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Boat Docks: Custom Fabrication vs. Retail Docks For Your Lakefront Property

aluminum boat dock

Out here in Alberta, we only get so much summer, and when we do it feels like it's a snap of the fingers, and it's gone. With summer looming, and July (the best month to be out on the water) coming and gone before you know it, you've got to make plans. If you’re planning to get your boat out on the water, you’ll need a functioning dock for your waterfront property. And when it comes to boat docks, we know a thing or two. Here's a guide on custom fabrications vs retail docks and which is going to be best for you.

Custom Fabrications

As the name might suggest these are custom docks, made right in our shop, and are typically designed by a few different methods and materials. The primary metal used in custom docks is aluminum. Why aluminum? First, let's talk durability. Aluminum doesn't rust. If it wasn't clear, that's a pretty handy thing when you're keeping a dock out on the water (and not sinking down beneath it). It's also lightweight and is more cost-effective to produce. It doesn't attract bugs or pests, and it won't warp or splinter as wood is likely to do. It's shiny, so it's easy to see in a starry-skied night, however that shine will require maintenance from time to time to keep its luster.

Rolling or Stationary

Odds are if you're on the lake, a permanent dock can be more trouble than it's worth. With the regular winter freezes, it's quite possible you'll find yourself repairing your dock annually. Not so with roll-in docks. Naturally, a wooden dock would be quite difficult to transport. Aluminum docks are considerably lighter and can be transported in and out of the water with only one or two people. Key to note: aluminum docks cost a bit more on the up-front, but the long-term maintenance is where you'll earn your money back (and hopefully then some). And yes, they can also be left as stationary docks, though, a professional can determine which is best for your situation.

Retail Docks

If you've recently bought lakefront property and don't have a dock already, you can opt to purchase a prefabricated dock from a retail location. You could also contact a retail dock manufacturer to have them come and do some measurements. Depending on the grade into the water, your overall depth, and the location you're at on the lake, they'll help get you the right product. Now just because these are 'retail' docks doesn't mean there isn't some customizability involved. And there are two main types of docks to decide between.

Floating or Pole-Mounted

Floating docks are just that: floating atop the water. They are quick to install, easy to remove, can be purchased in L, U, or line shapes. And they rise and fall with the water. Though they're less expensive, they can be less stable, overall, and more prone to damage if there are ever rough winds and water. Pole-mounted is a traditional dock that's elevated above the water by large beams or poles. Traditionally these are wood poles, however, the actual dock can be a variety of materials, such as aluminum, wood, composite, or even plastic.

Get a Boat Dock

If you've got a boat and you want to maximize your time out on the water this summer, get a boat dock! Determine what type of dock works best for you and your property and then do it. And we can help with that. Advantage Manufacturing has years of experience with fabrication and metalwork and will build you the custom aluminum dock of your dreams in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. Contact us for more information and a quote today.


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