7 Construction Tips for Building a Dock at Your Cottage

You have just recently bought a cottage by the beach. The view from your window is breathtaking. You want to get more out of your new home. You imagine having breakfast or dinner suspended over the water.

But you need a dock to be able to enjoy this very unique experience. The good news is that you can have a dock built in no time, and the following tips should get you started on the task.

1. Design It First

Before you embark on the construction of a dock, have it designed first. Think about the size of the dock you want and then have it designed to exact specifications. The design will largely depend on how you plan to use it. Think of what other extras you will need such as a ladder and essential dock hardware. Other factors such as having a storage or a table on the dock will determine the design of your dock.

2. Do Your Homework

Before you start constructing a dock, find out which rules apply in your locality. For instance, walk or drive to the local township for guidance on what the requirements are. You don’t want to construct a beautiful dock only to have it pulled down for flouting regulations. Find out if the dock you are planning to build will require a permit.

3. Get a Permit

While there may be areas where a dock construction permit is not required, in some places a new dock construction may require a permit. For instance, if the place you want to construct a dock is restricted due to environmental concerns, or perhaps the area is a fish habitat, you will need to contact the appropriate department for approvals.

4. Do a Site Survey

Inspect the area where you want to build your dock. Once you have identified the preferred site, move all the building supplies nearer that area and construct it from there. This is because, when it’s complete, it can be very heavy and difficult to carry.

5. Determine the Ideal Dock’s Elevation

The elevation of the dock should be durable and practical. The height from the water surface to the dock should be adequate enough to allow a clear elevation while at the same time be practical enough for one to get on to the dock without much strain. You should be able to easily enter or come out of a boat from the dock without difficulty. As a general guide, place the bottom of the beam a few inches above the lake’s highest water level.

6. Sink the Posts and Concrete Deep into the Lake Bed

While frost heave is usually not a big challenge with a lot of dock footers, it is advisable to sink your posts and concrete at least three feet past the lake bed. This ensures that your dock is anchored deep enough to support the dock load. Besides, such a depth provides your posts with lateral stability.

7. Don’t Do It Yourself

Even if you are DIY enthusiast, let a professional build it for you, unless this is actually what you do for a living. The last thing you want is for your dock to collapse under your family’s weight when having dinner or breakfast. A professional knows exactly what they are doing and will make sure that your dock is safe enough to withstand the test of time.

Building a dock at your cottage can be an exciting experience. The dock should, however, be purpose-built to ensure functionality and stability. It should be built by a professional with a track record of constructing docks. Such a professional should be able to advise you on everything from the materials to use, the permits, if any, required, and the most appropriate area for constructing a dock.

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