How to Construct a Dock

Docks are constructed much like traditional decks except that a portion of them is submerged in the water. The primary difference is that the pilings need to be made from materials that are resistant to corrosion.


These materials typically include concrete or wood. If wood is used, cedar is the best choice because it is naturally rot-resistant and has good longevity. Contact Lake Wylie Dock Construction for professional help.

When it comes to constructing your own dock, the materials you choose can have a significant impact on its durability and longevity. While some woods are naturally tough against water damage, others require special care to keep them in good condition. Similarly, composites and other synthetic materials can offer enhanced strength while requiring less maintenance than traditional woods. It’s important to consider these options as you begin planning your project.

A good starting point is sketching out your design on paper, adjusting it until you’re happy with the final result. Next, gather all the materials you’ll need. These can include dock float drums, decking and hardware. It’s recommended to use rust-resistant hardware to protect against corrosion in wet environments. Be sure to also invest in quality tools to streamline the build process. A nail gun is more efficient than a hammer for nailing, while a tape measure and drill help ensure accuracy and precision. Lastly, a level is essential to check the structure’s evenness before moving on to the frame.

The frame is the skeleton of the dock and determines how well it floats. For a long-lasting option, opt for a wood frame constructed from ground contact pressure-treated Southern Yellow Pine. This treatment is designed to penetrate deep into the lumber, ensuring robust support against varying lake conditions. Alternatively, aluminum frames are lightweight and durable but may require additional structural support to withstand heavy loads and wind-driven forces.

Decking is the surface of the dock that provides the most visual appeal. A popular choice is TimberTech composite decking, which combines durability with aesthetic versatility. Its anti-fungal, odorless, and mold resistant composition makes it an ideal choice for lakeside decking. In addition, it’s sourced from recycled materials and is friendly to the environment.

Wood decking is a common option, but it can be problematic in a wet environment. Cedar is an excellent choice for its natural rot-resistant properties, but if you can’t get cedar, opt for a treated wood such as pine or spruce. These materials have chemicals that prevent rot and insect damage, and they can be purchased pre-treated for marine use. Alternatively, you can skip the wood altogether and choose a material such as fiberglass or steel that’s highly durable against weather fluctuations and impacts.


When building a dock, many decisions must be made before the project can begin. The type of dock, materials used, electrical capabilities and budget must all be considered. The project can also be very time consuming and disruptive to productivity – it could take months before the dock is ready for use after construction is complete. There are also a number of steps that must be completed, including procuring the proper equipment and contractors, securing permits, excavating the site, pouring the new concrete dock and letting it cure for at least a week.

Dock design is an important consideration, as it affects both the layout of the loading area and the dock itself. It is essential to design the dock in a way that maximizes efficiency and minimizes safety risks. This includes laying out traffic patterns in a logical way, ensuring aisles are wide enough to accommodate trucks and equipment, and planning for access to every part of the dock.

Depending on the type of dock being built, there are many different options for design. For example, a piling dock starts with a CAD drawing to determine size and load capacity. Once the water and seabed are inspected to make sure they can handle the dock type being constructed, the pilings are driven deep into the sand beneath the water.

The next step in the process is to install the frame, which is the horizontal structure that sits on top of the pilings. Once this is finished, the decking (the surface of the dock) can be installed. It is important to ensure that the decking is straight and level, and that nails or screws are driven into a consistent distance from the edges of the boards. This will help reduce damage to the boards from repeated impact by boats and other vehicles, as well as making it easier to maintain.

The final steps in dock construction are to add any extra features that may be desired, such as a boat lift or benches. These will increase the cost of the construction, and should be planned for accordingly. It is also important to consider maintenance costs, as the dock will need routine cleaning, sealant applications and possibly replacement parts over its lifetime.


The layout of the dock is one of the most important parts of building a boat dock. You want to make sure the area is easy for you and your guests to navigate, especially during high tides or seasonal changes in water levels. There are a number of different dock configurations and designs to choose from, depending on the needs of your property.

For example, a U-shaped dock can provide plenty of space to moor a single large boat and also offers space for storage. This design works well for properties that experience frequent high and low tides. It can also help to separate boats from other people using the dock, preventing collisions between watercrafts. Another option is a longer walkway with square platforms placed at intervals. This design allows you to safely navigate a changing tide without the need for a boat ramp or a steep staircase.

If you’re planning to host parties on your dock, you may need to include extra seating and tables. If so, it’s a good idea to consider getting 6- or 8-foot dock sections rather than the standard 3- or 4-foot sections that come with most standard dock kits. These longer sections will give you more room to accommodate guests and keep them comfortable. You should also consider adding a wedge section, which is ideal for creating more usable space in key gathering areas. This can also help to prevent accidents and injuries by reducing the amount of space required for a tight turn.

Lastly, you’ll want to plan for lighting. You can use underwater lights to light up your deck at night, which will make the space safer and more welcoming for guests. You can also opt for motion-activated lights to switch on automatically after sunset, or lanterns that will look lovely against the water’s surface at night.

There are many ways to personalize your dock, from color coordination to installing a hot tub. You can even add a hammock or swing seat to enjoy the view from your dock. Just be sure to build an awning to protect the hammock or seat from the elements.


If you’re looking to install a dock for your own use or as a water vehicle storage space, there are several things to consider. For starters, you need to determine what shape of dock would be best for your property. A straight dock is ideal if you don’t have much room, but E, F, U-shaped and other designs are also available if you want more storage space for your boats and other water vehicles. Then, you need to decide what type of material is best for the location. Saltwater docks require corrosion-resistant materials, while freshwater installations can be constructed from a variety of wood and plastic materials. Finally, you need to choose whether to build a permanent or removable dock, as this will depend on factors such as climate, water depth and bottom conditions.

After establishing the right size, shape and material for your dock, you’ll need to clear the site of any obstacles such as rocks or trees. Once the area is clear, your contractors can begin the construction process. First, they’ll install the pilings. These sturdy posts provide the support for your dock, so it’s important that they’re installed correctly. This can be done using a pile driver or by digging a hole with a work barge. Once the pilings are in place, they can be fastened to wood supports. Then, your contractor can finish the construction by installing decking and other components.

You should make sure that your dock is well-sheltered from winds and tidal currents. To do this, you should either install a breakwater or lee breakwaters. These structures will prevent the wind from blowing your dock away and will also keep the water calm and safe for boating.

When building your boat dock, it’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully to avoid damaging your new investment. If you’re not comfortable working in the water, or if the water level changes frequently, you can use flotation logs to help you stay out of the water and complete the job without getting wet. Once your dock is finished, you can enjoy spending time on the water with family and friends!