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DOCK BUILDERS

Looking for professional dock builders in the Fox Valley/Oshkosh, WI area and beyond? Radtke Contractors Inc., based in Winneconne, WI is your source for custom docks. Whether seasonal or permanent, our marine contractors build custom docks for clients with a great attention for detail. Our docks provide our clients with the durability and longevity they need, adding value to their property or home's waterfront. There are plenty of benefits to owning your own personal dock on your private property. Some of these include the following: 

Benefits of Owning a Personal Dock:

  • Easy access to the water 

  • Added security for your boats/watercraft 

  • Personalized construction and accessories Increased property value 

  • Other uses such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, relaxing, etc. 

 

Let the professional dock builders at Radtke Contractors help you choose the right dock for your personal property. We can help you select the ideal dock that helps you spend more time out on the water and less time on upkeep. For decades, Radtke Contractors has been serving our clients in the Winneconne, Oshkosh, Appleton, and greater Fox Valley area and beyond. We are skilled at providing durable and functional custom dock installations.

Our temporary docks are designed, manufactured, constructed, and installed with the same level of details and quality standards as our permanent docks. If you are ready to improve your waterfront experience, please contact us today.

Types of Docks Overview

Let our experts help you choose the type of dock that will suit your purposes! Some customers opt for a piling dock, while others choose a floating dock. To help you choose the right type of dock, below are some questions to ask.

Building a Dock: Questions to Ask

  • How deep is the water and what is the condition at the bottom?

  • Should my dock be permanent, adjustable, or removable?

  • How many boats, kayaks, or PWC's do I plan to store at my dock?

  • During the winter, will my dock be exposed to ice when the water freezes?

  • Do I reside in an area where there are lots of storms or heavy boat traffic? What are the surface conditions of the water?

  • How much am I willing to spend on the dock installation and maintenance?

  • Am I interested in installing the dock myself, or do I plan to have a professional install it?

The Different Types of Docks

Piling Docks (Seasonal)

What is a piling dock? Our dock installers can construct a piling dock by inserting large wooden beams (called pilings) deep into the ground beneath the water. We then connect the dock to the piling. This is done via hoops or rollers. The installation of a piling dock allows for the dock to rise and fall depending on the changing water levels, while still maintaining its place on the water.

Why a piling dock? This style of seasonal or removable dock is a strong, durable choice. It can withstand strong currents. One drawback though, is that they are expensive to build. We recommend opting for a piling dock if you have large watercraft or you are planning to use as a fishing dock. Prior to installation, a piling dock will require thorough planning. Any shortcuts or mistakes will cost you possibly thousands of dollars of damage.

Floating Docks (Seasonal)

A floating dock is a large platform with decking placed over airtight drums, which float atop the surface of the water. You may also find floating docks as pre-built sections that can be attached in a wide array of configurations and shapes. The benefits of choosing a floating dock is that they are practical and adaptable, rising and falling along with the water level. If you live in an area where you can't have a fixed dock, a floating dock is a good choice.

Because floating docks don't damage sediment, they have less permitting requirements. Since floating docks adapt according to the current water level, any critical electrical systems attached to the dock won't ever be submerged beneath the water. Should severe storms arise, a floating dock can be safely stored away and easily put back. If there isn't much wind or water current, a floating dock can also stay in the water during the winter.

Pipe Docks (Seasonal)

Similar to piling docks, pipe docks are usually constructed with an aluminum frame with removeable docking. Pipe docks are less expensive, which is a plus, however, they are less stable when compared with piling docks. Another benefits to opting for a pipe dock is that they are easy to construct. Unlike the floating dock, a pipe dock is stationary and will not rise and fall with the water level. As a result, we recommend that you raise your dock depending on the season or environmental factors which may cause your water levels to change. Occasionally, you may need to replace the pipes or surface sections of your pipe dock if damage occurs.

