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How Much does It Cost To Build A Dock?

Most homeowners spend between $1,900 to $6,000 nationally.
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For waterside homes, a dock is a wonderful way to add value by providing a relaxing environment and making it easier to spend time boating and fishing. Installing a dock is a major project, and in many cases, it's a good idea to employ a professional contractor. Before using ImproveNet's search function to find local professionals, take the time to learn more about the various types of docks available and the potential costs involved.

National Build a Dock Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $5,468
Minimum Cost $200
Maximum Cost $20,000
Average Range $1,900 to $6,000
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 8 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Boat Dock Costs
  2. Boat Dock Cost Factors
  3. Dock Types & Costs
  4. Dock Materials
  5. Boat Dock Plans
  6. DIY or Hire a Pro?
  7. Find A Pro

Boat Dock Costs

The cost to hire a contractor to build a dock (including labor and materials) typically ranges from $2,178 to $4,858, with an average of $3,396. Small projects cost around $1,400, while more extensive work costs as much as $7,000. However, a large, high-quality permanent dock costs approximately $50,000.

You can save money by completing the work as a DIY project, in which case the major expenses are renting or purchasing tools, purchasing materials and dedicating your personal time to the task. However, making a dock that's safe and meets applicable building codes requires skill, so in many cases, it's better to leave the project to a professional.

Boat Dock Cost Factors

The cost to build a dock depends on a wide range of factors, including:

  • Type of Dock: Floating, piling, pipe and crib docks all have different construction methods, materials and associated costs. If you hire a professional contractor, he or she should know the right type for your project.
  • Decking: The type of decking you use on the surface of the dock is a major component of the price. For example, pine decking is considerably less expensive than synthetic wood decking.
  • Size & Configuration: Larger docks take longer to assemble and require more materials. More complex configurations also add to the cost. For example, a straight configuration for a single vessel is much simpler than an F-shaped dock suitable for up to three vessels.
  • Additional Groundwork: As part of installing your dock, you may decide to landscape the ground, dig foundations for additional structures or install some decking or a patio area to make full use of the waterside.
  • Electrical Work: Running electricity to a dock makes it’s possible to add lighting and other features. Running the cables costs up to $1,000.
  • Other Structures: Adding a simple boat house increases the project costs by approximately $10,000, but the additional cost is as much as $50,000 for a more sophisticated boat house with internal lifts and storage. Adding a separate boatlift costs from $5,000 to $7,000.
  • Permits: Your dock may require a permit, depending on the dock's size and location and your state laws. Permit costs and requirements vary, so always consult with your zoning office before commencing with any kind of structural work.

Boat Dock Cost Factors

Dock Types & Costs

Different types of docks have their own advantages and disadvantages:


Average Cost




$15 - $35/sf

Low cost

Good for deep water


Good for fluctuating water levels



$20 - $40/sf



Easily customized

High maintenance


$1,000 - $2,000

Low cost

Available preassembled

Suitable for shallow water

Can have wheels for removal

Less sturdy than pilings

Not suitable for boat docks


$10,000 - $30,000


Highly durable

Low maintenance

Not suitable for deep water

Very expensive

Dock Materials

A dock usually comprises wooden or plastic decking. Wooden decking rots rapidly without regular treatment and is usually best for decks that don't come into contact with the water to minimize degradation and reduce the impact of potentially hazardous chemicals to the water's ecosystem.

Decking prices vary considerably:

  • Hardwood Decking: $3.50 to $5/sf
  • Pine Decking: $5 to $11/sf
  • Plastic Decking: $6.25 to $9.40/sf
  • Synthetic Wood Decking: $35/sf
  • Pressure-Treated Decking: $5.30 to $7.10/sf
  • Vinyl Decking: $4 to $8/sf
  • Cedar Decking: $4.63 to $7.70/sf
  • Aluminum Decking: $10.01 to $11.20/sf

Additional construction materials are specific to the type of dock you're building. For example, you need drums for a floating dock and wooden beams for piling docks.

Dock Materials

Boat Dock Plans

The most common type of dock has a straight configuration reaching out into the water perpendicular to the shore. This configuration is suitable for fishing or mooring a single vessel. Other configurations are more complex:

  • Rigid Straight: Similar to a straight configuration, but with a larger area of decking over the water
  • "F" Configuration: Suitable for multiple vessels
  • Starboard Patio: An inverted "L" with a wide decking area over the water for disembarking on the starboard side
  • Harbor: A "Y" configuration; the vessel sits between the "arms" of the dock, allowing embarking from either side
  • "T" Configuration: Shaped like an upper case "T," a flexible configuration suitable for several vessels.

The choice of configuration has an important impact on how you use and enjoy your decking, so take the time to study examples online, or consult with a professional to find the option most suitable for your needs.

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

While it's possible to build your own dock, it involves working on the water with various tools, so there is significant risk. Additionally, it's essential that the dock is sturdy and secure to reduce the risk of accidents while it's in use. Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional to build the dock for them. A professional contractor has the necessary tools and materials to complete the work to a high standard, has knowledge on what permits are necessary and which type of dock is best suited to the location.

Find A Pro

Whether you're building a deck or porch, creating usable space around your home is a good way to increase enjoyment and increase your property’s value. ImproveNet's online search function provides a convenient method for you to find a local contractor ready to tackle your dock project.

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