build your own dock

Would you like to replace your old dock with a new, improved version? Is your waterside home crying out for a beautiful dock to be installed?

Building a dock at your home allows you to enjoy the water, whether you’re in it or on it! We’ll show you that building your own dock is not as hard as you might think. With a high-quality dock package and some simple instructions, your family will be able to enjoy your waterfront property to the full.

Join us as we explore everything you need to know about how to build your own dock.

What Makes up a Boat Dock?

Docks sit on a level surface at the water’s edge. Brackets attached to the sections hold the dock pipes securely in place. The dock pipes attach to the lake bottom by one of two systems - footpads or auger feet.

Footpads are ideal when the lake bottom or river bed is made of firm, compacted sand or gravel. The dock pipes extend beyond the footpads and into the lake bottom, providing a secure footing for the dock.

Auger feet effectively screw into the lake bottom. You can use them when the conditions are too soft for regular footpads.

Once the first dock panel is securely in place, you can add further panels. There are many configurations available. You can also create customized dock configurations.

Select The Perfect Dock Package

Modular dock systems from Tommy Docks provide everything you need to build your own dock at home. Packages include:

  • Frame
  • Cedar or composite deck sections
  • Deck poles and feet
  • Brackets

The best value options are wooden docks made of sustainable cedar. The wood is untreated and won’t harm the environment. It’s light and easy to work with but requires annual staining and sealing.

Aluminum framed docks are lightweight and easy to install. Cedar sections allow them to retain their classic looks. 

Premium docks feature aluminum frames and marine-grade composite decking. This is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a maintenance-free dock.

Which Configuration Is Best?

If you’ve got the space, there’s no need to limit yourself to a straight dock! At Tommy Docks, we offer T-shaped and L-shaped dock packages. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you can add extra sections to create your own custom design.

Do I Need Normal or Heavy Duty?

In most cases, normal duty will be enough. However, heavy-duty is best in the following conditions:

  • Strong currents
  • Deepwater
  • Windy conditions
  • Heavy boat traffic

What You Need to Build Your Own Dock — The Prerequisites

It’s possible to install your dock using regular household tools. You’ll need:

  • Cordless drill
  • ½” drill bit
  • Level - 3’ or 5’
  • 3/4” socket wrench
  • 9/16” socket wrench
  • 3/4” wrench

To make the process easier, safer, and more precise, consider investing in three additional pieces of equipment. 

  • Flotation log
  • Auger wrench
  • Winch leveling system

These are all available on our website. This is definitely a two-person job, so call a buddy over to help.

Installing Your Dock: Step-By-Step Instructions

Start off by creating a solid, level base for the dock at the water’s edge. You can use blocks or pavers to do this. It’s essential to get it perfectly level so that the dock doesn’t sit unevenly and bounce when you walk on it.

Install the Brackets

Take your first section of the dock and remove the brackets from their packaging. The bolts are conveniently stored right in the pipe. Remove the orange cap to access them.

Position the bracket and drill the hole for the bolt. Insert the bolts and screw on the nut from the inside. Use the wrench to hold the nut in place while you tighten the bolt with the socket wrench.

Now insert the dock pipe. You’ll need to estimate the length at this point, but you can adjust it later.

Add the Footpads

Grab a footpad and position it 4-6” from the bottom of the dock pipe. This will allow enough clearance for the pipe to fix securely to the lake bottom. Tighten the footpad in position using the 9/16” wrench.

If the lake bottom is loose soil, you will need to purchase and install auger feet. Attach the auger feet to the ends of the poles. If the lake bottom is soft, add footpads above each auger foot.

Use a pipe wrench to screw the auger feet into the lake bottom.

Level the Dock

When both brackets, dock pipes, and footpads are in place, lower the dock into position. It’s crucial at this point to get it totally level. You will need to adjust the dock pipes to do this.

If you’d rather stay out of the water, the winch leveling system can help. It allows you to make adjustments from the dock level. When it’s level, you’re ready to add the next section. 

Adding Sections

If you’d like to stay out of the water as you add sections or are working in water that gets deep quickly, use flotation logs. Position them under the far edge of the dock section. They will keep the dock afloat, allowing you to attach them without getting wet!

Prepare the next section by attaching the brackets and dock poles. Either by entering the water or using the flotation log, position it in place and secure it using the bolts provided. Ensure that it is level and the feet are secure before you move to the next section.

Continue adding sections until the dock is complete!

Time to Start Building Your Dream Dock

At Tommy Docks, we’ve got everything you need to bring your dock dreams to life.

Whether you want to build a simple dock for fishing and swimming or something more elaborate for larger watercraft, we’ve got you covered. Our dock packages come with detailed instructions, and there are helpful videos on our website to guide you through every step of the process. 

Check out our wide range of complete boat dock packages and find your perfect fit today!

Tommy Docks Podcast

Listen along as Tommy Dock's Owner Owen Jones explores the meaning of living on the water. Dive deeper into conversation with industry experts on everything outdoors. Don't be a stranger, grab a beer and join us on the dock.

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