If you need a dock for shallow water (no higher than 8 feet), then a pipe dock might work well for you. In the autumn, you'll need to remove and store your pipe dock to prevent freezing and damage. The surface of the dock makes little contact with the land and water, so pipe docks are one of the least environmentally impacting dock choices available.

Crib Docks (Permanent)

What are crib docks? These permanent docks are crafted from cribs (wooden frames or crates), which are installed along the bottom. They are then filled with large rocks and covered with decking. While they are very stable and durable, they are quite expensive. Crib docks extend the shoreline, which, in turn, may affect the natural flow of water and disturb wildlife. For these reasons, in certain areas, crib docks aren't permitted.

As a permanent dock, a crib dock will last you many years, making it an excellent choice when it comes to permanent docks options. However, while it provides the benefit of stability, a crib dock can't be easily removed or extended.

Suspension Docks (Permanent)

A suspension dock hangs over the water with cables and anchorage. Suspension docks have a modern look, however, they have little impact on the environment. The engineering and installation process for a suspension dock is expensive and time-consuming, however, it may be the right type of dock for your purposes.

If you are considering the installation of a suspension dock, you'll need to weigh all the factors and plan carefully. A floating dock, for example, may be quickly removed when severe weather comes, however, a suspension dock is permanent and may experience damage when exposed to high winds. Certain materials like wood or aluminum will cost more to replace than plastics.

Read more about 6 types of docks here.

Dock Materials

There are plenty of factors that go into choosing the right material to use for your dock. Three of the most common you'll see are wood, aluminum, and plastic. These three materials can provide watercraft owners with a a sturdy platform, however, you'll want to keep in mind that some materials will require higher maintenance and long-term operating costs than others.

Wood Docks

If you prefer the natural, traditional style of wood, you may want to opt for the simplicity of wood for your personal dock. The aesthetic appeal of an old-fashioned wood dock may unfortunately be outweighed by several drawbacks, however, including lots of maintaining, a shorter lifespan, and limited safety hazards. Below are some of the pros and cons to opting for a wooden dock:

  • Cost: The cost of your wood dock will depend on the type of wood that you choose. For example, cedars and hardwoods could range from $3.50 to $4.36 per square foot to as much as $5.00 to $7.50 per square foot. A synthetic wood may cost you as much as $35 per square foot.

  • Insect damage: Termites, powerpost beetles, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees can damage the wood. Some of these species may nest in the wood, tunnel through it, and lay their eggs in it.

  • Maintenance/repairs: When your wooden dock is constantly exposed to water and rain, it will cause your wood to rot and degrade over time. If you have pressure-treated lumber, you'll want to routinely check it and maintain it. In addition, you will probably need to refinish your wooden dock every two to three years.

  • Repairs: Wooden decks will likely need repairs over their lifetime. A dry-rotted wood replacement may cause you hundreds of dollars. If there are minimal amounts of rotting you can use wood filler, or you may need to occasionally fix a loose board, or replace loose nails.

  • Longevity: Next, you'll want to consider the longevity of a wooden dock. A well-maintained wood dock may last you anywhere between 10 and 20 years. However, even with frequent upkeep of your dock, you may still see warping, rotting, or splitting of the wood.

  • Ability to expand, reconfigure, or remove: If you are planning to build a permanent wooden dock, you'll want to keep in mind that piling docks or crib docks built with wood are not easy to remove. Even extending or reconfiguring a piling or crib dock will require a significant amount of work.

Aluminum Docks

Another alternative to wood docks are aluminum docks, which, though more expensive, are scratch and weather-resistant. They also are strong, resisting damage from watercraft impact:

  • Cost: Aluminum docks will have a higher initial cost when compared with other types of docks. For example, your boat dock decking material could cost upwards of $10 dollars per square foot.

  • Durability: Aluminum boat docks are stronger than wood docks, since they are scratch and weather-resistant. In addition, aluminum is four times lighter and three times stronger when compared with wood.

