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(6 x 70-foot stationary L wood dock with cedar deck)
(floating dock with soft wood deck)
(cantilevered, articulating dock with a composite deck)
Cost to build a dock varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from boat transport and storage specialists in your city.
If you have a home on a lake, river, or other body of water, you likely need a dock to get full use of your property. Docks are not only the ideal place to fish and relax, but they also can help you to gain better access to the water. Many docks are used as a launching point for swimmers or to help board a boat or personal watercraft. If you want to get into your boat without getting wet, a dock is a necessity.
When choosing a dock, homeowners have a wide range of options when choosing the shape, size, material, and configuration. Most homeowners fall more in the average range of $7,000 and $25,000, with most spending around $14,000 for a 6 x 70-foot stationary L wood dock with a cedar deck. Docks vary widely in cost, with lower-end softwood deck floating docks running as low as $1,500. Cantilevered articulating docks cost as high as $50.000.
|National average cost||$14,000|
The cost to install a dock 1 depends largely on the type of decking you choose for the surface. Decking costs can range from low-end wood options to more expensive but extremely durable options, such as concrete. On average, a homeowner can expect to pay $11 per square foot for decking. When choosing which type of decking you want for your dock, consider how long you want it to last and the aesthetic appearance you desire. Below are some common boat deck prices based on the cost per square foot of materials only, ranging from $4 to $300.
|Type||Cost Per Square Foot (Only Materials)|
|Pine||$4 - $8|
|Plastic||$4 - $10|
|Cedar||$5 - $10|
|Vinyl||$5 - $12|
|Pressure Treated||$5 - $12|
|Aluminum||$8 - $15|
|Hardwood||$15 - $25|
|Synthetic Wood||$25 - $35|
|Concrete||$50 - $300|
For pine decking material, you can expect to pay between $4 and $8 per square foot. Pine wood is one of the most common types of softwood used for dock decking. It is popular because it is one of the most affordable and lasts up to 20 years if kept maintained. But the required maintenance is a drawback for some as it will need to be done annually. This can include applying a water sealer to prevent water saturation. Another drawback is it can splinter over time, requiring sanding 2 or plank replacement.
The cost for plastic decking materials runs between $4 and $10 per square foot. Plastic docking is often chosen because it is a low maintenance option. It is often made out of polypropylene, polyethylene 3, polyvinyl chloride, or a combination. The boards are lighter than other options and have a shiny appearance. Since no organic materials are used, it is resistant to rotting and mold. The main con to this option is that it can become hot to the touch on sunny days.
Cedar decking is relatively inexpensive, costing between $5 and $10 per square foot. Cedar decking is another popular softwood dock option that is considered to be an upgraded option from pine. It is rot-resistant and designed to last 25 years or more if properly treated. It stays cool in hot temperatures and can be stained to customize the look. One of the drawbacks that homeowners experience with cedar decking is that it requires annual waterproofing and can splinter. It tends to be knotty, which may damage the aesthetic appeal.
The cost per square foot for vinyl 4 decking materials runs between $5 and $12. A high-impact weather-resistant compound is used to create vinyl decking. This product is similar to vinyl siding but has been tested for use as dock decking material. The formula includes ultraviolet inhibitors, which make it resistant to fading when exposed to sunlight. This type of decking is resistant to flaking, peeling, and corrosion. Other benefits include that it is durable, slip-resistant, easy-to-clean, and will never need to be painted. These features make it a low maintenance option.
Pressure-treated wood runs between $5 and $12 per square foot. Pressure-treated lumber is often used for docks. This treatment makes it more resistant to rotting, fungus, and bugs. Pressure-treated wood is an affordable option and produces an aesthetically pleasing dock. There are some cons to this option, though. Over time, this type of material cracks, warps, or splits, requiring replacement. Additionally, it requires annual maintenance, such as applying a wood preservative and staining to help it last longer.
