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#90000 - 06/20/07 09:17 PM Dock question - how high above the water?
RobA Offline

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
I am going to have a stationary dock built just after my pond renovation is complete and before it fills back up. How high would you suggest the top of the dock be above normal full pool? How much space would you recommend there be between the water and the beams under the deck?

#90001 - 06/20/07 10:03 PM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
Alligator Offline

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
What type(s) of drainiage do you have? That could influence how high the dock needs to be...
- Smoke 'em if you got 'em

#90002 - 06/20/07 10:30 PM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
Blaine Offline

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 449
Loc: Central Indiana

Calculate your water line, then double check it. Don't make the mistake that I made. My mistake? Not precisly measuring rise to slope angle. In my case it took 2.5' up the slope to get 1' in rise. Mistake #2... The dock pilings settled about 6-7". Double whammy! Deck was even with the water line!

Raising the deck of a fixed dock after full pool is not a fun task. After all was said and done, mine ended up 18" above water line (29" if you count the 2X10 and deck plank). I thought that I originally wanted it higher but 18" seems pretty good. I can sit on the edge of the dock with the soles of my shoes 1" above the water. Finished picture below. Good luck Rob.


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#90003 - 06/20/07 10:51 PM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
John A. Mehling Offline

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I have my dock level with the top of my jon boat when the lake is full. Makes it easier to get in the boat for me. Also think about this. I store the boat on top of the boat dock when not being used. It is wide enough so that I can load the boat up and walk around it safely. When I am ready to go fishing with the aid of rollers on the end of the dock I just pick up the bow and let it roll into the lake. When I am done fishing I just pick up the bow and roll it back on the dock put it on a 6X6 in the front so that the water will run ot when it rains and pull the plug.

#90004 - 06/21/07 12:08 AM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
MarkECIN Offline

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 388
Loc: Wayne County, Indiana
We were highly pleased with the carpenters that did our dock, I gave them a sketch and away he went building a sturdy strong dock: he used 6 x 6s --special lumber for being in water, forgot the name of it, oh well, (6 intervals in ground in concrete). Heavy lumber, 2x6's--dock is 8x16 feet long. You can see it in pictures attached, full view pond is down about a foot right now, hubby in boat to right. Basically, you can pull up your boat when pond full and get in and out, I plan to put two wooden step downs on each side later. My hubby still likes the end of the low area for his boat (as you can see where the paddle boat is). The rails were put later by a different carpenter from drawings I made, nothing fancy, just something to help deter small children (and myself). You can sit on dock and your feet hang above the water. Good luck and post a picture when you get it done.

#90005 - 06/21/07 07:04 AM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
Brettski Offline
Field Correspondent

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6874
Loc: Illinois
To me, the dock height should always be as low as possible and practical. Ultimately, the dock framing itself will determine just how low this will be. Even tho it is all PT lumber, I prefer to keep only the 6x6 supports submerged; not the framing. In our case, I decided to keep the framing members 6" above normal pool height. We will have enough water surface to be concerned for waves on windy days, so I seleceted 6" as a practical height above pool. More importantly, when we get a hard freeze at normal pool, the shifting ice will have less leverage if I keep it off of the framing members.
So, in the end, my final walking surface for the docks will be 20.5" above pool and the deck (at the end of one of the docks) will wind up at 28". No, to me this is not ideal. It's kinda high, but that's the way it is. As mentioned above, the higher docks do have an advantage for boat entry/exit. We plan on a 18' or 20' pontoon party barge in the future. I expect that as our knees, legs, and eyesight get older, we will look back and smile, reflecting on the wisdom of building the docks and deck at a higher elevation.

All the bottom ledger framing members for both the dock and the deck are set at the same horizontal plane; 6" above normal pool.

#90006 - 06/21/07 07:45 AM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
Fishhead Offline

Registered: 05/20/03
Posts: 103
Loc: Central Iowa
Set on a chair, measure from the chair seat top to your ankles or what ever you want for soaking your feet after you're done building it and enjoy your handy work. I have a canoe in our pond and the support joists are just low enough the canoe sides won't tip and get caught under them.

Blain, I love your dock! And I know what you mean when you say its a battle to raise one over water, one of my poles sunk and I had to do the same thing. A come-along worked fine but was a hassle for sure. Not to take away from the other docks they're all great. Mine is made from a recycled deck and 1-1/2" Galvanized poles with screw augers on the bottom, since I was installing it in an existing pond I came up with this first. I also did mine during the winter at pool level and augered holes in the ice for my poles. Another person told me they helped someone do this on the ice but used a come-along to drive the pilings by making a "T" anchor that went below the ice that they could hook one end of the come-along to while the other was attached to the top of the piling. I didn't think of it or I may have tried that method, they told me it worked real slick. One more thing, the end of my dock is somewhat wobbly due to the small poles, I will probably try the pile driving method used by a friend this winter to sturdy my dock. These end two poles, however are in about 9-10 feet of water, they were 10' poles with 3' extensions and came to rest about 18-24" out of the water. I'll try to get a couple pictures to show but it doesn't look as good as the others posted here, however, I only have about $40 invested and it supported 4 adults, 6 kids, and one yellow lab last weekend \:\)


#90007 - 06/21/07 01:14 PM Re: Dock question - how high above the water?
RobA Offline

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 705
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
Originally posted by Alligator:
What type(s) of drainiage do you have? That could influence how high the dock needs to be...
I'll have a drain pipe and will build the dock assuming that the top of the pipe will be full pool. I was thinking of building x inches from that level.

If I used 2x10 beams attached to the 6x6 posts and then had 2x10 joists on top of that and decking on top of that it would already be about 20 inches from the water level. Add 6" of spacing between the beams and water and now the dock surface is about 26" off of the water's surface (at full pool). I was trying to figure out if that was a good height.


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