  • Upkeep: While aluminum does not rust, it will corrode. The process of corrosion protects the aluminum from rusting, however, the structural integrity of the dock may be comprised.

  • Repairs: Aluminum docks, unlike wood docks, will not rot, attract insects, or grow mold. As a result, you can expect minimal repairs for your aluminum dock.

  • Longevity: Unlike wood docks, which typically last for a shorter period of time, aluminum docks can last between 30 and 50 years, depending on conditions.

  • Ability to expand, reconfigure, or remove: Aluminum docks are custom built in sections during the installation process, making them easier to add new sections onto them or to reconfigure them. In addition, you can also fold and store an aluminum dock when they aren't being used in the wintertime.

 

Plastic Docks

Plastic docks are a great option for those who want to experience the benefits of the durability and longevity of an aluminum dock but without the high price tag. A plastic floating dock provides some of the best options of any of the other dock options out there:

  • Cost: A plastic dock is a great investment because they can be reconfigured instantly. In addition, they are also portable and durable. Plastic docks do not require many repairs or replacements, as is the case with a wood dock.

  • Durability: While wood docks can warp and rot, plastic docks designed with polyethylene won’t rot or splinter. With a plastic dock, you won't have to worry about replacing the structure if part of it becomes damaged due to a storm or watercraft impact. Furthermore, if a section is damaged, it can be easily replaced.

  • Upkeep: As discussed already, wooden docks require regular maintenance and aluminum docks, while needing less upkeep, still require inspection for any rust or mold. A plastic dock, meanwhile can simply be swept, or cleaned with soap and water to remove any stains. This makes the upkeep of a plastic dock to be much better than with a wood or aluminum dock.

  • Repairs: A plastic dock often comes with a warranty which protects against certain damages. This means that if your dock has any cracks, leaks, or ultraviolet deterioration, it should be covered under the warranty period.

  • Longevity: A plastic dock is an excellent investment, lasting you for many years into the future. It will be durable enough to withstand wind and severe weather alike.

  • Ability to expand, reconfigure, or remove: While wood and aluminum are still great options for your dock, plastic is less costly and labor-intensive to expand or reconfigure. A plastic floating dock, for example, can be easily removed if not being used, or be expanded or redesigned to adapt to different waterfronts.

Seasonal vs Permanent Docks: Which Should I Choose?

As you've more than likely gathered, there's a lot that goes into choosing the right type of dock for your needs. Next, let's cover whether you should choose a seasonal or a permanent dock.

Seasonal Docks

Are you looking for us to build you a seasonal dock for your boat? There are multiple reasons why you should consider having our team install a removeable structure. For example, there are areas on certain waterways or bodies of water that actually have restrictions in place against permanent structures. Also, since the Midwest's winters are harsh, so many opt for seasonal docks instead. Winters in Wisconsin can cause strong currents and ice shoves which can damage docks and peers.

Regardless of whether you choose a seasonal dock or a permanent dock, our knowledgeable team of dock builders are here to answer all your questions. We can assist you with your inquiries relating to restrictions, permits, and aerators, etc. Furthermore, our experts will walk you through the entire process of the construction of your seasonal dock - from initial consultation to the installation process. If you are ready to improve your your waterfront experience, please contact us!

Permanent Docks

Radtke Construction also constructs permanent docks and piers. Lasting throughout the year, they are a beautiful addition to any waterfront property. They help boat owners by providing safe and easy access to the water. A permanent dock helps you to better enjoy your time out on the water for recreation, relaxation, and utility alike. In addition, our permanent docks are highly versatile and customizable.

Once we have acquired the necessary permits, we begin planning, designing, building, and installing your custom dock. Our team is highly skilled with the proper training in construction and safety. We custom build permanent docks with great attention to safety and detail. By attaching it to a wharf, seawall, landing, or riprap, our builders provide a secure permanent dock installation. This also helps to enhance the longevity of the structure, so that you can use it for many years to come. If you require a temporary dock instead, our builders can install a seasonal dock instead.

