After more than a decade of neglect and lack of use, the dock at Whitehaven was an accident just waiting to happen.
The more it got used for fishing and accessing the pontoon, the quicker the neglected and dilapidated old dock and ramp were turning into a real safety hazard, just waiting for their first accident on our watch.
Fortunately, the posts on the platform had been previously replaced and the under-carriage wood was still in good repair, unfortunately the non-marine rated deck screws holding the decking and support together were failing miserably.
The joists were all missing carriage bolts, lag bolts, or hangers, and were simply held together by the rusty old screws and the deteriorated decking screwed into it.
A complete rebuild was in order.
The first thing we did was a detailed assessment of the situation. What can be reused, and what must be replaced?
Next, we looked at our budget. We needed to determine what it would cost to replace or rebuild. A cost variance of 4-1 helped drive the decision for pressure treated over composite.
3.) Plan and Materials list- Coming up with a good plan to make a sturdy dock leads right into the material list so we would know what we would need to purchase.
Next, we needed to choose our aproach. Is it more advantageous for a complete tear-down and rebuild, or would we take a more iterative approach and tackle the project in stages.
Due to a number of factors, the main ones being time to dedicate to the project, budget, and condition
of the platform posts, we decided on taking an iterative approach.
The first iteration would be the platform.
Though we had an idea of what we had in store, we wouldn’t really know want we had ahead of us until the decking was removed and the situation with the joists could be fully assessed.
Fortunate for us, the wooden joists were in good shape. Their supporting screws and lag bolts, not so much.
None of the joists had hangers, and the few screws holding anything together were rusting away- many with their threads rotted away and could be pulled out by hand.
In order to complete the first iteration, the requirements were clear- shore up what exists, add hangers for everything, and add additional cross members, for extra rigidity, top it with new decking- attached with stainless steel screws, and we would be complete.
Over the course of five days I removed the old decking, added marine grade hangers to all parts of the framing, added extra 2×6 supports between the joists, cut the 4×4’s flush with the framing, and wrapped the exterior in new 2×8 framing- attached with lag bolts, for extra rigidity.
The platform was finished off with all new pressure treated decking. After trimming off the excess from one of the new decking, the first iteration was ‘done’!
The next iteration will the the ramp replacement.
This will be more complex, as this will be a complete rebuild- beginning with new 4×4 posts with steel bases.
All of the materials are onsite, now to just get started!
To be continued…