The Ultimate Guide to a Perfect Dock Piling Installation

The dock is a spot you may spend lots of quality time with friends and family. It is where you may expect people to not only walk, but also run or jump on it.

That is why the dock has to be strong and stable enough to endure all of this.

The last thing you want happening is the dock collapsing because of poor or a weak piling.

And the best way to prevent this is through a strong and appropriate dock piling installation. It has to be done in such a way that it will be able to last through years of bad weather and marine degradation.

Types of dock piling installation

Types of dock piling installation

There are three main ways to install dock piling.

You make the right choice based on the water conditions, bottom conditions, and contours, the structure type, and intended use, and your budget.

i. Jetting

Jetting involves using a high-pressure water pump to blow a deep hole in the bottom. The piling is then set into the hole and is supported by sand packs.

Jetting is the preferred and cheapest dock piling installation method for sandy bottoms with small rocks or shells. While a 4-6ft deep hole is enough for sandy bottoms, boat lift pilings need a 6-8ft hole.

ii. Hammering

Hammering involves forcing small and medium rocks to the side and breaking through a thin clay layer. However, it will not break through large rocks because they are more rigid and stronger than wood pilings.

This is the preferred piling installation method for mucky bottoms. However, it is impossible to first guarantee a specific depth because the depth is estimated only before installation.

iii. Drilling

Drilling is the best and most guaranteed piling option for extensive rocky conditions. The drilled pilings usually reach at least 4-5 ft into the rock, and are much stronger than sand or rocky bottom pilings.

Besides, the bottom tends to ‘walk’ while jetting and hammering pilings. However, in the case of drilling, there’s a straighter and more accurate dock piling installation.

Drilling may not be always required or suggested. However it does prove advantageous for rock bottom pilings because there’s no risk of any slipping, sinking, or leaning.

How to create a strong piling installation

How to create a strong piling installation

The piling foundation has to be strong because the entire dock rests and depends on its strength and integrity. Keeping the following three considerations in mind will help provide for a solid foundation:

· Rot prevention

This is especially important for wood piling.

The pilings need to be coated with chemicals to prevent possible wood rot. Another alternative is using other piling materials like fiberglass or reinforced concrete.

· Having a protective barrier

Pilings once installed, will remain submerged underwater for a long time.

So it is better and necessary to cover or wrap the pilings with a protective barrier before driving it into the ground.

· Keeping the exposed parts protected.

Piling caps are often used to protect the exposed section lying above the water. It covers the pilings from the sun’s harmful UV rays, snow, rain, and other elements.

How to select the right piling

How to select the right piling

Another secret to a strong piling foundation is using the best and proper piling. There are three types to choose from:

a) Treated wood

Treated wood pilings have various applications.

They are used for telephone poles, standard fences, and in most marinas. The best for a dock is piling which is adequately treated for salt-water immersion.

b) Greenheart wood piling

Greenheart is a rainforest hardwood that is known for its incredible strength and durability. It is mainly used in extreme construction applications because it is about four times as strong as treated pine wood variations.

Besides, the wood is known for its natural resistance to marine bore and decay. That is why it does not require any additional chemical treatment before use.

c) Fiberglass piling

Fiberglass pilings may be the most expensive but the added expense is well worth it. It is because they last for decades, without much deterioration.

Most importantly, they do not rot, crumble, or rust. So it means that they can last for a few decades.

There is so much involved in the perfect dock piling installation.

You not only have to select the right installation method to use, but also the right pilings. You should also take the appropriate maintenance and preventive measures so that your foundation lasts and serves your dock for years to come!


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