View Full Version : Anyone know about building docks?

06-06-2005, 05:54 PM
Looks like there is no other more appropriate board for this....

I will soon be repairing a wood dock in salt water. It practicall needs to be rebuilt, but since regulation requires it be repaired rather than replaced, I have to attempt it.

Anyone can give me some tips on how to go about it? What wood, hardware, design, etc. to use? What is the process? Any other things to watch out for..... Thanks a lot.

06-07-2005, 10:24 AM
Repair might mean all you have to wind up is one original peice of wood. *It is possible you can "repair" it using modern substitute materials. *It all depends on what the definition of "it" is. ;D

06-07-2005, 12:53 PM
be sure you use pressure treated wood of course. are you working in salt water or fresh? tidal docks require a lot more mechanical finesse. my community in inverness has a pretty elaborate dock on tomales bay with floats and deep pilons etc. it's alot of work to maintain.

06-07-2005, 06:04 PM
If it were me, I'd use Trex. It's zero maintenance, and will last a life time.

06-09-2005, 08:18 AM
There are several plastics out there right now...

Trex has the best flexability and won't degrade...at least not from what we've seen so far.

The county (Sonoma) has built a deck out on Doran Park across from the coast guard station you can look at. The only problem with Trex is, that it stains, with any oil based product.

Slipping can be a problem when wet...I don't know if they've come up with a surfacing material for it that sticks.

Make sure you check the regs carefully regarding the location...club, state, county, CCR's...they all spec different amounts of deck that can remain on repairs.

Is it a floating/tidal deck that slips on pilings or a stationery deck that has a fix on level?...I've done floaters with very large sealed foam blanks that are made for that purpose.

There are guide rollers made specifically for piles where decks roll up and down with the tide.

Pressure treated wood works...but...the chemicals used in particular varieties are tough to take as splinters in kids feet....keep an eye on your liability position...safety first...height off the water...toe rails and hand rails??

All hardware should be made of stainless steel, screws available readily but pricey...put the bucks in it and you'll reap the rewards in years to come.

pm me with any specific questions...more than happy too

09-01-2005, 06:48 AM
After much thought, I've come up with more questions:

1. Is Styrofoam billets better or Flotation drums better?

2. Trex is adequate for decking; but given the softness isue can Trex be used for the frame of the dock?

2(b). Is Trex decking boards used just like a wood board? I mean, do I just screw into Trex boards?

3. Where around bay area is a good place to buy dock building supplies (stainless steel bolts, flotation , Trex, etc.)?


09-01-2005, 07:11 AM
Flotation....styrofoam will not waterlog, flotation drums depend on the air inside, eventually they leak and must be replaced, I built a floating dock over 30 years ago on foam and its still there today.

Trex...use stainless screws and screw through the trex just as you would wood. Do not use trex for the frame..pressure treated as mentioned above...acza if you can find it, do not use hem fir or mixed species plating material...make sure it is below grade material

Hardware...Most lumber yards carry trex now, and you can order stainless screws anywhere..stainless bolts are something else.

there is a lumberyard on Cutting Blvd in Richmond that supplies the point richmond harbor with repair material, I'll get the name for you. You may be able to get the foam there as well...if not

the estuary in Alameda has a couple of boat repair facilities and they can direct you to the nearest source.

If this is going to be a floating dock try devising a guide system to roll with the tide...It will make everyones life alot easier....Good luck...I'll pm you with the yard name

09-01-2005, 08:11 AM
Styrofoam it is. Thanks Rusty_Hooks.

That being the case, how do I fix the styrofoam billets to the dock frame so to prevent vertical separation? Or do I even need to do so given the weight of the frame and decking? The floating dock will be in tidal area with wakes from vessel traffic.

Most of the docks I see simply have frames that restrict billets' side movement. This design from Dow company ( http://www.dow.com/styrofoam/na/res-us/installations/floating_dock_6_10.htm ) seems to have a "Skid" board below the billet but it's not clear how that's attached to the entire docking system.

