Fix Your Foundation Before It’s Too Late

Planning Your Dock

by Howard Barnett

Building a dock isn't much different than building a deck, but obviously, there are more things to consider when you are building on water rather than land. Here are five important aspects to think about before you call a dock construction contractor.

Choose A Dock Shape

A dock that juts out straight into the water and simply ends isn't as stable as one that has appendages. You want your design to be either T or L-shaped, so it is more stable. An extra pier or two at the end will prevent the dock from upheaval. This is especially important in cold climate where the water freezes or ice shoves occur.

Insist On High-Quality Hardware

Everyone enjoys saving money, but the hardware need for your deck construction isn't an area you want to scrimp on. The hardware should be made of steel and then hot dip galvanized after manufacturing. This is the process of dipping the steel in molten zinc for additional corrosion protection. The hardware gauge depends on how much of a current the body of water it is be built on has. For example, you won't need as thick a gauge on a small, inland lake as you would on a river or larger body of water.

Incorporate Bumpers Into Your Design

Docks with bumpers are easier to dock a boat at, and your boat hull will be better protected. Dock bumpers will also help protect the integrity of your dock's pilings. Dock bumpers are made of rubber, plastic, foam, or inflatable materials. Sandbags can also be used if you are on a tight budget.

Check Your Building Codes First

Some municipalities won't have any codes that dictate how big or how your dock is constructed, but that will be the exception rather than the rule. Building codes may require you limit the total dock square footage. The codes may require you use cement pilings rather than pressure treated lumber. Additionally, the body of water itself may impose limitations, such as the dock you built may require removal at the start of the winter season each year. Knowing the rules and regulations that govern you before construction begins will save the hassles of unexpected surprises and an increased budget.

Choose A Licensed And Insured Contractor

You don't want to hire just anyone to build your dock. Instead, you should a company that has not only experience in dock building but also has the necessary insurance. This will protect you should anything go wrong.