Choosing The Right Style And Material For Your Lake House Dock

Posted on: 10 January 2018

If you just purchased a lake house, you may now be looking to outfit it with a dock for watersport activities. You'll need to figure out which style of dock you prefer: floating or fixed, and you'll need to figure out which material you prefer.

What's the Difference Between a Floating and a Fixed Dock?

Like the name suggests, floating docks just float on the surface of the water, so they will rise and fall with the water level. Fixed docks are situated on pilings and do not change height as the water level goes up and down. They are both good options depending on your goals. For instance, if your family likes to swim or sunbathe, then a floating dock may be better since it will be easier and safer to dive into the water. Floating docks can also be easier to disembark on to since they will be at the same level as the lake.

However, fixed docks also have their advantages. They are definitely more suitable for rough waters because of their stability. So if you live in a windy area or a lot of people in your area go boating, then a fixed dock may be better. Also, other than winterization preparations, fixed docks typically require less maintenance than floating docks.

What are the Pros and Cons of Different Dock Materials?

Pressure-treated wood is often the go-to material for docks, especially fixed ones. Wood is popular because it beautiful and affordable. The biggest downside is that moisture from the lake can eventually warp, splinter, and rot the wood. This means that you need to be willing to invest a lot of time and maintenance to preserve the wood, should you go this route.

If you aren't a fan of high-maintenance wood, then aluminum docks are the way to go. Aluminum is quite resistant to corrosion, so it can last you a long time with little maintenance. Despite being a lightweight material, if welded properly, aluminum docks can be very durable. The biggest downside is that you may have to pay more upfront for installation. But since there will be less maintenance required, ideally the costs should balance out.

Other materials you may want to look into include vinyl and composite. Vinyl lasts for many years and is super low-maintenance since you just have to hose off dirt, bird droppings, and other debris. Again, the big downside is the cost. Composite has similar benefits to vinyl, but it is more affordable. However, composite does not last nearly as long as vinyl and will need to be replaced if it isn't taken care of.

Contact a general contractor in your area for more information on different dock styles and materials. A contractor will help you figure out which kind of dock will fit in your budget and make the most sense for your lifestyle.