Construction Services

Materials Used in Dock Construction

Choosing the right materials for your dock is important. Depending on your location, you may want to consider composite decking that offers advantages like moisture resistance and a cool surface in the sun.Dock Construction

You should also consider the floor conditions in your body of water. The bottom of lakes, rivers, ponds, and the ocean can be made of sand, silt, clay, or rock. Keep reading the article below to learn more about Dock Construction.

When building a dock, many people prefer wood for its visual appeal and sturdiness. Depending on the type of wood used, this material can last for decades with proper maintenance. In addition, it can be crafted in many shapes and sizes, making it easy to build a custom dock that meets your needs. Before you begin construction, check with the local authorities to find out if a permit is required. Also, make sure to hire a professional with the proper experience in boat and dock construction.

When it comes to choosing the right material for your dock, consider the conditions of your body of water. This can influence what type of structure you will need, and your contractor will likely suggest a different material for piles than for decking. For example, sand, silt, and mud cannot support the pilings or pipes of a fixed dock, while rock and clay can.

Another important factor is the depth of your body of water. The depth can affect how safe it is for water vehicles to enter and exit the dock, as well as how high a dock can be constructed. For instance, a shallower body of water may require a floating dock that is tied to the shoreline with ropes, while deeper bodies of water can accommodate fixed and permanent docks that are set in concrete.

There are a few types of wood that can be used to build a dock, but the most popular is pressure treated pine. This material is inexpensive and can last a long time, but it does need annual maintenance to prevent rot and pest infestation. Another option is cedar, which is more expensive but has better natural rot resistance. It also lasts longer than pine and can be stained to match your home or boat.

While plastic is a common choice for dock boards, it’s important to note that this material doesn’t last as long as wooden or composite boards. It also doesn’t provide a good surface for water vehicles to slide across, and it can be slippery when wet.

For these reasons, most docks are constructed with a combination of materials. For the most part, wood is used for the dock frame and decking, while concrete is used to construct the pilings and pipe supports. In some cases, metal or fiberglass is also used. These materials are typically more affordable than natural or engineered wood, but they don’t offer the same aesthetics as natural or composite materials. In addition, they may not be as strong as other options. Choosing a material that balances cost and strength will allow you to get the most value from your dock.


When building a dock, concrete is often used to add strength and durability. This material can be reinforced with steel girders to improve strength and is impervious to water, which means it will not degrade over time. Using concrete can also help with water quality as it will not impact water levels. Additionally, a concrete dock will require 90% less maintenance than a wooden one.

Before beginning construction on a new dock, it is important to choose the right location. The site must be easily accessible for trucks and other vehicles and it should not impact traffic flows or local businesses. It should also be sheltered from winds and waves. This can be done by constructing walls, lee breakwaters, or other structures.

Choosing the right shape of the dock is another consideration. Typically, docks are built in a rectangular form to offer maximum berthing length. However, they can be built in other shapes if the space allows.

It is important to install the dock a few inches above the maximum water line. This helps prevent ice from breaking and damaging the dock. It is also important to check with local towns and areas to find out if they have any requirements regarding dock heights.

In addition to adding strength and durability, concrete can be used to create aesthetically pleasing docks. It comes in a variety of textures and finishes, which can blend in with the natural environment. Concrete is also a good choice because it is easy to work with and can be formed into any shape needed.

The first step in constructing a concrete dock is to prepare the site by removing rocks, debris, and other obstructions. After the site is ready, a frame is constructed to the desired size and shape. Once the frame is complete, decking materials are applied. After the decking is installed, the outer support posts are put in place.

Generally, concrete docks are built for commercial purposes. They can be found in a wide variety of industries, including shipping and manufacturing. Loading docks are vital for ensuring that cargo is transported smoothly and safely. They can also be used to protect the cargo from weather, winds, and other environmental hazards.

There are many factors to consider when constructing a loading dock, including the type of cargo and its weight. A loading dock should also be properly sized for the cargo. It should be large enough to accommodate the container vessel, but not so large that it is difficult to maneuver. In addition, it should be able to accommodate the truck that will transport it. In order to ensure the safety of the vehicles and workers, a loading dock should be well-sheltered from wind and waves. It should also be fenced to protect against unauthorized access.


Unlike wood, which rots on contact with water, steel is a strong and durable material that can withstand harsh marine conditions. This is why many residential and commercial docks use steel for their pilings and frames. Steel is also more cost-effective than concrete, which may be the reason some homeowners choose it as their primary building material.

When building a dock, the first step is to install the foundational piles or pilings. This process is a crucial part of any construction project because it determines the stability and strength of the structure. In order to ensure the longevity of a dock, it is important to hire a licensed professional for this task. This will ensure that the final product meets all local and state safety standards. Moreover, a licensed professional is more likely to provide a warranty on the work that they perform.

The next step in the dock construction process is to install the frame, which will support the decking of your boat dock. This is done using lag bolts that connect the frame to the pilings. Once the frame is in place, you can begin installing the decking. Some homeowners opt to build their own docks, but this can be a difficult task if you aren’t experienced. It is recommended that you use a professionally-designed dock from the start. This will ensure that your dock is safe and secure for all uses, and it will look great in the process.

Another important aspect of the dock construction process is to select the proper decking material. While Southern yellow pine is an inexpensive and readily available option, it can splinter and crack when exposed to the elements. In addition, it requires a lot of maintenance and is susceptible to wood-boring marine organisms.

A better choice is to use ipe or other tropical hardwoods for your dock decking. These materials are much stronger and more resilient than pine, and they can withstand the rough conditions that are typical of a dock in a lake or river environment. Additionally, these materials are naturally resistant to fungus and termites.

In addition to selecting the right materials for your dock, it’s important to plan out how you will use it. Some homeowners choose to use their docks for boat launching and storage, while others enjoy spending time at their waterfront property relaxing or swimming. In any case, a well-designed and built dock can make your water experience more enjoyable and comfortable.

When planning your dock, it’s a good idea to consider the height of the waterline. This will help you determine how high to build the bottom of your dock beams. A good rule of thumb is to construct the dock a few inches above the maximum water line. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, as water levels can change over time.