A waterfront property already comes with a higher sticker price. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance its value with the right upgrade.
One solution is a new dock. This addition can save you money if you spend a bundle docking your boat elsewhere, but that isn’t the only advantage. You can also significantly increase your enjoyment of your home.
With that in mind, here’s how to add a dock to your waterfront property.
Understand Your Various Dock Options
Adding a dock isn’t a minor undertaking you can complete over the weekend. Your process begins with a CAD drawing. Your architect then needs to inspect the water and waterbed so they can sink the pilings. After the pilings are installed, the rest of the procedure is somewhat similar to building a deck, but it can still take up to four weeks to complete.
It’s always best to use a professional installer. This project isn’t the type for even advanced DIYers, as a mistake can have dire safety consequences.
You have several different dock types from which to choose. The ideal one for you depends on multiple factors.
1. Floating Docks
Floating docks are your best option if you have fluctuating water levels or icy winter conditions. Instead of using pilings, they feature built-in air chambers that let them stay afloat. Many models come in mix-and-match modular forms to fit nearly any desired shape, and you can take them out of the water for winter storage.
One disadvantage of this style of dock can occur when water levels drop too low. You could damage your equipment by letting it drag on the silty bottom. Another issue occurs in rocky waters or in those with heavy boat traffic. Each wave will rock your footing.
2. Piling Docks
You’ll often find piling docks at large marinas. These docks require stable, predictable water conditions, such as lakes and ponds. They typically consist of wood, concrete, and steel, sometimes with fibreglass inserts.
Unlike floating docks, you can’t remove piling docks for winter, making this style more suited to warm climates. Another downside is that you’ll need to perform regular maintenance to keep the sun and insect pests from the caps.
3. Pipe Docks
Pipe docks combine partial portability with increased security. You can often remove the top decking, although it’s more problematic to relocate the legs and frame.
This option is minimally invasive, making it a wise choice if you care about your environmental footprint. However, you’re limited to using this design in calm waters with firm bed conditions. You will run into trouble in deep water. Additionally, while many models allow you to adjust the legs, they only go so far. This model won’t work in areas with extreme water fluctuation levels.
4. Crib Docks
Crib docks offer a permanent solution, but their cost and size make them prohibitive for many private property owners. They are often seen on governmental, commercial, or industrial properties.
One advantage of crib docks is that they can withstand frigid winter temperatures. However, much like a home’s foundation, they require routine inspections and maintenance to avoid a costly disaster.
One disadvantage is that the style makes them impossible to construct in deep water. This design is best suited for areas with a wide, shallow shoreline.
5. Cantilever Docks
Did you always want a personal moat? A cantilever dock isn’t the same thing, but it operates on similar principles. These variants are also called suspension docks because they hang over the water from a platform on the shore. Some models include a winch and crank to raise and lower the dock with fluctuating water levels.
These are ideal for deeper waters since you can place them anywhere you can find adequate shoreline support. They also work well in rocky waters, and you can uninstall and store these models for winter.
Evaluate Your Shoreline
Your installation professional will likely recommend the best dock model, but it pays to know how to evaluate your shoreline. Doing so gives you a better understanding of your options instead of relying on your contractor. Shorelines have four natural zones:
- Foreshore zone: This area consists of the sand you walk on.
- Surf zone: This term refers to where the waves break.
- Nearshore (back) zone: This region refers to where the water deposits rocks from wave action.
- Offshore zone: Although this location stays wet, the ecosystem below is impacted by onshore activities.
The size of each zone varies by location and influences the best type of dock. For example, those with wide surf zones are ideal for larger crib docks and work with pipe and cantilever designs.
Another factor to consider is whether your shoreline is rocky, sandy, or wetlands. Excess rocks or sand that extends far into the water can make pilings problematic. Wetlands often require conservation measures under the law. Double-check with your local authorities before beginning construction.
Choose Your Materials
Another decision you must make is what materials to use to build your dock. Metal offers superb strength but can roast bare feet. Lightweight aluminium is an ideal choice for many since it doesn’t rust, but it might not hold up in areas with heavy storms. Steel is stronger, but since it is an iron-based alloy, it may rust.
Wooden docks are cost-effective if you choose the right materials. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the best woods to choose are cedar, cypress, or redwood. Permanent pilings should use stronger hardwoods, like douglas fir. Wood docks require routine staining and sealing to maintain their integrity and appearance.
Polyethene is heat-resistant, unlike metal, and won’t splinter like wood. You can also find it in various sizes to fit nearly any layout. It’s filled with air chambers to make it more stable on moving water.
Design for Additional Activities
Finally, decide what other activities you would like to use your dock for besides an easy way to get on or off the water. If you plan to spend many pleasant hours fishing with your grandkids, for example, you might want to opt for polyethene construction for maximum comfort on your feet or tush.
Seek ways to integrate your dock into your overall outdoor lifestyle. You might create a path to your dock from your back patio and outdoor kitchen. Making it easy to reach will increase the likelihood of using your investment every day, weather permitting.
Follow These Tips to Add a Dock to Your Waterfront Property
Adding a dock to your waterfront property can significantly increase the overall value and enjoyment level of your home. Follow the tips above when creating your masterpiece.