4 Factors to Consider When Building a Dock

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Docks are a significant investment whose construction should involve careful planning. Without proper planning and strategies, you risk ending up with an unsafe dock that doesn’t serve you long enough. Knowing what to look at when building a dock can help ensure a sturdy outcome that aligns with your needs and requirements. Discussed below are four factors to consider when building a dock.

1.   Materials

Using subpar or the wrong materials can significantly impact your dock’s maintenance needs, longevity, and safety, making material selection a crucial part of designing and constructing a dock. The right dock-building material should be easy to maintain, water-resistant, and high-quality. Some of the common materials used when building docks include:

  • Wood: Although wood decking is cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing, it has substantial upkeep needs and is prone to rot, warping, and splintering. The best wood for underwater use should be able to resist water damage and severe weather exposure. Opt for pressure-treated wood as it lasts longer
  • Metal: Steel and aluminum are other material considerations when building a dock
  • Composite: These materials are made from a blend of plastics, minerals, and wood fibers. Composite materials last longer than wood, need less maintenance and come in various textures and colors
  • PVC: They’re moisture-resistant, durable, lightweight, and provide cool surfaces during hot weather. They come in different textures and colors

2.   Professional dock builders

While you can DIY, expertise and experience are vital when constructing a dock. Professional dock contractors have experience designing and building various dock sizes and types. Their knowledge and skills allow them to analyze your unique needs and suggest the best materials and designs. They can also ascertain that your dock is constructed to withstand the severe environmental conditions associated with waterfront areas.

Professional dock builders use quality craftsmanship and materials to ensure your investment meets the highest standards, ascertaining safety and longevity. They’ll obtain the necessary paperwork on your behalf, including permits, and ensure your dock is built in compliance with your locality’s regulations.

3.   Budget

Knowing the cost of building a dock and planning your budget is key. It helps determine how much you can afford while keeping your spending in check. It also helps you plan your money well to ensure your construction project isn’t delayed. Dock building costs vary based on the material you’re using, the type of dock, the location, custom features, and more. Conducting comprehensive research or consulting a professional dock builder can help you come up with a realistic budget.

4.   Dock type

There are various types of docks. As such, you should decide on the one build before beginning the project. The options to consider include:

  • Floating docks: They can be made using wood, plastic, concrete, or aluminum based on the decking material’s density. Floating docks feature foam- or air-filled floatation drums meant to displace water and ensure they remain afloat
  • Rolling docks: They’re often made using lightweight aluminum and have a plastic wheels set that ensures easy installation and removal
  • Pile-driven docks: These are stationary docks secured in place by metal or wooden pilings
  • Suspension docks: They hang over the water surface from cables attached to waterside buildings or earthbound pilings

When choosing the dock type to build, consider its uses, the ideal water and shoreline conditions it should be used in, maintenance, and its pros and cons.


Dock construction involves careful planning and several key considerations. Familiarize yourself with the factors to consider when building a dock.