09-01-2005, 08:18 AM
Questions about skirt boards. Assuming I can find ACZA treated wood boards for frame:

1. Does the skirt boards needs to clear waterline? By how much?

2. Should I still paint the skirt boards?

09-01-2005, 08:26 AM
Check the detail...

there is a carriage bolt through the skid, foam and cross member support at the base of the deck frame...

That looks like a good design and it will ride high on the water. ;)

They're calling for galvanized metal, which will work as long as it's hot dipped, not plated...Stailess is going to be pricey, but will last longer...

the trex will outlast everything else!!

09-01-2005, 09:53 AM
Can you elaborate on your comment: "do not use hem fir or mixed species plating material...make sure it is below grade material"? What is "mixed species plating material"? What does "below grade material" mean?

Regarding putting carriage bolt through the skid and billets, do I just drill a hole all the way through them? The skid board and the bottom end of the stainless steel bolts I use to secure it will be submerged in salt water. Wouldn't this part decay much faster than the rest of the dock and need to be repaired sooner? How long do you think this part will last?

09-01-2005, 10:17 AM
Pressure treated lumber comes in different grades and uses different woods in the production

Hem fir is a species of fir that is very soft and is used in particular areas of the construction of wood frame structures.

Since it is very soft it is not resilient to abuse, impact, rot and damage done by long term exposure to water

In addition the different grades of pressure treating allow for lesser pressure treating for wood to be used above grade as in the bottom sill plate of a wood frame wall...hence "plating" stock.

You would want to use "Douglas fir" wood with a below grade rating of the pressure treatment. It is a harder and stronger wood and will stand up to the rigors of a deck in salt water much better.

Certain parts of the dock will be "wet" all of the time, true.

These parts should be the highest grade of material and the holes will be drilled through all of them. The carriage bolt head will go on the skid side for ease of dragging if necessary and bolted on the top, under the decking as in the diagram.

Don't worry about the life expectancy of the deck...if your going to use SS and below grade DF wood, it will out last you and I and be there for your children to repair...

leave details for them ;D ::)

09-01-2005, 10:38 AM
Hehehe I like the way you put it.

09-02-2005, 06:52 AM
While searching for stainless steel bolts online, I came across this thing called EZ Dock ( http://www.ez-dock.com ).

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this product?

09-02-2005, 07:09 AM
Request a sample of the material....

Good idea...

UV resistance level?

Surface degradation?

Bolt or connector material?

I see they are hollow....Flotation insurance...foam?

I see they say the need for foam is eliminated..??
They are still hollow....

hollow things fill up eventually..I'm always skeptical

The system looks reasonable..check it out

09-02-2005, 09:58 PM
JasonB and I were up at Bucks Lake this Spring, and I'm almost positive that was they type of dock they had at the landing. I was'nt impressed from what I remember. It had no stability what so ever, and seemed very slick to walk on.

Very durable material though......that was one plus. :-/

09-03-2005, 08:47 PM
I was a pile driver/bridge dock builder for a while but didn't do much on docks. I have used trex and other plastic woods and think that would be great for the surface but cant use it for the framing. also you need to keep the spacing between the (joists) or whatever you would call it on a dock. or it will have to much flex. using pressure treated for the frame I think would be best but I hear the new chemical they use for pressure treated will eat through alot of the bolts/screws so you have to get the right type or put some material between the bolts and the wood. If you do drill holes in the pressure treated wood I would spray some copper green or copper clear in the holes to prevent fungus damage/dry rot.
I'm sure no matter how long it lasts it will be a fun project so have fun. ;)

09-04-2005, 06:00 AM
I looked in many stores and could not find ACZA treated lumber. One store told me they might be able to order it; while the another said ACZA is banned in California. Anyone know what the truth is?

If in fact this is no longer available in CA, what would be the best alternative lumber for marine use?