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How to Get Started in Dock Building

Whether you need to replace an existing dock or are thinking about installing a new one, there are many resources available to help you get started. These range from parts and building plans to folks who will help you design and build a dock on-site.


When you decide to work with a local contractor, they should be familiar with the water conditions in your area. These include sand, silt, rock, clay, and vegetation. Contact Lake Norman Dock Builder for professional help.

There are a wide variety of materials used in dock building, each with unique advantages and considerations. The choice of material can impact everything from the overall appearance of the dock to its ability to stand up to the harsh conditions and water exposure that often accompany lake properties.

One of the most common dock materials is Southern Yellow Pine. This type of wood is favored for its strength and durability, as well as its affordability. It is also treated with preservatives to enhance its longevity in wet environments. These treatments help protect the wood against rot, parasites, and other threats that can damage or destroy it over time.

Another popular option for a dock is natural hardwoods or pressure-treated lumber. Both of these materials offer a combination of beauty and strength, as well as the versatility to match any property’s aesthetic. They are ideal for decking, and their construction provides a strong and sturdy surface that is easy to clean and maintain. However, they may not be suitable for the foundation of a dock because they are less resistant to marine pests and harsh weather conditions.

If a property wants a more durable dock structure, they may choose to use steel. This material is extremely strong and can support a large number of people. It is ideal for larger docks or even floating platforms. It can withstand the harshest environmental conditions and is more resilient to scrapes and collisions than other docks. It also has the added benefit of being able to be recycled at the end of its lifespan.

While the primary purpose of a dock is to serve as a bridge between land and water, it can also be used for other purposes. For example, many people use their docks as a place to exercise and do other physical activities. As such, it is important to plan your dock designs accordingly.

Make sure your dock is safe to use by incorporating adequate safety railings. In addition, ensure the design of your dock minimizes disruption to the surrounding environment and wildlife. Also, be mindful of the changing water levels and tides. These factors can affect the stability of your dock and cause it to move or shift. In this case, you may need to reinforce your dock with additional supports. It’s also a good idea to store your dock during the winter. This will prevent it from causing harm to the surrounding ecosystem and allow the surrounding wildlife to continue to thrive.


A dock is a structure that is used to anchor boats and connect land and water. It can be either a fixed or floating dock. A fixed dock is a concrete or wood structure that is anchored to the bottom of the body of water. A floating dock uses steel tubes, barrels or air chambers to float on fluctuating water. Both types of docks have advantages and disadvantages. A fixed dock is more sturdy, while a floating one is easier to move.

The size, shape and location of a dock should be carefully considered before it is built. The type of boat that will be moored, local laws and environmental considerations will affect the design. The type of material used for the construction is also important. Aluminum is a popular option because it is durable and easy to maintain. Wood is another common choice because it provides a warm and natural look.

Docks can be designed in many different shapes, from a straight line to L or H-shaped extensions. These can provide additional protection from wind and wave action, especially if the dock is located near other structures or homes. It is also helpful to consider adding “fingers” or end sections to long docks for stability. This can help protect the dock from buffeting winds and waves created by passing boats.

Loading docks can be designed to accommodate trucks of various sizes. This allows companies to efficiently manage inventory and synchronize transportation schedules. Moreover, loading docks can include ramps and lifts to facilitate wheelchair access and other special needs. They can also be equipped with lighting to ensure the safety of employees working in the warehouse.

Another great feature of docks is that they can be designed to support specific fitness routines. For instance, the railings can be customized to offer support bars for certain exercises like jogging. This is a convenient way to perform non-stationary workouts outside of your home and it saves the cost of purchasing separate equipment for this purpose. Likewise, seating can be built directly into the design of the dock to reduce costs.


Depending on the type of dock you’re building, your shoreline and lake bottom configuration, and local ordinances and regulations, there may be restrictions on size, shape and location. Having a professional install your dock will ensure that your structure meets all standards and can be used for the intended purpose.

Your professional will clear the site and level it, preparing it for your new dock’s foundation. Then, they will dig or install pilings (the vertical supports that anchor the dock) to a depth required by your design. These can be driven in using a jet or set on concrete footers, depending on the soil conditions. Once they’ve installed the pilings, they will create a basic frame for your dock to be built upon, followed by decking material. Then, they’ll add any necessary hardware such as cleats or bumpers.

You may want to choose a material such as HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) for the understructure and decking of your dock. This plastic lumber is easy to work with, can be routed and drilled just like traditional wood lumber, and doesn’t rot or splinter. It also resists mildew and mold, and is eco-friendly to the environment.

Once the basic structure of your dock is in place, it’s time to add a few finishing touches to make sure that it’s safe and comfortable for boaters and swimmers. This includes installing a dock light, cleats and bumpers for tying off boats, and dock awnings that provide protection from sun and wind.

Another option is to add “fingers” to the main section of your dock, which help protect it from buffeting winds and waves created by passing boats. Having a sturdy, protective dock will allow you to spend more time on the water, without worrying about the impact of changing weather conditions.

Once the finish touches are put on, it’s important to test your dock to make sure that it is safe and secure. This is a good opportunity to check for any areas that need repair or adjustments, such as loose boards or unstable footings. Then, you’ll be ready to enjoy your new waterfront oasis!


Whether you’re a homeowner or commercial operator, dock maintenance is crucial to keeping your business running smoothly. The constant contact with water and outdoor elements can lead to wear and tear, and a poorly maintained dock can pose a safety hazard for boats and dock users alike.

Regular inspections and preventive measures are the best way to maintain your dock, regardless of its material composition. For metal docks, it’s important to check for rust, which can eat away at the structure and cause serious damage. If you notice rust, use specialized soap or rust treatment chemicals to prevent further damage. Wood docks should be treated with a wood preservative or sealant to prevent rot and decay.

You can also protect your dock by applying a waterproof coating or paint. This will help to reduce the amount of dirt and grime that can accumulate on the surface, which in turn will minimize wear and tear. In addition, this will protect your dock from ultraviolet rays that can cause discoloration.

Finally, it’s important to regularly clean your dock to remove any debris that may have accumulated from boat traffic or general usage. Make sure to pay special attention to any crevices or corners that are difficult to reach, as these areas can be a breeding ground for dirt and debris.

The types of docks vary, but most fall into one of two categories – fixed or floating. Fixed docks are anchored in the bottom of the lake or river, while floating docks are tethered to a frame that extends from the shoreline. Floating docks are especially popular in lakes with varying water levels or soft, murky bottoms that won’t support the weight of a fixed dock.