How Much Does It Cost To Build A Dock

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Dock?

Building a dock is an exciting and rewarding project that can add value to your property, create space for leisure activities, and improve access to the water. But before you start, it’s important to understand how much it will cost to build a dock.

Royaltakeoffs provide an overview of the factors that affect dock building costs, as well as estimated prices for various types of docks and materials. By understanding these elements, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about how much money to invest in the project. Read on to learn more about how much it costs to build a dock.

Generally, the cost of building a dock ranges from $8,000 to $25,000. The actual cost depends on the size and complexity of the project, as well as the materials used. For example, a typical small wood floating dock can cost around $8,000 to $12,000. A larger steel dock may cost up to $25,000 or more.

Permitting and Design Costs:

Before starting the actual construction, it is crucial to take into account the expenses for permitting and designing. The amount needed may vary greatly depending on the location and regulations imposed by the locality.

Usually, you will have to acquire permits from the relevant authorities. This may require payment of fees and hiring professionals like architects or engineers to design the required plans.

Depending on the complexity of your project and your location, the permitting and design costs can range from $500 to $5,000 or even more.

Dock Pilings:

Dock pilings are necessary for providing support to the dock and can be constructed using wood, steel, or concrete. The required number and size of pilings depend on various factors such as water depth, dock size, and local building codes. The cost of dock pilings will differ based on the material used and the quantity required.

The cost of wooden pilings per unit can fall between $100 to $300, steel pilings can cost between $200 to $600 per unit, and concrete pilings can cost between $300 to $800 per unit.

Decking Material:

The decking material refers to the surface on the dock where you walk and stand. There are multiple options available, each with unique advantages and varying prices. Pressure-treated wood, composite decking, and PVC decking are the most commonly used materials.

The cost per square foot for pressure-treated wood is roughly $2 to $4, while composite decking, a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic, can cost anywhere from $4 to $8 per square foot. PVC decking, recognized for its strength and low upkeep, may range from $6 to $10 per square foot.

Dock Frame and Supports:

The dock’s stability and strength rely on its frame and supports, which are usually made of wood. The cost of these components depends on the dock’s size and complexity and can range from $10 to $20 per square foot of the dock’s surface area.

Dock Accessories:

To customize your dock, you can choose from a range of accessories based on what you require and like. These accessories may comprise dock bumpers, ladders, benches, lighting, and electrical outlets.

Regarding the cost of dock accessories, consider the type and quality of items you wish to purchase. As a general guideline, allocate around 10% to 20% of your total construction budget for accessories.

Boat Lift or Dock Slip:

If you plan to store your boat at the dock, you may need to consider the cost of a boat lift or a dock slip. Boat lifts can vary significantly in price depending on the weight capacity and design. On average, a boat lift can cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Alternatively, a dock slip, which provides a designated space for your boat without a lift, can range from $500 to $2,000 per year, depending on the location and amenities.

Labor Costs:

The cost of hiring workers to build a dock can be different depending on the project’s complexity, regional labor rates, and your chosen contractor. The labor costs are usually a large part of the overall project expenses.

It’s recommended that you get quotes from trustworthy contractors and take into account their experience, reputation, and expertise when selecting one. Usually, labor costs make up 30% to 50% of the total project cost.

Cost Required To Build a Dock By Sizes:

SizeApproximately Cost 
120 Square Foot$1,800 – $4,800
150 Square Foot$2,250 – $6,000
180 Square Foot$2,700 – $7,200
210  Square Foot$3,150 – $8,400
240 Square Foot$3,600 – $9,600
300 Square Foot$4,500 – $12,000
360 Square Foot$5,400 – $14,400
420 Square Foot$6,300 – $16,800
480 Square Foot$7,200 – $19,200
540 Square Foot$8,100 – $21,600

What Are The Different Types of Docks And Their Construction Costs?

Docks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on their purpose. Some common types of docks include floating, piling, gangway, and modular docks. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages as well as different construction costs.

Floating Docks:

Floating docks are generally constructed from pressure-treated wood or aluminum floats. They are the most affordable option for most dock applications and can be used in shallow waters. Depending on the materials used, construction costs for floating docks range from $15-$40 per square foot.

Piling Docks:

Piling docks are constructed with cylindrical piles driven into the lake or river bed. This type of dock is more stable than a floating dock, but it also requires more overall construction costs.

Factors such as the depth of the water, soil conditions, and other environmental characteristics can all affect the cost of installation. Generally speaking, piling docks can cost anywhere from $20-$40 per square foot.

Gangway Docks:

Gangway docks are designed to be easily installed in existing lakes or rivers and provide a secure access point for boats. These docks are constructed with a gangway boardwalk, railings, and posts to ensure safety when docking and launching vessels.

The cost of construction for gangway docks varies depending on the size of the dock and materials used in its construction, but typically range from $50-$75 per square foot.

Modular Docks:

Modular docks provide a more permanent and cost-effective solution for waterfront property owners. These docks are constructed from interlocking aluminum panels that can be connected to form a variety of shapes and sizes.

These docks offer superior strength and stability, making them ideal for larger boats or heavier loads. Construction costs depend on the size of the dock and materials used in its construction but typically range from $25-$35 per square foot.

No matter which type of dock you choose, it is important to factor in the construction costs before making a final decision. All docks require some level of maintenance and upkeep, and each type has its own set of associated expenses.


Building a dock can be a great addition to any water-facing property. It can provide a platform for many activities, from fishing and swimming to simply sitting on the bank and soaking up the sun.

Additionally, if properly planned out and maintained, it can last for years to come. Overall, careful planning beforehand is key when it comes to constructing a dock and will have a significant impact on its lifespan.

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