This is the prototype project for our round pile design for a boathouse and dock. The project is located on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. We chose pile dock design to ensure the structure would be stable. Many people come to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to canoe or fish. It’s important for them to have a sturdy dock for anchoring as well as a boathouse to relax and prepare for their trip onto the water.
Choosing the right foundation
When choosing the type of foundation for your dock or boathouse, you should consider what would be best for the activities that would take place at the structure. For the Lance Jones boathouse, we knew the community used the area for boating so we added a canoe launch and boat dock. Piling is often the best methods for building as it’s easy to install and cheaper than other techniques. When driving the piles in, it displaces soil which adds support as they go deeper into the ground. Treated wood is the best material to use for the freshwater our boathouse sits on.
Types of pilings
We talked about picking the best foundation but choosing the right pilings goes along with that. Some styles to consider to best meet your needs include:
- Treated wood: it’s used for many purposes like telephone poles or fences. It’s also great for saltwater areas.
- Greenheart wood: recognized for strength and durability, it’s perfect for extreme construction. This material is resistant to decay and don’t require chemical treatments.
- Fiberglass: known for being way pricier than wood but can last decades. This material has little deterioration over time, doesn’t rot, crumble or rust. Fiberglass is definitely worth it in the long run, if you can spend the money.
Protecting your pilings
It’s imperative to take measures to prevent your pilings from deteriorating. You can keep your piles in great shape by either using chemicals to preserve the wood or wrapping them. Combining fiberglass or concrete can create a seal that won’t let organisms in or allow them to eat at the wood. You can also wrap your piles, in a shrink wrap known as a pile sleeve, as seen in the photo. It uses PVC which is then melted and shrunk onto the wood, fitting snugly. This process makes an even tighter seal as the entirety of the pile is covered. The wrap will ultimately protect from discoloration, erosion, and bores.