Tag Archives: floating dock

Pros and Cons of Using a Dock Kit

When the time comes to replace or install a dock, you have a few options. Do you want to go the DIY route? Or would it be better to call on a team of dock builders? Reviewing the pros and cons of each scenario can give you a better idea of what the best dock solution will be for you and your site.

Benefits of Getting a DIY Dock Kit

If you’re pretty handy with other building projects, opting for a DIY dock kit can make a lot of sense. There are plenty of systems available today, and you can even call on your local waterfront services company to see if they can help you find the right fit for your needs.

1. You can work on your own timeline

Working with a dock kit can be appealing because it gives you the flexibility to complete your dock build on your terms. It doesn’t matter if you want to stretch the project out for a few weeks or tackle it in a single weekend. Plus, you can have the bragging rights when to you get to the end—knowing that you did it all yourself.

2. You might feel more comfortable making repairs

Being the one to see your dock build through from start to finish can also help you down the road. When any repairs pop up, you’ll probably be better equipped to handle them on your own because you know exactly how your dock is constructed. You attached those floats, brackets, and sleeves all on your own.

3. You can save money on labor costs

Moreover, assuming you already have the skill set required, you should be able to save on the overall cost of your dock when you work with a kit. Getting rid of any labor expenses can open up the doors to invest that money elsewhere.

Reasons for a Custom Dock Builder

Even if you’re leaning towards getting a dock kit, it’s worth looking at the other side of things for the installation itself. You can always call on a waterfront company to purchase your dock kit and then utilize them for the actual construction too.

1. You can get it done right—the first time

When you find a crew that’s had years of experience installing custom docks or dock kits, you should be able to expect high-quality work. There’s a good chance that you’ll run into a few problems when you work through a build on your own. If you pass the job onto another team, you could save yourself some stress.

2. Your waterfront might need professionals

Not every site is super convenient for building a dock. If you have a steep shoreline or have had issues with your dock in the past, you might want to call on a professional dock builder from the get go. That way, they can make sure your anchoring is set up correctly and that your installation is secure.

3. You could buy your dock kit from them

Even if you want to build with a dock kit and do the work on your own, you can still benefit from calling on your local dock builder. Odds are, they’ll already have a selection of dock kits for sale. They’ll also be able to give you a little insight on the process before you get started. That’s how we handle dock kits here at Deaton’s Waterfront Services. If you want to learn more, please don’t hesitate to call us at (317) 747-4933.

3 Common Dock Repair Problems and Fixes

Routine dock inspections can help your waterfront investment last long after its installation. When you can catch minor dock repair issues early, you’re protecting yourself from more costly projects down the road. If you aren’t sure what to look for, these common dock repair issues are a good place to start.

Common Dock Repair Issues

Your water fluctuation, build process, and how your dock does in winter all play a role in what kind of repairs your dock might need. Just keep in mind, every dock has its own unique characteristics. Wooden docks will have different concerns than a stationary aluminum dock. Custom floating docks are different still.

1. Dock Deck Splintering

For wood docks, one of the biggest issues we see are that the deck boards start to splinter. Fortunately, this can be a relatively easy fix. You might need to sand down certain sections to prevent further breaks. In other cases, you might need to replace the entire board.

Obviously wood docks don’t last forever, but staying on top of the smaller dock repairs can help it stay sturdy through the upcoming seasons. If you want to avoid these maintenance details, you can always upgrade your dock to composite boards. These materials won’t splinter, plus they still have that natural look with a wood-like texture and design.

2. Dock Frames Rusting

Just as dock boards can splinter, other materials on your dock can have their own issues. Some types of docks can run into problems with their metal parts rusting. That’s why it’s so important to do regular checks for signs of rust around your dock. A quick inspection for rusted frames can help you feel better about your waterfront setup—and keep you safe!

If you see any problems around your dock frames, you’ll probably want to call on a local dock builder or waterfront company to come take a closer look. You might only need to replace a few parts for broken or rusted bolts. Then again, it might be time to upgrade your frame. Rust around your dock means it’s just a matter of time before something gets worse or snaps.

3. Dock Floats Sinking

Dealing with a floating dock means you might need to replace a float here or there over the years. On the bright side, these issues are pretty easy to spot. Noticing a sinking section is usually a clear sign that something is going on underneath your dock.

Reviewing the warranty for your encapsulated dock can help keep your repair costs to a minimum. You should also be able to reach out to your local dock builder to see if they can research that information for you.

Turn to Deaton’s for Dock Repairs!

Whenever you run into problems with these common dock repair questions, you can always count on our crew at Deaton’s Waterfront Services. Some dock repairs are easy to DIY, but others might require a little more expertise. If you give us a call, we can help give you some advice on how to move forward.

