How wonderful it is to enjoy your morning cup of tea on your own newly built dock! Investing on a private dock in front of your home does not only offer functional and recreational use but also adds value to your property. However, take note that constructing a dock will require expert skill especially in building the foundation piling – the most essential aspect of your dock.
In today’s discussion, we will give you why a solid dock foundation piling is important and how you can achieve it. Let us start on how foundation pilings work in the succeeding section.
How do Foundation Pilings Work?
Docking stations are perfect additions to a waterfront business or home for a lot of reasons such as swimming, fishing, and entertainment. Similar to a deck, a dock is composed of beams, posts, footers, decking, joists, and railings. But, the requirements and techniques for building the foundation piling of a dock are a bit different. This is because unlike decks, docks sit in water.
But before installing your own private dock, you should know how you will be using it. Will you be adding any accessories like a ladder, a bench, a fish cleaning station, railings, lighting, and storage lockers? Or maybe you also want to add a docking station for your vessel. These factors will ultimately affect your dock’s foundation piling.
What is the Purpose of a Foundation?
The main purpose of a foundation is to give support to structures. It helps transfer the structure’s full load to rock and soil layers beneath the ground.
Generally, foundations have enough capacity to bear loads to support structures of any size and weight. But, this will depend on the following key aspects:
- Your budget
- The structure’s type
- The ground’s original condition
- The durability of the foundation materials
- Proximity to nearby structures
- Sensitivity to vibration and noise
- The existence of other factors like water
Piled foundations, also referred to as deep foundations, are formed using long frames. These column-like frames can be made of timber, concrete, or steel and are ‘piled’ or driven deep into the ground. In general, piled foundations have depths 3x their breadths.
For dock foundations, their pilings are really important because the foundations sit in water. Meaning, the soil in the water’s surroundings is not ideal for preventing excessive settlement. Thus, a deep foundation is required.
How Do You Build a Solid Dock Foundation?
Close scrutiny is required in the construction of your dock’s foundation piling. Your whole dock will rest on the integrity and strength of its foundation. When you install your dock’s foundation, you need to take into account the following important considerations:
#1 Prevent Your Foundation From Rotting
Your dock’s foundation will rot especially if you used wood. Make sure that you coat them with enough chemicals to prevent wood rot. If not, look for alternative materials like reinforced concrete or fiberglass.
#2 Add Protective Barriers to Your Pilings
Your dock’s foundation pilings will be submerged in the water for a long time. So, it is important that you create protective barriers around the pilings before you drive them into the ground. One way is by wrapping wood pilings.
#3 Add Protection to the Pilings Above the Water
Install piling caps on the parts of your pilings that are exposed on the surface. These will protect the exposed parts from elements such as snow, rain, and UV rays.
What Are the Types of Foundation Piling?
There are three common types of foundation piling. Below, we are going to look closer into each one of them.
#1 Fiberglass Pilings
These are a bit expensive compared to wood pilings but fiberglass pilings can last for decades with little deterioration. Plus, they are unlikely to rust, crumble, or rot which makes them worthy of your investment. Your dock can even last for 30 years.
#2 Greenheart Wood Pilings
Greenheart woods are popular around the globe because of their incredible durability and strength. These rainforest hardwoods are ideal for extreme applications and are almost more than 4 times stronger than fir wood or treated pine variations. Moreover, they have amazing resistance to marine decay and do not require chemical treatment prior to the installation.
#3 Treated Wood Pilings
These are used for a wide range of applications, from landscaping fences to telephone poles and most marinas. You should consider a treated wood piling with adequate treatment that can survive in salt-water applications. You can look for CCA-treated wood that has a saltwater immersion treatment value of at least 2.5 CCA.
Building your own fixed private dock is a fun experience. But, doing your research before building one is always recommended to make sure that you will have a dock that will last for years. We hope that this guide was able to help you. Have fun in building your personal dock!