Aluminum dock cost for decking runs between $8 and $15 per square foot. For homeowners looking for decking that requires no maintenance, aluminum docks are the best option. They will not warp, rot, or decay and are durable enough to stand up to years of use. Aluminum decking can be powder coated and painted, which allows you to customize its look. You can even choose options painted to look like real wood. It tends to get hotter than wood decking but is still comfortable to the touch.
The main drawback to this form of decking is the cost, which runs between $15 and $25 per square foot just for the material. Exotic hardwoods 5 are often chosen for dock decking options due to their aesthetically pleasing look. Some common options include Tigerwood, Garapa, and Ipe. These hardwoods are resistant to rot, mold, and wood-boring insects. They do not deteriorate like softer wood options and do not retain heat like synthetic options. They are also low maintenance and made for longevity, with some varieties lasting up to 75 years.
This type of decking can be a more costly option, running between $25 and $35 per square foot. Synthetic decking is made from products that contain PVC. It can be created with solid PVC or wrapped in it. They require no regular maintenance and are designed to last for many years. Even though they are synthetic, they provide similar aesthetics to wood docks as they are designed with natural wood details.
The cost of concrete for this type of dock runs between $50 and $300 per square foot. Concrete docks are one of the most expensive options but are often chosen because they are designed to last for decades. They are free-floating and placed on top of joists to hold them in place. You can have it painted in various colors to gain the aesthetics you are looking for, and it requires no regular maintenance. The primary drawback besides the cost is that it came to become very hot to the touch when in the sun for long periods.
Labor is a large portion of the dock building costs. In most cases, dock installation cost runs around $30 per square foot, making a 6 x 30-foot dock cost approximately $5,400. The cost varies, however, depending on the type of dock and materials used. Labor rates can run as high as $50 an hour. Higher rates are charged in states with a higher cost of living. With labor and materials, the total dock construction cost average is around $14,000.
If you need to run electrical wiring to the dock for mooring or lifting, this costs $6 to $8 per linear foot, with most electricians charging a minimum of $200.
The installation of a dock varies tremendously depending on the type of dock. A typical piling dock begins with a CAD drawing to determine the size, shape, and load. Next, the water and waterbed are inspected to make sure it can handle the type of dock being considered. The area where the pilings will go is marked. They are driven deep into the sand beneath the water. This is done with a large machine that pounds the wood until it reaches the correct depth.
Once the pilings are sunk, the rest of the installation is a lot like a deck. A frame is built over the pilings, and the decking material is laid on top. This can take several days to four weeks to complete from start to finish depending on the deck’s size, the materials, and how deep the pilings must be sunk.
Since dock installation varies in complexity and requires professional equipment, it is always best to use a professional installer. Safety is also a top concern with docks. A professional installer knows the requirements that ensure it is safe and operational.
For a complete dock replacement, you will be charged both the dock installation and removal costs. The total depends on the dock removal cost and how much of the frame or substructure needs to be replaced. Removing the old decking on a dock runs between $250 and $1,000, depending on its size. In some cases, you may be able to replace the decking alone if there is damaged or rotted wood.
Other costs that can be associated with dock replacement involve the other components related to the dock. If the floats on a floating dock need to be replaced, you can expect to pay between $150 and $200. Repairs to frames cost between $150 and $500. New bumpers could add between $8 and $30 per sq.ft. Replacing pilings and pipe can be one of the most costly expenses running between $300 to $1,600 per piece.
If you are completely removing your dock and reinstalling a different one, you can expect to pay the removal cost of between $250 and $1,000, plus the cost of the new type of dock chosen, which can average $14,000.
