Which Dock Type Works Best for you?

Which Dock Type Works Best for you?

When it comes to a boat dock for your waterfront property, you don't just wake up one day and decide to build a crib dock or floating dock – it takes effective planning and other important considerations.

A boat dock is a large structure that will not only transform your waterfront home but also impact the environment, particularly aquatic life. Therefore, you must make a lot of considerations, including deciding the perfect site to put up your dock and the dock materials within your budget.

Choosing the right boat dock

Knowing the dock type that will work best for you isn't as easy as it might sound. We have created this guide to help you determine all the aspects you must consider to choose the right dock for your property. Generally, there are important factors that you must consider, including;

· Your dock construction, installation, and maintenance budget

· The number of water vessels to be docked at your boat dock

· The local boat dock construction regulations

· Changes in seasons and weather

· The overall depth of your lake water

· The location of boat dock installation

· The frequency of dock use

· Dock construction and installation materials

To figure out the specific dock type that will work best for your waterfront property, it's recommended to look beyond these general factors. Here are other important factors to consider when choosing the ideal dock type for your lake home.

Dock types based on installation

Floating docks: Floating dock systems are supported by buoyant materials like PWC tanks. They are easy to set up as they come pre-built, cheaper as they use readily available materials, and can be hauled off into storage during bad weather. However, they can't handle big boats and pose a damage risk to boats because they're too light and swing too much when exposed to strong winds.

Piling docks: These docks are made by driving sturdy wooden beams into the lakebed to create a strong foundation for the dock. Then the decking is carefully laid on top and connected to the shore. These docks can withstand violent waves, are durable, and can handle bigger boats. On the flip side, these docks are costly and fixed, and the wood is likely to rot over the years.

Pipe docks: Featuring aluminum as the main construction material, pipe docks are set up just like piling docks. They are environmentally friendly, removable, and way cheaper compared to piling docks. However, they may be unusable if submerged in water during high tides, less stable, and highly susceptible to damage.

Crib docks: These docks are made by submerging strong wooden frames in water and then filling them up with boulders and rocks to create a strong foundation. The decking is placed on top where you can anchor your boats and walk. While these docks are durable and capable of handling big water vessels, their initial cost is prohibitively high, and their design disrupts the environment – the rocks in its foundation can alter water flow and habitats for marine life.

Suspension docks: The construction process of these docks is quite complex as they're made to hang over water with the support of ropes and cables anchored at the shoreline. They're ideal for electrical wiring, have a better visual appeal, and have minimal impact to the environment. Unfortunately, the construction and maintenance cost of these docks is quite high.

Dock types based on materials

Plastic dock: This is a floating dock system that uses buoyant plastic materials. The dock pieces are pre-made and transported to the site for assembly and installation. Plastic docks are affordable, highly flexible, portable, and durable. However, they can't support big water vessels and are likely to sway too much, particularly when subjected to strong winds and heavy waves.

Aluminum docks: These docks are made of aluminum supports with an aluminum decking on the topmost layer. Of all dock construction materials, aluminum is the most affordable and isn't prone to corrosion. The initial cost of aluminum docks may be high, but they require minimal maintenance and can last many decades if well-maintained.

Wooden docks: Wooden docks are more common in residential waterfront properties and are made of wood with minimal use of other materials. These docks are affordable, environmentally friendly (wood is biodegradable), and strong enough to support big boats. However, wooden docks can be infested by termites (which eventually compromise their structural integrity), suffer wood rot with time, and wood splinter (on the decking) can cause injuries to the dock users.

Pick the right dock type.

Having described the types of docks depending on materials and installation methodology, you are now left with one hurdle – selecting the right dock. Here are tips to help you navigate this last and most important step to choosing a dock for your waterfront home.

Inspect the dock quality materials: This is the only way you can be sure that you are getting the full value for your money. If you plan to import the dock construction materials, consult with a professional to learn more about the authenticity of what you're about to purchase.

Use a professional dock builder every step of the way: Sure, it will cost you money to hire an experienced dock. However, the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. The professional will help you evaluate the dock's location, lakebed, water depth, intended dock use, and other essential factors. The builder will make expert recommendations in terms of dock type and materials. This way, you can rest assured that you will construct the perfect boat dock for your home.

Final thoughts

Assessing your needs and matching them with the most suitable dock type is the best way to choose a residential boat dock. Going in blindly with no plan or professional's help could mean you will get stuck with a dysfunctional boat dock that bows a hole into your finances. Therefore, it's in your best interests to contact VW Docks – a reputable boat dock builder that will help you conduct due diligence and choose a boat dock that best suits your waterfront home.

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