Types of Dock Construction

A dock’s design should be based on its intended uses. Water conditions (waves, fluctuating water levels), soil types, and climate must be considered before starting construction.

Investing time with a tape measure and pencil to mark where fasteners will go might seem like overkill, but it will ensure that your dock has evenly spaced fasteners and a finished look. Contact Dock Construction Charleston SC now!

Wood is a popular choice for dock construction as it looks natural and blends in with the surrounding environment. It is also a cost-effective material that can last a long time when treated properly. The most common type of wood used for boat docks is pressure-treated pine. However, this type of wood requires regular maintenance to prevent rot and decay. Additionally, it is important to choose a quality contractor when building your new dock. A local company will be familiar with the water conditions and can build a strong, durable structure that will last for years.

Another alternative is cedar. Cedar is a hardy wood that is naturally resistant to moisture and can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, it is important to seal your cedar regularly to keep it looking beautiful and protect it from rot and decay. Cedar is a great option for anyone who wants a natural look for their dock.

While wood is the most popular choice for dock pilings, man-made materials are gaining popularity as well. Synthetic piles made of fiberglass composite materials can be driven just as easily as wood, but they will not rot or attract pests. They can also be installed at a higher elevation than wood, which is useful in areas that experience frequent flooding. Additionally, synthetic piles are designed to be stronger and more attractive than natural wood.

When choosing a location for your dock, it is important to consider the depth of the water and the amount of current. It is also important to check for zoning requirements and any other restrictions before beginning construction. You may need a permit to build your dock, and it is a good idea to consult with a professional to ensure you comply with all regulations.

Once the foundation of your dock has been established, you can begin to build the frame and decking. Be sure to use lag bolts and screws to secure the frame and decking to the pilings. It is a good idea to use pencil lines to mark where fasteners will be located on the boards of your dock. This will help you to drive all nails or screws at a consistent distance from the edges and ends of the board.


No waterfront property is complete without a dock to safely berth water vehicles. Many people choose wood as their primary material, but others opt for concrete. Each has its own advantages. While wood requires a fair amount of maintenance, concrete is inert and will require virtually no upkeep. It also withstands the elements better than wood. The downside of choosing a concrete dock is that it can be more expensive, but it will last longer than the alternatives.

The iDock was designed to be a hybrid dock consisting of a concrete substructure with GFRP grating. The dock is configured to be a rectangle as this offers maximum berthing space. The design was analyzed using finite element modeling (FEM) and advanced analysis software to predict the structural response to varying loads. These included lateral wave load, lateral wave slam, and uplift wave load.

To ensure that the dock can withstand the varying load demands, a hybrid design was created. This included a GFRP grate attached to a concrete deck supported by a reinforced concrete (RC) substructure with pile caps. The grating was then bolted to the RCPs through a series of connections.

Another key aspect of the design was to ensure that the connections between the RCPs and grating would be strong enough. The resulting connections were designed using blind bolts. This method of construction allows for a fast, safe, and secure connection that can withstand a high level of wind and wave loading.

A major benefit of using a concrete dock is that it will not degrade from sun exposure. Unlike wood, which absorbs sunlight and becomes hot in the summer, concrete does not. It also does not rot or develop mold and mildew, making it a long-lasting material.

One of the biggest challenges for constructing a new dock is the need to mark out where fasteners will go. This requires a lot of measuring and the use of pencil marks. Without this step, it is nearly impossible to drive all the nails and screws with a consistent spacing and even alignment. This is why using a system such as the QuickMarker® is so important. This tool allows you to mark lines where you should place your nails and screws and will help you avoid drilling through the deck or pier.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is an alternative to natural wood. It’s an attractive, durable choice that resists rot and the damage caused by constant moisture exposure. It also requires far less maintenance than wood, such as sanding and staining. Composite materials are also more cost-effective than alternatives like fiberglass or ironwood. The material is easy to work with and, unlike concrete, doesn’t shrink or warp from exposure to the elements.

Almost any type of dock can be built using composite decking, but it’s most common in residential applications. It can be shaped and used to create a gazebo, boathouse or other structure that adds aesthetic value to the property. Some homeowners also use composite material to build walkways, stairways and fences.

A lot of the time, composite decking is made using recycled plastics and other organic materials, such as wood fibers. The inorganic materials are mixed with the organic fibers and bonded together to create a durable, low-maintenance product that is also environmentally friendly.

Many people choose to use composite decking on their docks because it looks more like traditional wooden decking. The decking is usually available in a wide range of color options, too. It’s also possible to find materials with a number of additional features, such as stain resistance and ultraviolet protection.

Most states and areas don’t regulate how docks are built, but it’s always a good idea to get permits before starting construction. It’s also important to check with the local town or municipality to ensure that the planned structure doesn’t violate any zoning laws.

Once the footers and outer support posts are in place, you can begin building the deck. You’ll start with a frame that is based on the measurements and shape you determined. Then you can apply the decking material and shoreline support posts.

Composite decking is available in a number of profiles, including grooved and non-grooved boards. Grooved boards are easier to fasten down, and they can accommodate hidden fasteners. Non-grooved boards, on the other hand, are typically face nailed or screwed down, and they require visible fasteners to hold them in place. The type of profile you select will influence how the deck is installed, so take some time to consider your options.


The pilings that support docks are typically made of steel. These are more cost-effective than concrete and able to be driven deeper below layers of soil and rock formations for extra stability. They also withstand corrosion, particularly in a saltwater environment. To protect pilings from damage by the sun’s UV rays, wood-boring marine organisms and other environmental factors, it is important to use piling caps. These are available in a wide range of sizes and materials to complement the design of a particular dock. Some are designed to help with the sturdiness of a dock’s foundation by including internal hexagram truss systems.

When choosing a contractor to build your dock, consider going local. A local company is more familiar with the water conditions on a particular body of water and will be able to build you a safe and strong dock that will last for years to come. They will have the proper licensing and insurance for working in your area, as well as the training required for dock construction and installation.

During the building process, it is also important to understand the difference between a dock and a pier. While many people use the terms interchangeably, a pier is technically a type of marine structure that offers more permanent berthing space than a dock. It is also typically built to allow larger vessels to moor.

A dock may be constructed from a variety of materials, depending on the needs and budget of its owners. However, some of the most popular choices include wood, concrete and aluminum. Each has its own pros and cons, but aluminum is generally considered the best option for a dock construction project because of its durability and ability to stand up to harsh marine conditions.

Other material options for docks include fiberglass, plastic lumber and modified wood. These materials are becoming increasingly popular because they can be used for both the understructure and the dock planks. They are highly resistant to the elements and do not rot, mildew or require staining. They are also eco-friendly because they do not leach chemicals into the water or air.