Nothing says summer like sitting on a wooden pier, feet dangling in front of you with a fishing line in the water. Or perhaps it's the appeal of a little sailboat docked at the water's edge, ready to go at a moment's notice. If you've been looking at your stretch of shoreline and wishing that you had a pier running out into the water, building a modest 32-foot pier can be a rewarding project. It can also be a beneficial addition to your property.

...
Building a pier can make a useful property addition to your lakefront property.

Step 1

Outline the pier with a guide using builder's line.

Step 2

Drive a 2- by 4-inch stake into the ground on shore. Drive another stake into the ground beyond the planned end of the pier.Tie a line between the two, six feet above water. Repeat with two more stakes six feet, three inches to the side of the first two.

Step 3

Measure and mark the piling locations every eight feet along each line. The piling spacing could vary depending on zoning regulations and material specifications.

Step 4

Cut the pilings.The length of each piling should be the sum of the water depth, six feet of clearance above water and four to eight feet to sink into the ground.

Step 5

Pound the first piling into the soil beneath the water's edge with a sledgehammer until it stands on its own. In most cases, it is only possible to manually drive a piling two feet into the ground.

Step 6

Jet a hole into the ground below the piling with a pressure sprayer. Have someone hold the piling vertical in the water while you jet the soil from underneath it. The piling sinks as soil is removed. Stop when the top of the piling is even with the builder's line. Ensure that the piling is vertical with a four foot level. Make adjustments before the earth settles. Repeat for each piling.

Step 7

Bolt a 6-foot, 3-inch joist of 2- by 6-inch lumber across each pair of pilings, 5 feet 5 1/2 inches from the tops of the pilings.

Step 8

Run 32 feet of 2- by 6-inch joists across the tops of the previously installed supports. Run joists to the outside and inside edges of the pilings. Any seams between boards should occur on a piling.

Step 9

Cap the joists at shore and at the pier's end with a 6-foot, 3-inch piece of 2- by 6-inch lumber.

Step 10

Nail intermediate joists to these end caps at 24-inch intervals in between.

Step 11

Cut decking to 6-foot, 3-inch lengths. Nail the first piece across the tops of the joists at the end nearest shore. Install decking until you reach the end of the pier. Some decking pieces should be custom cut to fit around the pilings.