Dock Building

What You Need to Know About Dock Construction

A dock can transform the way you experience your waterside property. Whether you use it for fishing, relaxing, or boating, a sturdy and well-designed dock can last for years.Dock Construction

A typical dock construction project includes building a basic frame, adding decking material, and installing shoreline support posts. The material most commonly used for these structures is ground contact pressure-treated southern yellow pine. Contact Lake Wylie Dock Construction for professional help.

The material from which a dock is built can have a major impact on the way it looks, performs and lasts. The choice of materials must take into account the location, water depth and intended use. Additionally, the dock should be designed to withstand any local climatic factors such as storms or tidal fluctuations.

Wood is a popular choice for both pilings and decking. The material is naturally rot-resistant and has the added benefit of blending in with natural surroundings. However, not all types of wood are suitable for the construction of docks. It is essential to choose a wood that has been treated for longevity. Pressure-treated Southern yellow pine is a good option because it has a high resistance to rot and marine pests. It also has a good color and finish. Cedar is another option, and it is rot-resistant without the need for any additional treatments. However, it is more expensive than other types of wood.

Metal is a common material used in the construction of docks. Steel is heavier and sturdier than any other material, making it ideal for permanent docks. It can withstand the impact of large boats and is resistant to corrosion. It is also relatively cheap to construct and easy to work with.

Another good choice for a dock is aluminum, which has the advantage of being lighter than wood or concrete while remaining durable and strong. It is also rust-resistant and will not degrade in the presence of saltwater. Aluminum docks tend to be more expensive than other types of docks.

Piling docks are a popular type of permanent dock that is built with a series of piles driven into the substrate. This type of dock is particularly well-suited for locations with changing water levels and fluctuating currents, since the pilings can adjust to these conditions without shifting or moving.

One of the main challenges for installing steel docking piles is avoiding damage during installation. To avoid this, builders can utilize blind bolt fasteners, which allow workers to install the bolts from a single side of the steel. This method reduces the number of trips that must be made to and from the water, minimizing the risk of accidents and improving worker safety.


The design of docks is a fascinating blend of engineering principles, environmental considerations, and practicality. It’s a testament to our ingenuity, harmonizing our need to interact with water bodies with the need for safety and durability. Docks are the hub of maritime activity, shaping the identity of coastal communities and fostering connections across continents.

The first step in designing a new dock is determining the appropriate type, size, and location of the structure. This will depend on a variety of factors, including the shoreline and lake bottom configuration, local ordinances, and environmental impact considerations. Depending on these factors, it may be necessary to get a permit before beginning construction.

Once the permit is obtained, the construction process can begin. Most docks are constructed with a combination of wood and concrete, although steel is also used for some commercial structures. Wood is an affordable framing option that can be stained to match the surrounding shoreline, or painted. A more durable option is modified wood, which has been transformed from natural softwood to a highly-durable, waterproof material that requires minimal maintenance and won’t rot or heat up in the sun.

Concrete is a more durable material, but it’s also more expensive and requires more frequent maintenance. Another cost-effective option is to use concrete blocks, which can be stacked to create a sturdy foundation for the dock. Some builders choose to combine a concrete block base with an aluminum frame, which adds strength and reduces the weight of the structure.

Another consideration when planning the design of a dock is whether or not it will include a decline or incline. If the incline or decline is too steep, it can cause problems with loaders and increase wear on equipment. In addition, it can pose a safety risk for employees and customers.

The next consideration is the floor conditions of the body of water in which the dock will be located. Lakes, rivers, ponds, and oceans all have different floor conditions, such as sand, silt, clay, and rock. Understanding these conditions will help a builder determine which materials to use and which type of dock to construct. For example, a sand or silt lake bottom will not support the pilings of a fixed dock, but it might be compatible with a floating dock.


Before starting construction of your dock, you will need to obtain the required permits from local government agencies. The exact requirements vary by jurisdiction, but will include a detailed description of the dock as well as its intended use and location. You may also need to provide documentation of your property lines and water depths. Additionally, depending on the environmental conditions in your area, you may need to obtain additional permits or follow stricter guidelines for materials and design. For example, if your area is home to endangered species or fragile marine habitats, you will need to follow more stringent guidelines for decking materials and placement of the dock.

The specific permit requirements for residential docks will depend on the zoning district in which your dock is located. In some cases, you will need to submit a certified survey of your property that includes the zoning district, property lines, the proposed dock, any unusual natural features on your property, and adjacent waters, including depths to the nearest foot at ten-foot intervals measured at mean low tide. In addition, you will need to submit the specifications for your dock’s construction materials and an accurate scale drawing of your dock in plan and elevation format. You will also need to submit a notarized affidavit indemnifying and saving harmless the Village of Poquott from any claims arising out of or connected with any operations under the permit.

Some docks will be subject to more stringent requirements than others, especially if they are large or used for commercial purposes. In these cases, a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may be required. Other factors that may trigger DEP regulations include the presence of manatees and seagrass, as well as environmental impacts on tidal waters and other dock owners’ properties.

In some cases, you may be able to repair or renovate an existing dock without obtaining a permit, provided it is not rebuilt or reconstructed to a greater extent than the original structure. However, the repair or renovation must be completed in a manner that does not cause structural instability or damage to other docks or moored boats.


A dock is a sheltered area where ships and boats can moor while carrying out maritime activities. It’s a critical element of the busy maritime world, and it comes in a variety of forms, including quay walls, wharves, and piers. These structures vary in size, complexity, and functionality, but they all provide a secure place for boats to dock while loading and unloading cargo or undergoing repairs.

Many states and areas don’t require permits for dock building, but it’s important to check with your local government before beginning construction. Some areas are protected and may have special requirements, especially for floating docks that need to be connected to the shore with a tether or concrete anchors. A licensed dock builder can assist you in determining whether or not a permit is required for your project.

Choosing the right materials is a crucial part of dock construction. The floor conditions of a body of water can vary significantly, from sand and silt to clay, rock, and vegetation. These conditions affect the type of dock you can build. For example, sand and silt can’t support the pilings and pipes of fixed docks. They are better suited to floating docks, while clay and rock bottoms can support fixed docks.

If you are planning to install a permanent dock, it’s essential to choose high-quality pilings. These should be constructed of wood that is treated against rotting on ground contact. This treatment usually includes pressure-treated southern yellow pine or a similar material. You can expect your wooden dock to last up to 30 years or more, depending on its design and location.

Once the footers and outer posts are installed, you can build your basic frame. It’s helpful to use a level to find the maximum height of the water, as this will be your reference point. It’s also wise to include a few extra inches in case the water levels rise or fall during the course of the year.

Once you have the frame completed, it’s time to add the decking. It’s important to choose a material that will stand up well against the elements, and you can decide between traditional wood or HDPE plastic. If you opt for the latter, it’s important to select a color and style that blends well with your surroundings.