The experienced dock builders at Radtke Construction are happy to walk boat owners throughout the entire process, from the initial design plans to the finishing touches of the installation process. We build our docks with the latest materials and construction equipment according to industry standards to work quickly and effectively. Regardless of the dock size and type you choose, our superior quality custom docks will add value and appeal to your waterfront home or property.

 

Our Build Process

At Radtke, we always educate and train our employees with our value. This is to ensure our team is aligned to our vision so that we all deliver of quality and back up what we say. When you initially contact us, our dock builders will help you choose the dock that will best suit your needs for your boat and/or property. We educate our clients so that you understand fully our building process. Here are 7 things to consider before building a dock.

The building process will look different depending on whether you are building a seasonal or permanent dock, the terrain is sandy or rocky, the depth of water, whether it is freshwater or saltwater application, among other applications. Once we have assessed and understood all aspects of your unique project, our builders will begin planning, designing, and installing the dock. 

Radtke is proud that our original marine structures are installed throughout many of our local Wisconsin waterways. Partnered with an excellent employee base, our team is pleased to involve several generations of our family's creative minds to provide stellar docks, lifts, and other marine construction projects. We are proud to be leaders in producing products and services that lead the industry in quality, functionality, and durability. Here is your guide to dock building.

Dock Installation FAQs

What do dock builders do?

A dock builder is a licensed professional with expertise in marine construction who designs, plans, and constructs custom seasonal and permanent docks for residential and commercial clients. Common materials that a dock builder will work with include: concrete, steel, wood, and plastic to build quality docks. Hiring a dock builder gives you the peace of mind that your work will be handled by an educated, licensed professional, instead of having to carry out the work yourself.

What is the easiest dock to put in and out?

The easiest type of dock to install are pole docks. They're the easiest dock to work with since they require very little shoreline preparation. In addition, their lightweight design and easy assembly makes them a no-brainer, and they typically come in straight, P-shape, L-shape, T-shape, and U-shape designs. Contact the Radtke Contractors team for more information or to get started on a pole dock installation.

How do you install posts in the water for a dock or pier?

To start, you need to select round dock piling made of pressure-treated wood (and spray paint them to keep track of their depth). Next, you should rent a 2-3" water jetter. Cut the piling tall enough to keep the dock approximately 3-4" above the water level (the highest level the water will reach during the year). Next, stand the first piling into the water and dig it into the lakebed, using the water jetter to push the sand down. Another alternative to this is pouring concrete pilings. Your local professionals at Radtke have decades of experience handling this, so contact us today and we can help! Read more here about how to install wood or concrete dock posts.

How do you secure a dock in the water?

Securing a dock in the water can involve one of six different methods: 1.) Use pilings. These are essentially anchor poles which you will hammer into a lake, pond, or riverbed. You can make a piling bed by using either pressure-treated wood pilings our concrete pilings. 2.) Use a floating dock stabilizer kit, which includes an auger, brackets, connectors, fasteners, and metal pilings. 3.) Use weights. Check with your local dock builders about what to use, but typically these are concrete blocks, metallic balls, or adjustable chains. 4.) Use a roof to weigh down the dock. In contrast to weighing it down from below, you can add to the top. This simultaneously will provide shade during the hot summer months. 5.) Attach to the shore. Another alternative is to connect your dock to the shoreline using cleats, dock hinges, and fasteners. 6.) Use a gangway. This is an anchoring system that's made from a heavy-duty metal or wood.

Your Local Dock Builder

We are a team of professional dock builders that are proud to serve Winneconne and the surrounding communities since 1965. Radtke Contractors is your source for seasonal and permanent docks and piers. We take safety seriously for all our employees, customers, and the general public. Our dock builders are specially trained and regularly attend training and safety meetings.

For decades, Radtke Contractors has been an industry leader in unique custom dock designs. We create our construction projects with durability, functionality, and quality in mind.

When you're ready to improve your waterfront experience, contact us!

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