Should you build your own boat dock?
Some projects are just made for the DIY crowd.
For most people, building a boat dock that is structurally sound and meant to last as many years as possible probably isn’t one of these projects. It’s a project that certainly benefits from experienced hands and know-how.
That’s because building a structure that’s meant to sit – and last – in the water is not the same as building structures that have the benefit of sitting on land. We’re not saying it can’t be done, but you need to be sure any boat dock you might build yourself is going to be top quality and build to last.
Let’s take a closer look at why you may want to consult an experienced professional in designing and building docks for your project. To start, ask yourselves the following questions.
Why would someone build a dock themselves?
The primary reason a person would take on a boat dock project themselves is to save money up front. As with many similar construction projects, hiring someone to do it for you is going to cost more initially.
However, it’s important to consider whether you might save money in the mid- to long-run if a professional builds the dock. With professional builds, you’ll know that the sturdy structure will be able to withstand all elements the water can throw its way. That likely means a lesser chance of costly repairs down the road.
If you want that reassurance, then it’s probably the best decision to hire a professional to design and build your dock.
How big of a dock do you want?
The first thing to consider when planning whether to build a boat dock yourself or hire out the project is to decide the desired size of the boat dock needs to be. Boat docks are not easy to build, no matter the size.
For many, a large boat dock that is large enough for multiple boats or watercraft may be a little too much to take on. However, if we are talking about a simple dock that might be a launching point for one boat, then it could be done as long as you have enough handyman skills and that do-it-yourself drive.
Do you know what type of dock is right for your property?
There are many different types of boat docks – and not all are right for every property. If you decide to go the DIY route, you will need to put in additional hours of research to determine which boat dock type is best for your property.
For those who are not familiar with different types of boat docks, the simplest place to start when deciding a structure type is to figure out whether you should go with a stationary or a floating dock. But there are more options than that to consider and research.
By working with an expert in designing and building boat docks, you can get the professional opinion of someone who does this sort of thing for a living. They may have a better idea of what dock type best suits the needs of your property, and personal preferences.
Have you thought about materials?
Deciding the dock type is just one of the first steps. You will also need to determine the best materials for the job. Again, a professional can help here.
However, if you are leaning toward a DIY route, then you will want to put additional research into whether you want a dock that is primarily wood, aluminum or steel. You likely will need to decide what is the best material for the decking of the structure, which is the part you and everyone else who uses the dock will walk on.
Don’t forget about parts that may be required to build the dock or any extra accessories you may want for the structure, such as ladders, railings, bumpers and more. This will be particularly important to cover during the design phase of your dock project.
Can you stay safe when installing the dock?
In some cases, boat dock installation requires getting in the water while also handling sometimes heavy materials. Safety needs to be a consideration whenever water is involved, but especially when you are planning to install a dock.
A professional dock installation is a good decision if you are concerned about the safety factor.
Do you have time?
Don’t underestimate how much time it will take to build a boat dock. The process itself begins with the research and design phase. Then there is the ordering, cutting and preparing of materials. You’re probably looking at a number of weeks for this.
Then, there’s the actual buildout phase. The time commitment here will vary widely due to dock size, experience of the builder and other factors. You could be looking at several days or several weeks.
Be sure to ask whether that’s a time commitment you can make.
Maintenance and cleaning: Perfect boat dock DIY projects
While we’d recommend leaving building boat docks to the pros and experienced, If you’re itching to put your handyman skills to the test, then annual maintenance and cleaning are ideal opportunities for you to flex some DIY muscle.
Plus, winter is the perfect time to take care of those routine maintenance needs that all boat dock owners should be aware of, including repairing damaged wood, replacing nails and screws, and of course, cleaning the right and environmentally safe way. Not only will these basic tasks keep your dock in ship shape, they also will help the structure last longer and be a better investment for your lakefront or riverside property.
Get a quality, professionally built boat dock
When you want a dock that is built right and built to last, hiring a professional is the way to go. VW Docks is ready to tackle your biggest boat dock projects. We would love to hear from you about your dream dock and what that would look like.
As we said, we are excited to take on your challenge – from design, to build and to install. Just request a free quote to tell us a little more information about your project, then we will be in touch with you soon.
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