We service all types of docks and are always happy to work with you on your repair needs—for both commercial and residential waterfront properties. Let us be your go-to dock company! Send us a message, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Fun Waterfront Features for Summer Camps and Parks

Every recreational dock has a different setup. But there are some key waterfront features that you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re getting ready for a new dock build or just want to make some general repairs and improvements, consider adding these options!

3 Features for Your Camp or Park Dock

If you ask us, one of the best ways to enjoy sunny summer days is to head to the water. Public parks and kids’ summer camps can always benefit from a great dock layout. We love incorporating the following design elements into our work. Any of these features can help guests and campers enjoy more of what your waterfront has to offer.

1. Swim Platform

For most lakes, a swim platform is a must. A small floating dock can give swimmers a great place to rest or soak up the sun. People can have a fun time jumping or diving into the middle of your lake, and it’s all for a relatively low investment. Get your swim platform installed correctly, and it will last for years and years.

2. Low Profile Access

Another thing to think about for your dock is low profile access. When people want to use a kayak or canoe, a low profile dock section can be a helpful bonus. These designs make it easier to get in and out of your boat, on just about any body of water. They are great for rowing teams, too. Parks and camps looking to get a brand new dock should definitely look into these styles.

3. Fishing Pier

You also have to think about the people who enjoy the water, but don’t want to swim or go boating. Building a fishing pier (or improving the one your site already has) can help you cover all of your bases for the general public. If you don’t know where to start, talk with some experienced dock builders in your area. They can help you assess your site and determine what type of floating dock, walkway, or pier you need to accommodate your guests.

Plan for Waterfront Safety and ADA Docks

With any new public dock or fishing pier, you want to consider safety. The right measurements for your water depth, dock length, and slope all matter for new waterfront features. You don’t want a swim platform to be installed too close to the shore. You don’t want to miss any secure railings for your fishing pier either. These might sound like obvious details, but they’re worth double-checking. Find yourself a good contractor so your site stays safe.

Also, consider guests of different abilities. Designing with the ADA-compliant guidelines in mind can help you make your park or camp more accessible to everyone. A review of your existing layout could be a smart place to start. Then you can just make the upgrades you need, rather than redesigning your entire waterfront.

Give our team at Deaton’s Waterfront Services a call when you’re ready to talk through your options. We’re always happy to consult with you on your best options for your site, and more importantly—all of your visitors!

Beginner Kayak Features to Get You Out on the Water

You don’t have to stick to boating to enjoy your time on the water. Learning how to kayak can be a great hobby to pick up at any age. If you aren’t a fan of swimming, or it’s not safe to swim around your waterfront site, then kayaking can be a fun way to exercise—you just need to know how to start out.

Using a Kayak Launch on the Dock

The first thing to practice when you’re beginning to kayak is how to get in and out of the kayak. Some areas will only give you the option to get into your kayak from the shore. In that case, move the kayak as close to the water as possible. Then just climb in, sit down, and you should be able to push yourself into the water with your arms. Once you’re floating, you’ll be able to start paddling.

The other way to get into your kayak is from a dock. When your dock has a designated kayak launch, sitting down is usually much easier. Otherwise, you have to carefully balance your kayak as you step into it. Depending on the dock and water level, you might have quite a drop into the water!

A kayak launch is usually more convenient, especially for beginners. These setups let you ease yourself into the kayak in a secure, stable way. We like the EZ Kayak Launch because it’s durable and slip-resistant. It also goes above and beyond the ADA requirements, so pretty much anyone can use it to safely enter and exit their kayak. If you have questions about installing this feature for your waterfront, we’d be happy to help.

Learning How to Paddle a Kayak

There are four basic paddle strokes for navigating your kayak. Even as a beginner kayaker, it’s pretty simple to master these movements. The first one is the forward stroke. You start with one end of the paddle in the water, down by your toes. Then you pull back so the paddle’s blade ends up near your hip. Next, slightly twist your body forward as you put the other end of the paddle into the water on the opposite side. Soon you’ll get into a rhythm and be moving right along.

The reverse stroke is simply the backwards motion of the forward stroke. Instead of pulling back on the blade, you push the paddle away from your chest so it goes toward your toes. As you back up, just remember to watch where you’re headed so you don’t run into anything.

If you’re trying to move alongside another kayak, then you’ll need to use the draw stroke. This is where you stick a paddle blade in the water and pull yourself over. You’ll want to reach over far enough so both of your hands are hovering over the water in the direction where you want to move. Rotate your body toward the blade and pull to draw your kayak to that side.

