Dock Pilings: What They are & Why They are Used - Hisea Dock

Dock Pilings: What They are & Why They are Used



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Dock pilings are important for any waterfront infrastructure. They offer support and act as a foundation for other structures and vessels. 

In this article, we will explore what dock piling is, what they are used for, and its different types. Whether you’re a waterfront owner, an enthusiast, or just curious about marine infrastructure, you will surely get enough value. 

Dock pilings
Source: Hisea Dock

What are Dock Pilings

Dock piling is vertical support used to anchor and support piers, docks and other waterfront materials. They are usually large posts or poles driven into the ground(think of them as long columns like constructions set below seabeds to provide support and anchor the water structures). They can be used to develop several structures like fixed jetties, mooring piles, floating platoons, private jetties etc.

Due to the constant movement and tides, dock pilings ensure that the water structures remain stable and secure in the water. 

A floating dock with steel dock pilings
Source: Hisea Dock website

The primary benefit of using marine pilings is that they can support heavy loads without sinking. This is because they distribute the load evenly preventing the ground from compressing and sinking. Dock piling also helps to prevent shoreline erosion by obstructing waves that could wash away sediments that could accumulate below the waterfronts.

Dock pilings are one of the important investments to make to your waterfront. They also make the waterfront beautiful and colourful. It is important to maintain your dock pilings and replace them once they are bad to avoid collapsing the entire structure. 

Types of Dock Pilings

Dock pilings can be made of different materials like wood, concrete, PVC, steel etc. This section covers an in-depth view of the different types of dock pilings.

Wood Dock Pilings

This is the most common type of dock piling because of its natural beauty and ability to blend with the surroundings. The best wood for dock press include cedars, redwood, cypress etc. as they are easy to work with. They can also be divided into treated softwood and hardwood. treated softwood is affordable and customizable making it a popular choice but it is vulnerable to decay and marine pests. But hardwoods are naturally tough against rot and water.

Wood dock pilings are generally easy to install, readily available, cost-effective and durable. They are rot-resistant so you don’t have to replace them as much as the concrete or metal ones. But they can bend over time due to pressure from loads and waves so you have to replace them periodically just like any other type.

wood dock pilins
Source: istock photos

Concrete Dock Pilings

Concrete dock pilings are made of reinforced concretes(i.e a mixture of cement, aggregates and steel reinforcement. are a popular choice for commercial and industrial use because they are durable and long-lasting. They are also strong enough to support heavy loads like large boats, ships or industrial equipment because of their reinforcement with steel. 

Concretes are generally resistant to decay, corrosion and marine borers making them ideal for harsh marine elements. They are also easy to install, easy to maintain, durable and are said to last up to 50 years depending on the concrete mix or installation method.

Concrete dock pilings are customizable and less rigid than wood. You can make them into various shapes and sizes for your different needs. It also has a high resistance against bending due to heavy tides.

concrete dock pilings
Source: istock image

PVC Dock Pilings

PVC dock pilings usually mimic the look of natural wood and they are made from composite materials(like fibreglass and PVC resins) resistant to decay, insects and marine borers. They are the popular choice for residential dock piles and piers because they are lightweight and easy to install. They also require little maintenance once installed. 

Plastic dock pilings is usually the cheapest option to choose but not a good choice if youre prone to high winds or storm sugars. It comes in many colours and can be more aesthetically pleasing than wood. They also come in different size and shape and is highly customizable to give the desired result.

Another primary benefit of PVC piling is that they are environmentally friendly because they do not contribute to deforestation and habitat loss like wood. They are also recyclable which reduces marine waste.

PVC dock pilings
Source: istock images

Steel Dock Pilings

Steel dock pilings are good choices for commercial and industrial applications because they are strong and durable and can support heavier weights. They are made of high steel strength and coated with a protective layer to avoid corrosion. They are resistant to insects, marine borers and decay. 

They are also easy to install and require less maintenance. They are said to last up to 50 years depending on the material and method of installation. Steel dock pilings are generally strong, durable, versatile and easy to maintain. 

steel dock pilings
Source: istock image

Common Uses of Dock Pilings 

Dock pilings are important to you whether you’re a marine enthusiast, businessman, or project manager. Below are the common uses of dock pilings. 

Support Weight of Dock and Boats

Dock piling is the best medium of support for water structures as they are primarily built to support the weight of boats and any other vessels that will be moored to them. Dock pilings are driven deep in water to create a stable and strong foundation for other structures. The weight of these loads is usually transferred from the dock to the pilings forming the basis of support.

Protect Against Erosion 

Erosion can make the ground unstable and the dock, prone to collapse. Dock pilings are a suitable barrier when waves and currents try to erode the shoreline. The dock piling protection help to stabilize the shorelines as they are driven into the ground below the seabed. 

Provide Stability in Tidal Zones

Water levels can rise and fall rapidly in tidal zones. This can cause the dock to shift and become unstable. Pier pilings provide stability to these areas as they anchor the dock to the ground below the water surface. This makes the dock remain secure even as the tide rise and falls ensuring the people, boats and other structures using the boat are secured.

