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Guide to Different Docks

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

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If you're brand new to dock installations, you may find it an intimidating task to do the research and narrow down which dock type is the best. At Radtke, we understand!


To help make this process smoother, please check out our guide to different docks below. From pile and crib, to floating and pipe docks - the options are diverse and each provides their own benefits.


Understanding each dock type's characteristics, pros, and cons will help determine which dock type is the right choice for your waterfront property. Let the experts at Radtke guide you through each dock type!


Permanent Dock Types

A permanent dock, as the name suggests, is built to withstand many years of use and weathering. These docks are typically made from durable docking materials such as wood, concrete, or steel, and are securely fixed into the lake or sea bed. There are several types of permanent docks, including piling docks, crib docks, and suspension docks, etc.


The major benefit of permanent docks lies in their sturdy construction that requires minimal maintenance.


Pile Docks

Pile docks, also referred to as piling docks, are characterized by their deep-set posts or "piles" driven into the lake or seabed. More information here about how to install wood or concrete posts in the water. Piling docks are known for their resilience and capacity to stand firm against strong water currents and heavy loads.

  • Pros: Pile docks offer a stable platform, withstand strong weather conditions, and require less maintenance compared to other types.

  • Cons: They can be expensive to construct, require professional installation, and their permanence might not suit fluctuating water levels.

Crib Docks

Crib docks, or cribbage docks, are built on a framework, which is called a crib. A crib dock is usually made of logs or lumber filled with rocks, providing a solid base for the dock structure.

  • Pros: Crib docks provide exceptional stability and durability due to their robust structure.

  • Cons: The construction process can be complicated, potentially harmful to aquatic environments, and may not be permissible due to environmental regulations in certain areas.

Seasonal/Removable Dock Types

For water bodies with significant seasonal water level fluctuations or freezing conditions, seasonal/removeable docks prove to be the best option.


These docks can be disassembled and stored during off-seasons or harsh weather, making them ideal for protecting your investment.


Floating Docks

A floating dock is anchored to the seabed yet floats on the water surface, making them versatile and adaptable to changing water levels.

  • Pros: Their adaptability to water level changes and ease of installation make them a popular choice. They can also be rearranged or extended easily.

  • Cons: They may not be as stable as fixed docks, and in areas with heavy boat traffic or strong currents, they may not be suitable.


Pipe Docks

Pipe docks, named after the aluminum or galvanized steel pipes that hold them above water, are lightweight, yet sturdy.

  • Pros: They are cost-effective, easy to install and remove, and do not obstruct the view of the water.

  • Cons: They may not be suitable for rough water conditions, require regular maintenance, and their durability is less compared to other types of docks.

When it comes to the different types of docks, you should be as educated as possible. Check out this article here for more info about the different types of docks.


Dock Type FAQs

What are the different dock styles?

As covered in this article, there are various dock styles to choose for your home or commercial property, including pile, crib, floating, or pipe docks.


How do I choose a dock?

Choosing a dock depends on your specific needs, local weather conditions, water depth, fluctuation in water levels, and local regulations. At Radtke, we always recommend that you talk to a professional dock installer for a quote and professional insight.


How many types of docks are there?

While there are countless custom designs, the basic types of docks include permanent docks such as pile and crib, as well as removable docks, such as floating and pipe styles of dock.


What type of boat dock is best?

The best boat dock type depends on your needs, the type of water body, weather conditions, and local regulations.


How to Choose the Best Dock Type for Your Property?

Determining the best dock type for your property involves considering various factors. You will need to evaluate:

  • Your property's waterfront

  • The type of water body

  • Local weather conditions

  • Legal constraints

  • Intended use of the dock

  • Type of boats you own

  • Your budget

Remember, while some docks might seem attractive due to their low cost or aesthetics, they may not necessarily be the right choice for your specific situation. It's always best to consult with a dock installation expert before making a final decision and starting the dock building process.



Why Choose Radtke Contractors For a Dock Installation?

With decades of professional experience, Radtke brings plenty of experience, a commitment to quality, and a focus on customer satisfaction, we help you through the dock selection process, ensuring you choose the dock type that perfectly suits your property's needs and regulations. Our dock builders serve the Appleton, Oshkosh, and surrounding community.


Choose Radtke Contractors for a hassle-free dock installation that enhances your waterfront living experience!


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