Most docks built with treated wood are designed to last 30 years or more in a wet environment, but there comes a time when it makes more sense to rebuild than to repair. We constructed a number of docks on Lake Washington in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and they're ready to be rebuilt. Their piles are rotting in the “splash zone," the area between winter low water and summer high water. This “wet-dry” area is exposed to oxygen in the winter and is saturated by the lake water in the summer.
How to Know When Your Dock is Ready for a Rebuild
A dock’s structure consists of caps attached to piles, "stringers" or wood running perpendicular to the pile caps that support the deck boards -- the part you walk on.
- Look for rotting deck boards and piles that are split.
- The “stringers” or outside wood of the dock may be green and the rest of the wood brownish.
- Try hitting the wood framing with a hammer. If it has a solid sound, the wood is probably still good. If there isn’t much sound or it sounds hollow, the wood is probably rotted.
Get a No Cost Dock Survey
We’ll come and survey your dock and provide a detailed report of your its condition, along with a list of recommended repairs.
A rebuild, which will last for 30+ years includes:
- Repair piles: We prefer to repair piles by replacing the rotten pile section with a new treated wood pile stub.
- Replace internal framing: We rebuild the dock framing by installing new treated wood pile caps and stringers.
- Install new deck surface: The permits require that the dock surface utilize a light-penetrating material. We prefer the ThruFlow grated material. It’s kid and pet friendly, easy to walk on and you can sit on it comfortably.
Permits: When You’re Ready to Repair or Rebuild
If your dock has reached the end of its useful life and needs repair or rebuild, the permitting and construction process for Lake Washington is fairly simple. You’ll need the following:
- Shoreline Exemption Permit You’ll need a copy of your original permit. If you don’t have one handy, we can help you get one.
- State Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) from the WA State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Federal permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The permit process usually takes between 4 and 6 months to complete depending on the amount of work that needs to be performed.