How to Build a Dock

After the pond was finished, we decided we wanted a dock (8’x20′) to sit on over the water to watch the sun sets.  We laid out where the initial two posts would stand and began the process.  Christian and Matt tried digging the post holes with post hole diggers but that proved futile seeing as how we have a high clay content.  So…we purchased a PTO driven post hole auger which made quick work of digging the holes (you can rent gas powered post hole diggers at your local equipment rental store).



We used string to lay out the dimensions of the dock, and then dug the front four holes 4′ feet deep and the rear two holes 2′ feet deep – rule of thumb being 25% of the total post height should be in the ground (so 4′ in the ground for a 16′ post).  Once the six holes were dug, we set the posts (6″x6″x16′ in the front four and 6″x6″x4′ in the back two – all pressure treated posts.  Once the posts were set and the holes were filled with concrete, the framing began.


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We used 2″x12″ pressure treated wood to frame the base of the dock, and 3″ galvanized nails for all the framing.  As you can tell by picture, we added 2″x6″ pressure treated boards the length of the dock in between the 2″x12″ pressure treated boards for additional support.  Also, we placed 2″x12″ boards on both sides of the 6″x6″ posts running width ways, and then added blocking in between those.

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Once the base framing was completed we attached pressure treated deck boards using 2″ galvanized nails, and then began the upper framing: including setting the ridge board.  We used 2″x10″ non-pressure treated lumber for the upper framing, and attached 2″x10″ boards on both sides of the 6″x6″ posts running width ways (basically the same design as the lower framing).  In setting the ridge board (the board all the roof joists attach to) we cut a piece of pressure treated 2″x12″ to the exact width of the two, parallel 2″x10″ boards and then added two pressure treated boards on the side of it for stability.  Once those were nailed in, we simply set the ridge board (2″x6″ board) on top of the 2″x12″ boards and nailed it all together.







We began building the roof joists and fascia using 2″x6″ non-pressure treated lumber.







To set the angle of our roof joists. we laid one against the ridge board and 2″x10″ outer, vertical top plate, and marked it.  Then replicated the cut roof joist onto the remaining joists.





After nailing the roof joists in place, we added 2″x6″ fascia boards to tie them together.
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Next, we added 7/16″ OSB sheathing to the roof framing, and then attached 1″x6″ cedar boards as trim around the roof edges (trim not shown until end).


To step onto the dock, we built 4′ wide stairs.  For the stairs, we cut two 2″x6″ pressure treated boards to 4′ wide to use as a header and a base plate.  We then attached three pre-cut risers to the header and base plate.  We laid the unfinished stairs against the dock to see exactly where the base plate at the bottom of the stairs would set upon the ground, and then dug a shallow trench which we lined with 4″x8″x16″ concrete blocks for the base plate to rest on (dug the trench slightly offset toward the dock so that when we backfill you wouldn’t be able to see the cement blocks).  We attached the header of the staircase to the dock using 3″ external screws so that we could easily remove the staircase if we ever wanted to.  Then, attached three pre-cut tread plates to the risers, and it was finished.  We ended up placing the stairs on the left side of the dock, instead of in the middle, because the water funneled into the pond on the right side of the dock.

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Added additional 2″x6″ boards across the tops of the roof joists for added strength.




After that, installed the felt and shingles and finished it off with a little paint.  I think it’s ready for some comfortable chairs and a good nap!