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Standing or Floating- Choosing a Dock

At CanadaDocks™, we offer both standing and floating docks. The most common question that we receive is “should I get a standing or a floating dock?” In this blog post, we hope to answer that question. Choosing a dock is an important decision.

Standing Docks

Standing docks are ideal for locations with shallow water- anywhere less than 4 feet of water. Although we do offer leg lengths up to 8 feet, we usually recommend a floating dock for water of that depth. The only exception is when the body of water is calm year-round.

Standing docks use legs as their primary support mechanism, and our aluminum telescopic legs are very sturdy. However, like any other structure, as they get longer, they lose structural stability potential. Deeper water creates more push and pull on the dock, which results in wear and tear. If you are located on a still lake, or on a smaller body of water, then standing docks can be extended up to 8 feet without any future loss of stability. Combining dock legs with a chained weight on the bottom of the dock is one way to improve stability, and we do sell dock chains that fit perfectly on the aluminum joists along the bottom of our docks.

Another factor to consider when choosing a standing dock is the type of surface under the water. All of our legs come with pads for the bottom of the legs, which makes it very easy to secure the legs into the ground. This works very well with a sandy or pebbled lake bottom, however it is more difficult to embed the legs into a solid rock bottom.

Floating Docks

Floating docks are ideal for locations with deeper water, or for extending existing dock installations (more on that below).

The main support mechanism for floating docks is a combination of two things- dock floats and a chained weight. Dock floats can be either air-filled (hollow) or foam-filled, with different buoyancy measurements. Foam-filled dock floats offer a special protection mechanism against punctures- their interiors are filled with a material (usually a form of expanded polystyrene foam) that prevents water from leaking into the float in the event of a puncture; this way, your dock will remain afloat in even the harshest of conditions. Hollow dock floats are less expensive than foam-filled dock floats, but they do not offer the same level of floatation protection offered by the foam-filled floats. A chained weight is used to keep the dock from moving more than a few inches, if tightened and using a heavy weight; this same method is used to help boost the stability of a standing dock as well. When these two support mechanisms are used correctly, a floating dock can withstand even the toughest of lake conditions.

Because floating docks do not need to be stiffly anchored to the bottom of the lake, they can be installed in much rougher water conditions, with no depth limits.


Another option is to combine the benefits of a floating dock with those of a standing dock. A perfect example would be if the shoreline starts out with 3 feet of water, and quickly drops off to 10 feet. In this case, a standing dock could be installed first, with a floating dock attached to the end. A benefit of choosing CanadaDocks™ docks and ramps is that they are all completely modular in design, meaning that all of our docks and ramps can be fitted together easily.

All of these factors should be considered when deciding between a standing dock and a floating dock. Each lake is different, and so each installation will be different. We hope that we have given you all the information needed to decide which dock type works best for you and your location.

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