Having a private dock for your boat carries several advantages. The most obvious is that your boat is easy to access at any time. What's more, you don't have to go hunting for an available slip — you can park your boat at any time. You'll also feel secure knowing your boat is right there on your property. The addition of such a dock even adds value to your property.
Find out the important basics of having a residential boat dock built on your waterline.
Types of Docks
The two most common types of docks for private residences are floating and piling docks.
A floating dock consists of the decking and floaters, either airtight barrels or drums. Building a floating dock involves creating the decking and attaching the floaters to the underside. The amount of weight these docks can withstand correlates to the number of floaters affixed to the bottom.
A piling dock consists of heavy stakes or posts that support the decking. The contractors drive the stakes — called pilings, hence the name — into the bottom of the bay or lake and attach the decking to the pilings.
Less common dock types include pipe, crib, and suspension. Pipe docks use hollow pipes instead of heavy posts to make a piling-style construction. Crib docks consist of a rock-filled container that anchors the decking. With suspension docks, suspension cables anchored to a frame hold the decking above the water.
Docks can also be outfitted with boatlifts, which protect the underside of your boat from being submerged in water all the time. These can look like drive-on pontoons or rafts that push the water away. If you're considering a boatlift, talk to your contractors about how this impacts the dock's design.
The options for your dock material are pretty similar to those for decks.
The classic material is pressure-treated wood. The fabrication process consists of placing boards in a depressurizing tank that removes air and replaces it with a preservative. The process prevents rot and insect infestation. However, it doesn't stop weathering and corrosion, so you have to treat the decking periodically.
Composite decking consists of boards fabricated of both wood fibers and plastic. Typically, composite decks require little maintenance, though you need to sweep and wash them regularly. You do have fewer finish options than with pressure-treated wood.
Vinyl has made its way into pier decking as well. As with any other construction material, vinyl decking contains PVC. Vinyl decking is one of the more expensive materials, and you're limited in color choices. However, vinyl decking is long-lasting and requires almost no maintenance.
Considerations for your Private Dock
Private docks are a special kind of hardscaping. A dock or pier is more significant than a simple walkway because it juts into the water. Therefore, it can impact the water quality and wildlife habitat of the bay or lake. These impacts can include changing the shoreline structure, changing the movement of waves and sediment, and increasing or decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff.
To combat these impacts, professional dock builders usually design the submerged parts of the dock so that they don't impede the flow of water. Because the water can run through the pilings or floats, the construction helps reduce stormwater runoff. These permeable areas also allow for the movement of sediments and waves.
More personal considerations include whether you'll be placing furniture on the pier or fishing from it. For both, you'll want a wider dock and perhaps even built-in storage. Likewise, if the dock is in full sunlight, you'll want to choose light-colored decking materials to go easy on bare feet.
A private boat dock has many uses and so adds value to your outdoor living as well as your property. If you're ready to explore having a private dock built, consult with the experts at Edgewater Marine Construction, Inc.