Building a Floating Dock? Here's What You Need.
Updated: Sep 8
There are many different options for installing a dock on your property. From free floating docks, floating docks with pilings, or standing aluminum docks there are a lot of things to consider. If you are looking for a dock that is semi-permanent looking at pilings and standing docks is the best course of action as they generally last longer and don't sway with the wind or currents.
Stationary docks are more expensive however, mainly because of different materials and installation costs. If you are a DYI-er, floating docks will be your best friend. Floating docks lower the costs of installation substantially, mainly because they can be built by anyone who is handy with power tools. Floating wooden docks specifically, give a better aesthetic to your dock when compared to stationary aluminum docks which can’t be customized. With floating wooden docks, you choose your own lumber and decking, creating a one-of-a-kind look.
1. Before You Build
Floating docks are affordable - between $25 and $30 per square foot - can be easily built by DIY-ers and hobbyists. They're best for smaller boats, such as those used for fishing, and they can adjust to water rising and falling (unlike a stationary dock).
2. Materials You Will Need
To avoid any unnecessary delays, make sure you have all the right materials and tools needed to build a wooden dock. Before you begin building, you'll need to make sure you have a nail gun, a wrench, a saw, and a drill at the very least. The exact materials will vary as this a complete DIY project, meaning you can design this dock however you please. If you’ve never built a dock before, we suggest consulting a professional.
1. Dock Floats
2. Dock Galvanized Hardware
5. Accessories (dock cleats, ladders, dock edging & bumpers, etc.)
3. The Building Process
It sounds counterintuitive, but because you'll be installing the floats on the underside of the dock, you'll build it upside down. You'll first need to measure the area for your dock and allot enough lumber to build a frame. After doing so, you'll install the dock floats inside the frame. Flip the dock over (asking for help if you need it to prevent injury) and make sure everything is secure before building the deck on the other side.
Additional resource: BARR DIY Dock Kit Assembly Instructions
4. Finishing the Project
Now that you've built the frame and installed the dock floats on its underside, it's time to build the deck - the part you'll walk on to get to your boat. This part is easier because it simply involves nailing sturdy deck boards to the frame.
5. After You Build
After your dock is complete, you'll want to test it out by walking on it on dry land to make sure each board is securely fastened. When you're ready, push it out into the water and secure it to the shore: this is where you'll want to use a couple of pilings to make sure it doesn't float away.
Building your own dock sounds like a big undertaking, but it's quite affordable and it can make for a fun DIY project. Contact us today to learn more about the process and materials used in building your own dock!