The cost of your dock 1 largely depends on the number of square feet being installed, but the average cost per square foot is $30. The longer the dock, the more material will be used, and the longer the labor will take. Additionally, the water may become deeper the farther the dock extends, leading to added cost. Two primary dock types will be priced by square foot--piling and floating. Below you will see the average dock cost per square foot, ranging from $3,600 to $7,200.
|Square Footage||Average Cost (Including Labor)|
|120 sq. ft.||$3,600|
|150 sq. ft.||$4,500|
|180 sq. ft.||$5,400|
|210 sq. ft.||$6,300|
|240 sq. ft||$7,200|
|300 sq. ft||$9,000|
|360 sq. ft.||$10,800|
|420 sq. ft.||$12,600|
|480 sq. ft.||$14,400|
|540 sq. ft.||$16,200|
Many different types of docks are available. Some remain in the water year-round, while others are only put in at the start of the season and taken out later. Some docks use a combination of stationary and temporary portions that let you increase the size of the dock as needed. The type of dock you choose depends on the function you intend for it, the area it is being installed, and the aesthetics you are hoping to achieve. Depending on the type of dock you choose, you can expect to pay between $20 and $100 per square foot, including installation.
|Type of Dock||Average Cost Per Square Foot (Including Labor)|
|Floating||$20 - $35|
|Piling||$20 - $40|
|Pipe||$20 - $40|
|Wheel-in/ Roll-in||$25 - $35|
|Crib||$30 - $50|
|Lift-Up||$30 - $50|
|Modular||$40 - $50|
|Suspension||$50 - $100|
On average, you can expect to pay between $20 to $35 per square foot, including the cost of installation. Floating dock prices vary depending on the material being used. Aluminum floating dock prices are significantly less than the cost of concrete floating docks. Floating docks are a temporary dock that can be used on their own or affixed to another dock. They are a great option when you are looking to extend your dock or live on a body of water that freezes over in the winter. They can easily be removed before the freeze hits, protecting them from damage.
Floating docks may also be referred to as barrel docks. They are affixed to dock float drums or specialized containers that allow the dock to float along the surface of the water. Since they float with the water, they are not as affected by sudden rises in water levels, allowing them to be used even during rainy seasons. The only drawback to floating docks is they move when you walk on them. You must remove them from the water each year.
The cost to install dock pilings runs between $20 and $40 per square foot. When most people think of docks, piling docks most likely come to mind. These docks include wooden decking affixed to wooden pilings, which will be driven deep into the sand of the body of water to secure them. This type of dock is a permanent option and remains in the water throughout the year.
Since piling docks are stationary, they are ideal for anglers. The availability of various configurations and decking options allow you to better customize it to your liking. Drawbacks to this type of dock are that it can require a lot of maintenance since it is in the water all year long and requires special equipment to install. You also may have to make adjustments to it if you see a significant change in the water levels.
Pipe docks cost about the same as piling docks running between $20 to $40 per square foot, installed. Pipe docks are very similar in appearance to piling docks. They use pilings to secure them to the floor of the water body. Where they differ is the form of piling and installation process. Instead of wood, they use PVC pipe, which will be filled with concrete. This makes them weighted and easier to install. Because of this, you may also hear these referred to as PVC docks.
Since they are stationary, they are good for fishing and boarding boats. You can choose from multiple configurations, allowing you to set it up to best meet your needs. A variety of deck options allows you to customize the look of the dock. The main con of this is similar to piling docks, which is the fact that they are higher maintenance.
Wheel-in docks are relatively inexpensive, running between $25 and $35 per square foot installed. Wheel-in docks are constructed from aluminum with stainless steel screws to affix the legs. The design allows for adjustment from the top without having to get into the water. The ease of adjustment makes it ideal for moving it up and down when water levels change. They are designed for all water depths, from super shallow areas to areas with high depths.
They are extremely easy to install and are simply rolled into the water before being affixed into place. Once in the water, shims will be placed under the wheels to make them more stable. The aluminum material makes them durable and rust-free, meaning they will need little maintenance throughout the year. They can be placed in rocky, sandy, or firm areas, making them work in almost any type of body of water. The drawback to this type of dock is that they are not a permanent option and must be removed each year. There also may be installment issues if the slope to the water is steep.
Wooden crib docks can be one of the most expensive options, running between $30 and $50 per square, including installation. If you are looking for a dock type designed to last for years, a crib dock makes an aesthetically pleasing option. Crib docks are made from crates or wooden frames referred to as cribs, where they get their name. The frames are custom built and designed to be a permanent dock.