Resist Storms and Waves

Dock pilings help to withstand the impact of storms and waves on the waterfront. Docks are built to withstand heavy rain, high winds and powerful waves for areas prone to hurricanes or typhoons. This is because they are made of powerful materials such as wood, PVC, steel, concrete etc. which can withstand the impact of waves and prevent damage to the dock and structures on top.

What to Consider When Selecting the Right Dock Piling Type 

Different types of dock pilings exist for different reasons and selecting the most suitable one for your project is key. Read on to see the factors to consider before selecting the right dock piling.

dock pilings under construction
Source: istock image

Environmental Conditions 

Consider the environmental conditions like the location of the dock, dock piling spacing, dock piling depth, water conditions, weather conditions etc.

  • Water Salinity: the water being saltwater or freshwater can impact your decision on the choice of dock piling. For example, Freshwater is less corrosive than salt water, which can shorten the lifespan of some materials like wood or steel. Because they are more corrosion-resistant, PVC or fibreglass pilings may be more appropriate for use in saltwater applications.
  • Water Depth: When choosing the proper dock piling type, it’s crucial to take the water depth where the dock will be built into account. The length and diameter of the pilings will be determined by the water depth, and different materials will have varying capacities to sustain the weight of the dock and boats.
  • Water Currents: The stability of a dock can be significantly impacted by water currents. To provide adequate support in areas with strong currents, pilings must be driven deeper into the earth. Strong current areas are better suited for materials like steel or concrete because they offer a more durable foundation.
  • Weather Conditions: It is important to take into account the severity and frequency of storms in the location of the dock’s construction. High winds and large waves that are a part of severe weather cause damage to pilings especially when the material is not strong enough. Materials such as steel or concrete are better suited for these conditions than wood or PVC.

Load Capacity

Load capacity is a critical factor to consider when selecting the right dock piling type. The weight of the dock, boats, and any other equipment must be supported by the pilings to ensure the safety and stability of the structure. 

The load capacity is determined by the following:

  • Weight of the Dock: wood and PVC are more suitable for lighter loads while concrete and steel are better for heavier loads.
  • The Number of Pilings: the more pilings used, the better support for your load.
  • Soil Condition: soft soil would not give the required support that hard soil would give. If you want a higher load capacity, construct your dock pilings on hard soil.
  • Water Depth: a deep water depth requires longer and larger pilings to provide the requires load support. Always consider the water depth before choosing a dock piling.
  • Environmental factors: water currents, tides, and severe weather events can impact load capacity. Always choose a dock piling that can support the perculiar environmental factors of a particular location and give the required load support. 

Budget Plan 

Some dock pilings are cheaper than others and your budget will determine the kind of dock pilings you get. For example, PVC and woods are generally cheaper than metal and concrete.

Always factor in the material costs, and installation costs, and measure them against the expected life span you expect from your pier pilings.

Local Regulations 

What regulations guides dock piling use and installation on your location? Some environmental regulations may require the use of certain materials when constructing docks in sensitive environments. To reduce the impact on the ecosystem, for instance, some locations might mandate the use of environmentally friendly materials like PVC or fibreglass.

Professional Support and Supplier 

Another thing to consider when selecting the right dock piling type is the level of professional support you get from the supplier. Access to quality products, reduced post-maintenance, reliable after-sales support and so on should be prioritized. You can trust Hisea Dock to provide top-quality materials for you. 

Reliable Dock Piling Support from Hisea Dock

Looking to get a reliable dock piling for your project? Hisea Dock is your go-to supplier for different floating dock piles. Hisea Dock’s professional products and good services can be relied on. We have different customizable dock pilings for sale that work best for you. We also have other waterfront accessories like floating docks, floating bridges, floating platforms, drive-on boat docks etc.

beautiful dock platform by Hisea Dock
Source: Hisea Dock website

Various Height and Floating Capabilities are Available 

Hisea Dock has a full line of floating dock accessories of different heights and capabilities. There are always floating dock parts to suit your requirements. We have different plastic floating docks like U floats, single floats, double floats and V floats.

As one of the leading floating dock suppliers in China, Hisea Dock offers floating docks for sale, it also supplies floating bridges and other applications. All of Hisea Dock’s floating dock systems can be used in residential, commercial, and recreational facility docks.

Can be Customized to any Specifications and Colors 

Our products come in different customizable shapes and colours and it’s completely up to you what you want for your docks. For example, we can customize the colour, shape, size and height of your docking system to integrate the space where you will put it. And if you have specific requirements, we will readily offer you the most ideal docking system.


Dock pilings are a crucial component of any waterfront structure that requires strong and durable support. Whether for commercial or personal use, properly installed dock pilings can ensure the safety and longevity of your dock, ensuring it can withstand the test of time and harsh weather conditions.

Hisea Dock brand offers a wide range of dock piling options that are specifically designed to cater to various needs and requirements. Their products are made with high-quality materials, and their team of experts ensures that they are installed to perfection.

If you are a business owner in need of dock pilings, Hisea Dock is the brand to consider. With their years of experience, commitment to quality, and dedication to customer satisfaction, you can trust that your investment will be well worth it. Contact Hisea Dock today to discuss your dock piling needs and discover the options available to you.

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