Finally, there’s the sweep stroke. This helps you turn your kayak quickly. You just need to make a half-moon or arc shape . To turn forward, put the blade in the front of your kayak and draw a curve in the water towards the back. Moving your body with the paddle makes this easier. To go backward, just start with your paddle in the back of the boat, then draw your arc toward your toes in the front.

Practice those four types of strokes, and you’ll quickly build your confidence on the water. You can also check the diagrams for these kayak stroke patterns to get a better idea of how to use your paddle.

Kayak Safety Tips and Reminders

Whether you’re planning to rent kayaks for the day or you’re ready to invest in some kayaks to keep, brushing up on a few of the basics is a smart move. This article’s kayak buying guide can be a helpful resource as you sort through your options. Once you have your gear collected, you might be ready to get a kayak launch of your own. When you waterfront has a kayak launch, your transition from the dock to the water can go much smoother and safer. Being able to carefully enter and exit your kayak puts you in a better position to enjoy your time on the water.

It’s also important to wear a personal flotation device whenever you’re enjoying a watersport. Grab some sunscreen and snacks, and you should have a nice time with some good weather. Stick to areas that match your skill level, and have fun on the water!

Our Favorite Community Dock Projects of 2018

As we get into another year, we like to look back on past success. We completed a lot of waterfront projects in 2018, but a couple stand out. Our two favorite public dock projects are unique because they each have special features that make them a “first” for the state of Indiana.

Because both of these Indiana docks are on public sites, you can go check them out for yourself. They’ll be sure to get a lot of traffic in the years ahead. We’re always honored to help with community dock projects. These two installations are definitely great park additions!

Cicero Kayak Launch on Morse Lake

Deaton’s Waterfront Services had the privilege of working on a new kayak launch located in Cicero, Indiana on Morse Lake in the first half of 2018. Located in Charlie’s Landing inside Red Bridge Park, the kayak launch is now a major focal point and an extremely popular attraction for the area. We celebrated the ribbon cutting on June 20, 2018 with over 300 people in attendance, including politicians and dignitaries from the surrounding area.

Red Bridge Park

697 W Jackson Street

Cicero, IN 46034

This public dock kayak launch was made possible through a grant process guided by Cicero Park Director Charlie Cambre, along with donations from numerous Cicero Park enthusiasts. It’s always nice to involve the community with these park upgrades.

What makes this project unique is that it’s the very first ADA kayak launch in all of Central Indiana. Special features make it safe and convenient for visitors of all abilities. The gangway that leads to the main dock measures 5’ x 32’ and has aluminum railing on both sides of the walkway. The gangway leading to the floating dock portion also has plenty of room for users. Multiple paddlers can now access the launch simultaneously.

With a 15’ x 20’ area and two accessible kayak/canoe launches, this is a new must-see destination for paddling enthusiasts, as well as first-time kayakers and canoers.

Laporte EZ Trail System on Little Calumet River

Our other favorite project of 2018 was an EZ Trail System for Red Mill County Park, located on the Little Calumet River in LaPorte, Indiana. Deaton’s Waterfront Services was hired to connect the Cattail Loop Trail with the Nature Preserve Trail. This new floating walkway is now called the Margaret Buerger Bridge.

Red Mill County Park

0185 South Holmesville Road

LaPorte, IN 46350

This EZ Trail System was also made possible through a grant. LaPorte County Parks Director Jeremy Sobecki worked to guide the application process. The result is something that the entire community can be proud of!

We are especially proud of this public dock project because it’s the very first floating observation walkway in Indiana. The environmentally-friendly structure allows the wetlands water to fluctuate during every season. So even though the water levels are different in the spring/summer to the fall/winter, the walkway will be able to rise and fall without disrupting the habitat.

The floating trail is 80” wide and stretches 240’ in length. Railing was installed on both sides. There are also benches on either side so visitors can stop to enjoy the views.

Got a Floating Dock Question? We Can Help!

Moving forward with a new dock for your public dock, local park, or commercial site can be a big undertaking. But at Deaton’s Waterfront Services, we’re here to simplify the process. From the initial consultation and design stage, right through the installation and until opening day, our team can help make your new dock project a success.

If you’d like to learn more about our process, be sure to send us a message or call our office at (317) 747-4933. We’re always happy to talk through your options, and we work all throughout Indiana and the surrounding states. Let’s talk!

Pros and Cons of a Stationary Dock vs. Floating Dock

A stable dock allows you to enjoy the water—whether you’re entering your watercraft or just hanging out by the waterfront. Yet these structures aren’t indestructible. Normal wear and tear might mean your stationary dock isn’t holding up like it used to. Is it time to upgrade your dock with repairs? Or do you need to spring for a total dock replacement?