Once you have a crib dock design and the frame constructed, it will be filled with large rocks and then finished off with decking. They are extremely sturdy and meant to be a permanent dock. They are known as one of the most stable options but do not work everywhere. These types of docks will extend the shoreline and disrupt the natural flow of water and possibly wildlife. Because of this, they cannot be installed in every location, and you will need to check with local ordinances before beginning crib dock construction.
The installation of a lift-up dock will cost between $30 and $50 per square foot. Lift-up docks use an aluminum truss 6 design, which allows the entire frame of the dock to be lifted to keep it protected during the winter. The decking is separated into two-foot sections, affixed to a winch cable, and cranked up when it needs to be raised. They are a good option for deep water, with the ability to be placed in water up to fifteen feet deep.
Lift up docks are also available in multiple configurations. The most popular options are T, L, and U. They can also be designed to run parallel to the shoreline. When not being raised, the panels will be secured using locking trim strips that will make them able to hold up during harsh water conditions.
The cost to have a module dock installed runs between $40 and $50 per square foot. Modular docks are a type of floating dock designed for watersport lovers. They feature drive-on jet ski ports that allow drivers to ride up and dock them without getting off. They work by hovering just below the water and raise when the weight of the personal watercraft moves onto it.
Modular docks tend to be a more costly option as it requires special decking. It needs to be durable, safe, and slip-resistant. They are beneficial due to their function and stability but can be high maintenance. Modular docks are also designed to be aesthetically pleasing and can be customized to fit your desired configuration.
This type of dock is one of the most expensive ones, running between $50 and $100 per square foot with installation. Suspension docks may remind you of a traffic bridge as they use cables to hold them over the water instead of using a supporting foundation on the bottom. This provides them with the benefit of allowing water to flow freely beneath them.
They are sturdy and durable, making them able to withstand harsh winters without being removed. Since they are not fastened to the ground under the water, they can be raised or lowered to accommodate water level changes. The primary drawbacks are the fact that they are extremely high maintenance and expensive.
Suspension docks can be articulating docks or cantilevered docks. Articulating docks are designed to be raised to prevent ice damage. They can be designed in a U shape with a boat lift to raise both the boat and dock out of the water for the winter. A cantilevered dock is an alternative to an articulating dock and uses a counterbalance system to raise it out of the water. Both types of suspension docks are ideal if you are dealing with a sensitive ecosystem.
Docks can be installed on any body of water if allowed by the municipality. While the cost to install docks will be the same in almost any location, there are a few things to consider, depending on the location of the installation. The most common bodies of water to install docks are ponds, rivers, and lakes. Each location will present its challenges and maybe better for certain types of docks.
Ponds tend to be shallower, making installation an easier process and allowing you to choose from a wider range of options. A couple of popular options for ponds are piling docks and pipe docks as they offer many configurations. Typically pond docks will be used for swimming, fishing, and shallow-bottomed boats. You may prefer L, T, or H configurations for these activities. Although they can be pricey, some homeowners choose a suspension dock if their pond has a more fragile ecosystem.
Installing a dock on a river can present several unique challenges, depending on the depth of the river, the type of river bottom, and the flow of the water. River bottoms tend to be more rocky, making piling docks more difficult and expensive to install. In this instance, a floating dock may be the better option. They can be the best option with faster flowing water as they will move with it. Crib docks are not advisable in these areas because their installation can disrupt the flow of water.
One of the most common places to install a dock is on a lake. This is because lakes are often popular for boating, swimming, and other types of water activities. The cost of building a dock on a lake will be determined by the type and configuration of the chosen dock. If the water level is deep where you plan to install your dock, a piling dock would be more advisable than a crib dock due to the type of installation required. But a floating dock would be preferable to a piling dock if the bottom of the lake is more rocky than sandy.
The most common configuration for docks is to have the main portion extending straight out over the water, but this is not the only option. In some cases, a narrow walkway can widen out into a larger dock, only to narrow again at the boat slip.
