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Old 07-28-2009, 02:04 PM   #1
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How to install new dock pilings


The 5x20 dock on our pond is about 30 yrs old and is shot. The pilings are old telephone poles that have served their purpose but need to be replaced. I like having a year round-dock, but we're in Ohio and at times the ice gets up to 15" thick so I need something robust that won't pull up or get twisted over time...and will last.

Anybody have any ideas about what to use? how to drive the pilings? The depth of our pond is about 1' deep at the shore and about 8' deep at the end of the dock. The floor of the pond is primarily clay soil -- not much sand -- so I don't think jetting will work too well after the first 6".

I've considered trying to drain the pond down and using a post hole digger, but the pond is almost 20' deep in the middle and I think the holes will just fill up with water unless I drain the entire pond (NOT!). Not to mention how deep my tractor tires will go in the mud...

Any ideas? I'm willing to hire some help if someone knows of a pile driver in SW Ohio.

Appreciate any advice or help.

Nomechanic

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Old 07-28-2009, 08:19 PM   #2
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How to install new dock pilings


Down on the Texas Gulf Coast most dock/ pier pilings of the 4"-12" size are driven using a pump that shoots a jet of water through a pvc pipe that's sharpened on the end. You put the tip of the pipe down at the base of the piling and the jet (and weight of the piling) does all the work. Once you get the hang of it you can sink a piling several feet in a matter of a few minutes. Larger pilings, well... you need heavier gear. The pump you could rent for $40-60 bucks a day down in Texas, where you are I dunno. You might have to rig up your own tip but that's cheap as a piece of PVC.

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Old 07-28-2009, 08:23 PM   #3
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How to install new dock pilings


Yep, just finished reading your post. I definitely wouldn't jet through clay. I'm sure you cold find somebody with small pile driving barge, but they usually don't come out of the water. I'm guessing there might be a gas-powered auger bit extender for something like that.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:36 PM   #4
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How to install new dock pilings


Rethinking the auger method... I could drain the pond down to expose the area where I want the dock. Then when the mud freezes I could back one of our smaller tractors out with the auger and drill holes big enough to plant my piers. Would make demo of the old dock easier too.

Any thoughts on using old telephone poles for piers? or, would it be better to pour concrete bases and then put PT posts on top to support the dock?

Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:10 PM   #5
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How to install new dock pilings


I think I'd personally use them if I had access to them for free/cheap. I've used them for pilings in flood-zones under homes on the Gulf Coast of Texas. I'm referring to the creosote soaked variety, I haven't seen many(any) of the CCA type poles pulled up. I like the smell of creosote and salt water... mmm...
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:36 PM   #6
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How to install new dock pilings


NailedIt, thanks for the response. I do have a line on telephone poles. the ones that are in there are were used when they were installed over 30 yrs ago so if I get 30yrs out of the ones I put in there I will be happy...and very old.

If I can ever figure out how to post photos I will include pix of the old dock as it is.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:43 PM   #7
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How to install new dock pilings


I need to start reading posts prior to replying, sorry. I'd like to add $.02 more. Putting pilings into the ground provides a lot of rigidity/strength to a structure provided they are sunken to a sufficient depth. You eliminate the cost of concrete altogether and have less bracing to do. Were it me, I'd sink the pilings 4'-5' into the bottom and cross-brace each pair above water if you have the height. Rethinking the jetting method, the bottom in the bays where I lived were sandy clay, maybe you could attempt one for giggles and you'd save a lot of effort. You're only talking about 6-8 pilings?
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Old 08-01-2009, 07:23 AM   #8
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How to install new dock pilings


I've lived on Albemarle Sound in northeastern NC for more than 33 years, where the bottom is sandy with layers of clay.
It is illegal in many places to use creosote-treated poles and lumber in water now, due to the leaching pollution. Need to check with your local Health Department or Building Inspection Department (you may need a permit anyway).
I've built and repaired my own pier and dock, and helped a lot of neighbors with theirs for many years (and some bulkheads).
Here, we use gasoline-powered water pumps with a galvanized or PVC pipe to wash pilings down, and in some case, people hire contractors with barges to pile-drive them down with a pile-driver or push smaller ones down with a backhoe bucket off the barge. We usually use 4"x4" or 4"x6" pressure-treated beams for pier pilings, but for a pond the 4"X4's should be more than adequate. To anchor them to keep them from popping out of the ground during freezing weather, we nail blocks of wood on all four sides of the bottom of the pilings. When they are washed down about four feet into the bottom, that will usually hold them down from freezing pop-ups. I also recommend cross-braces above the water line.
Good Luck!
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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How to install new dock pilings


I'm not pile driving expert, but I have many hours of "pile driving watching" under my belt. After the summer of '05 in the FL. panhandle area I was working at a condo complex on the coast down there. There were many seawalls taken out to sea and were being replaced. They were using pumps drawing from the ocean and jetting away the sand to place the telephone type poles. BUT, they were putting the poles in upside down. As the sand was being washed out, the pole was hanging from and excavator and just slid down, rather fast. Of course, this old dummy had to ask: Why are you putting them in upside down? 'They go in easier that way'. Lesson learned. I believe you could rig up a pump using the lake water and jet your poles in using this technique. Good Luck, David
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:23 PM   #10
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How to install new dock pilings


Hello all, I'm joining in because I've been trying to figure out an afforable way to drive pilings. The last one I had done by the pros (to replace a downed osprey nest pole) cost $300, and I expect they're higher now! I too have a lot of observation time to my credit, but have not yet attempted a DIY piling. I'm on a "creek" off the Chesapeake bay - it's about 1/4 mile across, very exposed to wind and freezing, and is salt water.

Here's my idea - hope it doesn't sound totally crazy. Well, maybe it is! But here goes:

In the interest of CHEAP, I propose starting with 6" PVC pipe, two lengths coupled together if necessary. I'd put a cap on the bottom, but it would have a pipe-threaded hole in the center, and a smaller PVC pipe would be attached inside the 6", a little longer. I'd make a "birdcage" of galvanized rebar and insert it all the way in. Then I'd right the pole, hook up the pump (I bought one couple of years ago for seawall repairs) and jet it in. I hope! Then remove the center pipe.

Then I'd fill the thing with concrete, being careful to position the rebar away from the inside walls, and poking a rod in as it fills to remove air bubbles. I'd fill it by half-buckets, so that would be easy.

Biggest lack is a stable platform, like a barge or a large workboat, to work from - I'd have to borrow, build or buy something.

So, what do you think? I believe I can physically do it, but there are issues. For instance, would the concrete heat up too much during curing (especially the portion above the waterline)? Where would the excess moisture in the mix go? Could I make a dry enough mix to guard against that problem? How would I attach stuff to it, like walkways? How long would the PVC last? My concern over that is why I'd use galvanized rebar - if the PVC cracked, the concrete cover over the rebar would be insufficient to prevent rust (4" is normal, I'd only have 1").

I'll be interested to hear the expert evaluation of my cockamainy idea! At least maybe it'll generate some interesting conversation.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #11
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How to install new dock pilings


your idea is good but difficult to accomplish. If you have a water pump 2 1/2 or 3" discharge you can wash the poles in much faster, and not cost as much after all is said and done. I installed my own dock on Chesapeake bay south of you installed 120 20' pilings with a 3" pump. It ended up costing less than what it was going to cost me with using pvc reinforced concrete.
bought poles south of Salisbury md. they delivered no charge they were 2.5 psi treated good luck

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