How to Build a Pier or Dock Foundation Lumber Talk.com: Professional-Level information and how-to-build articles for wood, timber, and lumber professionals and users. How to Build a Pier or Dock Foundation » Lumber Talk
By Chris | November 14, 2007 - 4:16 pm - Posted in Marine Structures, Treated Wood

This sketchcast is an overview of the basic components required to build a pier or dock foundation and how they fit together.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dcd9n1zLGfU&autoplay=1]

The main components of a dock foundation are:

  1. Pilings
  2. Pile Caps/Beams
  3. Stringers

You will also need the appropriate hardware and surface deck materials for your pier or dock foundation. The sketchcast does not cover spans or what sizes of materials you should use. There are too many variables to even consider putting that here. So, if you want my advice on what sizes to use for your dock foundation I will go for the mega overbuild. Check with your local building codes and consult an engineer to be safe.


Make sure you use properly treated wood when building your pier or dock foundation. For fresh water, use wood treated to at least .60 pcf and use 2.5 pcf for saltwater. Marine environments are really tough on wood foundations.

Along the same vein, use the best hardware you can get. The price difference will be next-to-nothing and you will always know that your dock or pier is really strong. Use hot dipped galvanized or even stainless steel hardware.

If you have any questions about the components, where to get them, or how to build a pier or dock foundation, post a comment here.

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