In other cases, if you have multiple boats, it may be beneficial to configure the dock in an F, I, L, T, or H shape so that you can attach boat slips at various spaces. Other configurations may include a patio at one end or a Harbor-style dock with a walkway running parallel to the water and extending the arms outward.
The key to determining the dock configuration is to figure out how you intend to use it. Fishing, sunbathing, and entertaining may need a wider section, while a dock meant solely for accessing a single boat can be a narrow walkway.
F docks are distinctive by their two parallel extensions coming off of the main part of the dock, forming the F shape. This dock is most often used when docking a small personal watercraft between the two parallel extensions, allowing access from either side. They can be ideal when there are two watercraft, having one on each side of the parallel extensions.
I docks are the most common type of configuration and involve one simple straight extension out into the water. They can be the ideal option when one or more large boats are needed for docking. The large boat can simply lay to one or both sides on a shore station. Homeowners also choose this configuration when looking for the least costly and most simple installation option.
L docks are ideal for fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. They make a distinctive upside-down L shape, with one vertical piece and a horizontal decking piece, a horizontal piece that connects. The decking parallel to the shoreline creates ample space to set up chairs for fishing or for lounging while allowing you to enjoy the view of the water.
The T dock configuration works well for use as a fishing and swimming dock. It provides the added benefit of creating protected areas on both sides of the dock. These areas can be great for young children to swim. If the T configuration is used for personal watercraft, you will have space on each side to dock multiple ones. The T dock will have one extended dock straight from the shoreline, with decking parallel to the shoreline connected at the top.
H docks are distinctive by having two primary docks connected in the center by a perpendicular middle piece. They are a good option if you use your dock for multiple functions at one time, as it provides ample space apart from each other. It allows you space to dock one or more watercraft while also having a separate space to enjoy fishing.
You can expect to spend anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000 for a double-decker boat dock, with the average running around $30,000. A customized option when you are looking to create a space to store your boat and for entertaining, a double-decker boat dock might be a good option. These docks feature a main dock, water level that allows you to easily board and deboard a boat. An overhead deck is constructed above where the boat will dock, creating a living and entertainment space. The upper deck provides some basic protection for the boat when inclement weather occurs. Since these docks require extensive planning, design, and labor, they are significantly more expensive than other options.
Docks are not for everyone. Not only do you need to have direct access to a body of water, but you also need to make use of that access for a dock to be truly needed. If you swim regularly, entertain, or have a boat you want to be moored for easy access, a dock can be very beneficial. Having a dock allows you to fish, barbecue, swim, and boat with ease.
However, even if you regularly use a dock, it requires a lot of maintenance to stay in good condition. If your dock is stationary, you need to check it for wood rot, even below the water level. You also need to periodically replace the decking and stain and scrape it regularly.
Docks can sometimes become a liability. If you have people who enter your yard and use your deck without permission, you may be held liable for accidents unless you gate the entrance. Docks may also attract nuisance birds and wildlife such as ducks, loons, and herons that may soil the decking.
Moveable docks must be put in and taken out of the water each year and cleaned and inspected. This amounts to a lot of work, even if you do not use the dock frequently.
The maintenance that your dock needs varies tremendously based on things like the climate, type of water, type of docking material, and how much use it gets.
At a minimum, you should inspect the dock at the end of each season. Keep it clean, and make any necessary repairs to worn, cracked, or broken areas. If your dock is moveable, removing it from the water at the end of each season helps extend its life. Docks with wood decking require regular annual maintenance to extend their life. This can include staining, oiling, and providing a protective water sealant. Warped or damaged boards should also be watched and replaced.
While docks and decks both include decking and can be linked to entertainment and recreation, their location and primary functions differ. Docks are placed along the water, starting at the shoreline and extending outward. They are used to make it easier to get into the water, as a place to fish, or to make it easier to get on and off various watercraft. The average price for docks is $14,000, while the average price for a deck is $12,000.
