Adding a dock to your waterfront property is an investment that will offer enjoyment and value for years to come. From a launch for boats and kayaks to an area for sunbathing and swimming with family and friends, a dock addition offers a huge enhancement to your home. Understanding your shoreline and water conditions will be your first step, then you can choose the type of dock and decking materials that are best suited for your needs and conditions.
How to Determine the Right Dock
Where you install your dock will likely determine the type of dock you choose to install. Shorelines fall into two categories, rocky or sandy. A rocky shoreline will contain large boulders, rocks or pebbles and can be found along lakes, oceans and rivers. Sandy shorelines are also common across oceans, lakes and some riverfronts, although the sand type will vary across regions. Sandy beaches may o have a gradual slope or a steep drop in the water.
Lake, river, pond and ocean floor conditions vary, even along the same shoreline. Loose materials like sand, silt and mud won’t be able to support pilings or pipes so you’ll need to opt for some sort of floating dock which doesn’t touch the bottom. More firm materials, like clay tend to be compatible with most dock types as long as the water levels don’t change, and even though rocks are hard they can be unstable so pilings may not work in rocky beds.
In addition to the shoreline and bottom, you’ll want to consider if the water is fresh or saltwater and how deep it is. Saltwater is more corrosive, whereas most docks and decking materials are suitable for freshwater. Deep water tends to be more difficult to install pilings in, so a floating dock would be a better option while fixed docks are a good choice for shallow water. If you live in a region with freezing temperatures, floating docks are easily removed and reinstalled seasonally.
What Are the Different Types of Docks?
A dock that uses pilings made from steel, concrete or wood that are drilled into the bottom of the water is known as a fixed, stationary or permanent dock. The height of the pilings can be customized to the intended use for the dock. Tall pilings offer an elevated view while shorter ones allow easy access to the water and can accommodate a boat lift. Fixed docks can withstand choppy water and waves and strong currants. Because they are a permanent fixture, they should only be installed in warmer waters that don’t freeze.
Removable pipe docks, also known as free-standing docks, are made of a solid, framed platform resting on supportive leg posts. Free-standing dock systems can easily be configured to achieve almost any custom layout, by combining sections of different sizes and shapes. Typically made of lightweight, marine-grade aluminum, free-standing docks are easy to install, adjust and remove at the end of the season, making them suitable for a variety of waters. Most pipe docks can be installed with adjustable legs, which offer increased stability without a permanent installation. This type of dock is a good choice for seasonal use and uneven bed conditions.
A floating dock is not anchored to the bottom and instead floats on the water’s surface making it a great choice for areas with water level fluctuations, deep water, and unstable or challenging bottom conditions. Floating docks can be purchased in segments allowing you to customize and make changes to the layout. Also made of lightweight materials, floating docks can easily be removed during the winter and reinstalled in warmer weather.
RGC offers high quality docks built to last. If you have questions about which type of dock is best for your shoreline, our team can help you choose the dock system or connect you with a dealer near you. Don’t hesitate to contact us.