Category: Construction Services

The Basics of Dock Installation

A dock is a structure built over water for the purpose of landing and mooring boats. It can also be referred to as a jetty or a quay.

Dock Installation

Whether you are installing a permanent or temporary dock, choosing the right anchoring system is essential. It will determine how your dock is secured in the water and how easy it will be to remove at the end of the season. Visit for more information.

Docks can add a beautiful, tranquil aesthetic to a waterfront property. They also provide easy access for water recreation such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. However, building a safe, sturdy dock is not as simple as just throwing down some boards and screws. A successful project requires a thorough understanding of the area where the dock will be installed, including factors like the type of waterfront and the depth and current of the water. The location of the dock is also important, as the elevation can affect how well it will stand up to weather and usage.

The most basic purpose of a dock is mooring or berthing large sea or ocean-going vessels and container ships. These docks are built in an enclosed water space and are used to protect the ships from water currents that might make loading and discharging cargo difficult. The docks are also used for maintenance and repair work on the ships.

Another important function of a dock is to facilitate passenger terminals for boating, cruising, and fishing. These docks can be located in a river port or at a sea coast. They are usually constructed in the shape of a rectangle because this design offers maximum berthing length.

A boat dock installation company will be able to answer any questions you may have about what type of dock is best for your location, the materials needed to build it, and how long it will last. They can also help you with the permitting process and get your dock built as quickly and efficiently as possible. They are fully insured and licensed, so you can feel confident that they will be able to perform the job correctly.

It is a good idea to assemble as much of the dock on land as possible before moving it into the water. This is particularly true if you are working with smaller components such as brackets, posts, and foot pads. This will save you time in the water and make it easier to keep the parts from getting lost or broken. Additionally, it will be easier to level the dock while it is on land than while it is in the water.

Installing the Posts

The first step of any dock installation is installing the posts in the water. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the type of dock and environmental conditions, with some options more complicated than others. If you are using a floating dock system, concrete block anchors are an easy way to get your dock up and running quickly, while the more permanent and robust concrete dock pilings require a bit of special equipment (pile driver) to drive them into the ground or seabed.

Once you have your dock posts (pilings) in place, you can begin to assemble the structure. It is important to pre-assemble as much of the structure as possible so that it will go together quicker and easier in subsequent years. This will also help you make sure that the components are connected properly.

When assembling the dock sections, be sure to keep track of where each post will be located in order to determine the right amount of deck space for your needs. This will be important for the design of your gangway, walkways and other structures.

You will also want to take some time to assemble the upright posts in preparation for driving them into the seabed. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Start by loosening the clamps on the crossarms and then insert the post through the sleeve in the bracket. Then use 2 carriage bolts to loosely attach the bottom plate halves. Once this is completed, you can then put the crossarms back into place and loosen up the clamps. Finally, the post caps and stringer brackets can be snapped on and snugged up.

Once the standard posts are in place, it is important to check them regularly for alignment as you are driving them into the water and then secure them to the post base. It is also a good idea to mark each one with a marker for next year so you know where they went!

If you have a fixed dock with a more complex design, or are going to be putting in a boat lift, it might be best to call in the professionals to ensure that everything is installed correctly. However, for most do-it-yourselfers, this is not a task that is too hard to tackle with a little bit of patience and the right gear.

Fastening the Posts to the Post Base

Whether you are building a deck over concrete steps or a railing around a concrete porch, it’s important to fasten the posts so they stay upright and rigid. Depending on the project, there are several ways to do this. For example, you can use a concrete screw or anchor bolt, lag screws or adhesive anchors. For the best results, you should follow the post base manufacturer’s installation instructions to ensure that your choice of hardware complies with the load rating requirements for uplift and lateral loads.

Some posts are surface mounted, where the brackets mount on the face of the concrete and the bottom of the post slips right into the base. If this is your choice, it’s a good idea to use galvanized concrete screws or anchor bolts for maximum strength and corrosion resistance. Alternatively, you can side mount the post, which is a more secure and durable option. To do this, you must first drill a hole in the concrete at a location that will accommodate a minimum of two sleeve anchors. You should use a hammer drill and a ratchet to insert the anchors, which are then sleeved into place and secured with washers underneath.

Post bases are connectors that connect a structural wood support post to the concrete footing. They prevent the bottom of the post from being knocked off the footing sideways (lateral load) or lifted up during high winds (uplift load). The ones shown in this video are designed with a 1″ standoff height above the concrete, which also reduces the risk of water wicking up into the end grain of the wood and helps meet code requirements for waterproof connections.

The CPTZ concealed post connector from Simpson Strong-Tie provides a clean, concealed look and features a 1″ standoff height to reduce the possibility of water infiltration into the wood at the bottom of the post. It is load rated for uplift, download and lateral load. The CPTZ is designed to be used with anchors that are specified by the designer per ACI 318. For maximum strength, anchors should be galvanized or stainless steel.

Putting the Dock in the Water

You can hire a professional to install your dock, but you’ll save money by taking on the task yourself. Whether you’re installing a floating, crib, pile, pipe or lift dock, these tips will make the job go much more smoothly and give you more time to enjoy your waterfront retreat.

Before you start digging, it’s important to know the conditions of your lake or pond. You’ll need to have a good idea of the depth, type of seabed and potential obstacles under the water. Once you’ve done this, you can prepare the dock site.

To begin with, you’ll need to dig holes for the dock posts. This can be done either by hand or with a power auger. To ensure that the posts are at the correct depth, you’ll want to use a level. After the posts are in place, you’ll need to fasten them with brackets or hardware that can withstand water exposure. Galvanized or stainless steel bolts, screws or brackets are ideal for this purpose.

Once the posts are installed, you can pour the concrete footers. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to use a mixture that’s specially treated for saltwater immersion. In other cases, you may need to choose a piling made from a material like greenheart that’s naturally resistant to marine bore and decay.

If you’re building a floating dock, you’ll also need to decide if you’re going to use weights or not. Weights are a popular choice because they’ll keep the dock stable in windy and wavy conditions. However, they can be expensive and difficult to install.

Once you’ve completed the basic dock installation, it’s time to start adding the other accessories and equipment. Some of these will simply screw onto the post base. Others, such as a boat ladder or swim ladder, can be attached with additional hardware. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation before you get started. Also, remember to protect your concrete dock pilings with Dock Piling Wrap, Dock Piling Caps or SnapJackets. These will help maintain their durability and performance for years to come.