Decks can be placed along the shoreline or extended further into the water. They can be attached to your home to create an additional outdoor living or entertaining space. Decks range in design, size, and functions. Smaller versions may simply be used as a place to relax and get some sun, while others may be large enough to accommodate an entire outdoor living area.
The main difference between a dock and a pier is their function. Simply put, a dock acts more as a parking space while a pier functions more as a sidewalk. Piers are not designed to dock boats at but as a transitional structure between water and land. Piers are often made of concrete or steel. Piers can often be constructed to allow homeowners to travel between the shore and a boat dock farther across the water. The cost to build a pier will run between $125 and $300 per square foot.
Many boat docks have additional structures nearby, including boathouses. To dig a foundation for these structures, factor in an additional $9 per square foot. If you choose to build a boathouse in addition to your dock, this adds between $10,000 and $20,000 to the cost.
Some docks used year-round may benefit from having a covered section to keep the sun and rain off the boat. Typically, covered docks can be built of the same materials as the rest of the dock, although aluminum docks usually have a stretched canvas top. Expect to add $12,000 to the project for a wooden covered dock.
A boat lift helps you make more use of your boat and may even replace a traditional dock. Boat lifts are designed to raise and lower your boat into the water, helping passengers get into and out of them. They can also keep your boat from floating away, especially when the water level gets high. These lifts can be used to pull your boat out of the water during colder water when it will not be in use. Boat lifts can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, with an average price of $8,000.
Sometimes adding lighting to your dock can create the perfect finishing touch. Dock lighting is beneficial for aesthetic reasons and as a way to let watercraft out at night easily make out the area that your dock encompasses. A variety of types of lighting are available for you to add to your dock. Underwater lights are a great way to illuminate your whole dock. Motion-activated floodlights save power but illuminate the area when needed. Piling lights can provide some ambiance without being too harsh on the eyes. LED bumper lights create a unique appearance. If you choose to have lighting installed, you can expect to pay an electrician $40 to $100 per hour for at least three to four hours of work.
If you use your dock to get in and out of the water for swimming or tubing, then a dock ladder is a must. Dock ladders make it safer to enter and exit the water and lower the risk of injury. While most dock ladder options are created with aluminum, you can opt for wooden designs. All the ladders use special hardware to secure the ladder to the dock making it more stable. The cost of dock ladders ranges between $200 and $800.
If you plan to move your watercraft in and out of the water regularly, then a dock ramp may be worth adding. Dock ramps are designed for launching boats and allow you to back the boat easily into the water using your vehicle. You can also have smaller ramps installed for use with personal watercraft to easily get it in and out of the water. The cost of a dock ramp depends on the size, but you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $4,500 to have one installed.
Dock bumpers are installed along the sides of the dock. They are placed there to protect both the dock and the boat if the boat hits it during the docking process. If your boat were to gently hit one, it would slightly bounce back without causing any damage. The cost of dock bumpers varies with the size, but they can cost as low as $80 to as high as $175 each.
Mooring whips are designed to protect boats in areas where the wake is rough. They look like fishing poles that are affixed to certain angles, tensioned, and then arched downward to hook your boat when it comes in. The tension keeps your boat a safe distance from the dock. This protects your boat’s finish and prevents dock rash from occurring. Mooring whips cost between $250 and $600, depending on the brand choice and size needed for your boat.
There is a wide range of costs for boat docks. Boat docks cost as little as $1,500 to as high as $50,000, though most will spend around $14,000.
If you are using the dock in freshwater, pressure-treated wood to .60 pcf is necessary. Cypress, cedar, and Douglas fir are good choices.
The time depends on the type and size of the dock. Some docks can be built in a day, while others may require a week or more.
Expect to pay a minimum of $12,000 for a covered dock.
Dock repairs vary tremendously depending on what the material is and where the repair is needed. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $250 per square foot for repairs.
A deck is a structure used on land. A dock is a similar structure meant for use on the water.
(6 x 70-foot stationary L wood dock with cedar deck)
(floating dock with soft wood deck)
(cantilevered, articulating dock with a composite deck)
Cost to build a dock varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from boat transport and storage specialists in your city.