight material. This material is a favorite among lake owners because it’s easy to work with and doesn’t require any special tools. Additionally, it’s durable and requires minimal maintenance because it can resist rot, mildew, mold, and insects that typically eat away at other wood materials.

Lastly, you can also choose to go with wood that’s been treated with preservatives, such as Southern Yellow Pine. This wood has been treated using an eco-friendly process that ensures it complies with modern ecological standards and offers maximum durability for wet environments. This is a great option if you’re looking for a quality wood dock that’s affordable and will last in wet conditions.


A dock is a structure that provides access to boats and water vehicles. They can be built in any shape or size, and are often used for recreational purposes such as swimming, fishing and diving. The first step in the process of dock building is to choose a location for the dock. Then, the contractors should prepare the site by clearing it of rocks and debris. They should also install the pilings, which are vertical supports that hold up the dock. They can be installed by hand or using a pile driver. Once the pilings are in place, the deck can be constructed.

The height of the dock should be determined by assessing the maximum lake water level and considering local weather patterns. If the lake bed is rocky or has a steep drop in water depth, a floating dock may be more appropriate. It is important to determine the height of the trucks that will be servicing the dock, and the docks should be designed accordingly.

Loading docks should be designed with a decline approach to the building to allow for truck loading and unloading operations without inhibiting the positioning of trailers. If a dock does not incorporate this feature, it can result in severe impact forces on the building walls and difficulty achieving effective trailer seals.

It is advisable to check with the local government for regulations pertaining to dock building and any special requirements that may be in place. This information can help prevent any unexpected complications that could impede the construction of a new dock. If a permit is required, it should be filed and obtained before the construction begins.