How To Build A Dock: 10 Steps (with Video)

Building a dock isn’t as tricky as it sounds. All you need is a great guide to help you along the way and some friends to help during construction. Be honest with yourself before building a dock, if you are a terrible craftsman or have never attempted anything like this before, consider asking some building buddies to help out with the technical fixings and tricky parts.

Before you begin this guide, make sure you do some planning, work out the dimensions which you desire and have a place ready for construction. Don’t be afraid to add your own unique finish to your dock like railings and other aesthetics. This guide is just a basic how to and can be expanded upon with ease.

  1. Get your supplies

  • Pressure treated lumber for supports and walkway
  • Empty 55 gallon plastic barrels
  • 100 feet of strong rope
  • Screw-in Eye hooks
  • Galvanized screws and nails
  • Power drill
  • Waterproof silicone

Depending on the size of your dock you will need a varying amount of materials.

  1. Take supplies to the water’s edge

Bring all your supplies to the water’s edge. The closer the better, once you have constructed the dock it will be very heavy to lift and move.

  1. Construct square frame

Build a square frame with your timber, your size will vary but we will be using an 8 by 8 foot square for this guide.

  1. Prepare barrels

Ensuring your barrels are completely empty, tighten all plugs and apply a waterproof silicone sealant around the plugs to prevent any leaks.

  1. Add supports to frame

Measure to find the center of your square. Starting in the middle and working your way out, completely cover the top of your square with timber lengths.

  1. Add barrel supports

Run 4 pieces of timber parallel to the middle support timber. These pieces are used to stop your barrels from moving so put them where they prevent the barrel from rolling. Like a stopping chock for vehicle wheels, the same principle applies. Once in place, screw these pieces in tightly.

  1. Fix your barrels

Fix your support hooks on the middle support and the outer length of your square. You should use 2 straps across each barrel and fix them in place firmly.

Repeat steps 4 – 7 until you have an even layer of barrels on each half of your dock.

  1. Check your dock can take your weight

With the help of a friend, flip your dock over and walk along the top, if you find any weak spots you should fix them now to avoid future accidents. This is also a good time to ensure your plank’s do not hang over the edge of the dock and make any final adjustments.

  1. Float the dock

Lift the dock and place it in the water, remember to fix the dock to land with a rope to stop it from floating away.

  1. You’re all done!

That’s all there is too it, now would be a great time to add some rails and ladders if you wish to use the dock for snorkeling or getting out of the water after a swim.

Check this video for step by step instructions on how to build a dock:

Author: John Clax

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