How to Build a Dock

Building a dock can be a challenging project. But with the right tools and the right approach, the complexities can be reduced and the job more manageable.

Required Tools and Materials

Treated lumber
Deck bumper
Measuring tape
A circular saw
Dock stringer
An assistant
Boat (optional)

Preparatory Steps

Measure the water depth. This is necessary so you’ll get the right type of lumber. Also get as much information as possible about the weather in the area. There are services you can hire to do this job. Only when you have this figured out should you get the materials for building a dock.

Planning the Structure

You can have an architect draw the design for you or you can do it yourself. Have the sketch plans in hand so referral to it can be done during construction phase.

The Construction Process

Put the support columns in place. These cannot be more than 8 feet apart. A boat can be useful for transporting and setting them in place. If the water isn’t that deep, a ladder will suffice.

Set the stringers in place with the screws. Arrange the stringers so it can handle any fluctuations of the water. This can happen during a hurricane or flood.

Continue building a dock by attaching the decking onto the stringers. Be sure to leave a gap of ¼” so rain can go through. Use the saw to slice boards for the support posts.

Next, put the bumpers on the dock edge. This is used to shield the boats that will be set against the dock. If there’s a railing, put it in place. Make sure that it’s thick and strong enough to support someone holding onto it. Use as many screws or bolts as needed. You can add a bench or dock box if you like.

Tips and Warnings

There are other reasons for building a dock besides for boating. You can use it for enjoying the view of the seas. If that’s the case, you can add some chairs or tables around it. This should make it the ideal place to relax.

You can also use other materials when building. Most employ wood, but aluminum or metal will do just fine. If you’re building it for boating purposes, the water depth will be crucial. A row boat will do fine in shallow seas; a 20 footer requires more depth.

Some docks can be divided too. You can make one section 10 x 16 x 4 ft. This is attached to a larger (12 x 12) part. The smaller section usually goes into the water. You also have to choose between a fixed or stable dock.

The lumber size will depend on the project scale. Usually 2 x 6s are used. For floating docks, Styrofoam is used in between the surface boards.

As stated, these methods for building a dock need the aid of an assistant. Once you have enough hands to help with the construction, the task will be much easier to finish.

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