Website design By BotEap.comYou need a new floating dock or want to add to an existing one, but money is tight so you are considering building your own. The cost of a finished dock includes the following:

Website design By• The cost of manufacturing the spring parts.
• The cost of transporting the dock parts to the final location.
• The cost of assembling the parts on a finished dock.

Website design By BotEap.comIt’s easy to see that building a floating dock yourself can save you the cost of paying someone to assemble it for you. This article will show you how you can save money on both parts and shipping, too, by choosing the right frame materials.

Website design By BotEap.comGalvanized steel
There are many companies that manufacture galvanized steel frames. They are often sold as part of a kit that includes floats designed to work with the frames. These frames typically come in sizes ranging from 2×8 ‘to 8’x10’. Each frame is typically a single welded assembly that is hot dip galvanized after it has been welded. Larger frames can weigh up to 300 pounds and depending on where the dock frames are manufactured, shipping can represent a large percentage of the final cost of the dock.

Website design By BotEap.comThe significant weight of a steel frame dock not only increases the cost of shipping, but an 8×20 ‘steel frame dock with suggested float will weigh 930 pounds before the rig is attached. If your dock has to get out of the water every winter, this may not be the dock for you. Another disadvantage of steel frame springs is that the metal is protected by a galvanized coating. No holes can be drilled in the frame or the protective layer will break and the metal will rust. This makes adding or modifying the base more difficult.

Website design By BotEap.comTreated wood
Another option is to frame your dock with pressure-treated lumber purchased locally. With this option, you typically purchase a hardware kit that has galvanized steel brackets and fasteners. The hardware kit is small and relatively inexpensive to ship. While framing your dock with local treated lumber will save you shipping costs, wood frame piers can be just as heavy as steel frame piers. Also, unlike galvanized steel or aluminum, treated wood is not designed to be continuously submerged. This means that the dock must be constructed so that the wooden frame sits on the floats and rests completely on the water. Due to design limitations and the weight of the wood itself, wood frame springs can be even more difficult than steel frame springs to get in and out of the water.

Website design By BotEap.comAluminum
Aluminum dock frames are significantly lighter than steel or wood frames. But some aluminum frames are welded units that can still cost a lot to ship because they take up a lot of space on the delivery truck. So depending on where the dock racks are manufactured, shipping can still account for a large percentage of the final cost of the dock. There are companies that make aluminum spring frames that are fully bolted on. These frames can be shipped in a set of small packages and can be shipped cost-effectively even from coast to coast. The final spring will also be significantly lighter. Most aluminum dock frames are designed to work with custom dock floats (usually sold by the dock frame manufacturer), however there is at least one manufacturer that has designed an aluminum frame dock kit that can work with 55 gallon polyethylene plastic drums. Combining the aluminum frame and plastic drums, the same 8×20 ‘steel framed spring that weighed 930 pounds will only weigh 520 pounds. This is a significant difference that will make the dock much easier to carry in and out of the water.

Website design By BotEap.comFor many reasons, including spring weight and frame design, there have never been floating spring manufacturers that put wheels on their springs. However, in 2010, at least one manufacturer offers wheels with their aluminum base frame kits. They can be sturdy plastic wheels that allow you to roll up the dock on the beach and store it there for the winter. Or a real road axle and tires can be added to turn the dock into a floating trailer and allow it to be towed directly from a standard launch ramp, just a boat. This can be advantageous if your beachfront property is steep and you don’t have a beach on which the pier can be stored during the winter.

Website design By BotEap.comAnother advantage of aluminum frame springs is that corrosion resistance is built into the aluminum and is not compromised if new holes are drilled for additions or modifications. Note: When screwing in aluminum for use in salt water or any water that has even a trace of salt in it, you will want to avoid stainless steel fasteners and use aluminum fasteners instead. Stainless steel and aluminum have an electrolysis effect in the presence of salt that causes the aluminum to corrode into a flaky white powder.

Website design By BotEap.comWe hope you found this article informative, and if you decide to build your own pier, you will better understand your options for framing it!

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