The Difference Between Dock Types

Many dock owners have been satisfied with their stationary dock for years. But the newer dock options on the market might cause you to change your tune. Depending on your waterfront, a floating dock could be a better setup. Knowing the pros and cons of the two main dock types will help you make an informed decision.

Stationary Dock

Areas with high traffic tend to do well with stationary docks because these structures are less affected by watercraft activity and movement. Stationary docks also tend to work well for areas that tend to have a consistent water level. Plus, they can help give you a sturdy footing when you get in and out of your boat.

The problem with these systems, though, is that they can be difficult to repair. Issues with the pilings—especially in deep water—can be expensive to fix, and problems with warping or breaking are almost unavoidable. Dramatic shifts in the water tide can also make it tricky to enter the water or reach your watercraft safely.

Floating Dock

Swimming platforms and waterfronts with fluctuating water levels utilize floating docks because these systems can rise and fall with you water depth. This feature makes floating docks incredibly versatile for a variety of sites. Floating docks also tend to be more affordable to install and maintain.

On the flip side, a floating dock may not be your best option in areas with a lot of water traffic. Because these docks follow the ebb and flow of water, a busy area might make these types of systems uncomfortable for your needs.

Typical Stationary Dock Repairs

Being exposed to the elements can make it impossible for a stationary dock to last forever. Factors such as snow load and ice can wear down on your equipment. Then there’s the matter of sink holes or shifting earth. If you start to notice that your dock isn’t quite level, or that certain sections aren’t as stable as they used to be, it’s probably time to make some dock repairs.

Below the surface, your dock might be in need of piling replacements. Pilings are often the weak point of the structure, especially when ice and land shift come into play. Although repairs can be costly, they are necessary for a stationary dock. Ignore them, and you might be dealing with an incredibly unstable and unsafe dock—or even one that starts to slip under water!

Floating Dock Replacement Benefits

If you need a dock to support a boat lift, then you’ll have to stick with a stationary dock setup. But for other sites, a floating dock might be a better alternative. Unlike stationary docks, these structures adjust to where you boat is sitting in the water. That’s why it can be easier to enter and exit your boat from a floating dock, because these structures move with the water level. Some manufacturers even offer unique launch setups to make it even easier to enjoy your watercraft. EZ Dock products, for example, include low profile docks and canoe and kayak launches. These pieces can be great add-ons for a variety of dock layouts.

The other benefit of a floating dock is that it’s completely customizable. If you aren’t satisfied with your layout or need to expand, it’s relatively easy to make adjustments. Modular builds give you unlimited versatility with your design. Simply choose the pieces you’d like to add to your dock, install, and enjoy.

If you’d like a free estimate for a new boat dock, please contact our team at Deaton’s Waterfront Services. We’re always happy to collaborate on new designs. Let’s schedule a time to talk about your waterfront’s setup to find the dock that’s right for you!

Connecting to Nature with Custom EZ Trail Systems

When you have a sturdy floating dock, your water activities aren’t limited to boating and swimming. You can also enjoy nature while strolling across an EZ Trail System! These modular walkways offer the perfect setup for making the most of your property. Municipalities, parks, neighborhoods, and schools love these floating docks because they give you the freedom to forge your own trail in an eco-friendly way.

About EZ Trail Systems

The versatile EZ Trail System is a unique offering in the EZ Dock product line because it can be utilized in both land and water designs. Whether you need a path through wetlands or a wooded area, these units can get the job done—with minimal interference to the environment.

  • Suitable for Land and Water
  • Easy to Install—and Easily Moved
  • Less Invasive without Permanent Foundation
  • Meets ADA Guidelines for Accessibility
  • Lasts Longer than Wood Walkways

One of the best parts of the EZ Trail System is that you can reconfigure your system at any time. The pieces can be easily moved, giving you complete control over your layout. Support options also let you suspend your path over vegetation. This can make your system as eco-friendly as possible. Overall, the long-term value is a sound investment for a variety of locations.

EZ Dock Benefits and Uses

The EZ Dock products are great for custom builds because they utilize a modular floating dock system. This creates minimally-invasive trails to help park-goers, environmental workers, and students travel through flood plains and woodlands. EZ Trail Systems can work just about anywhere you need a safe walkway!

Floating Dock Walkways for Community Areas

Why limit your recreational area’s walking paths? With an EZ Trail System, you can let guests travel throughout your camp ground or park with ease. Installing a floating dock walkway for your residential area is also easy with this modular system. Consider adding a path across your neighborhood pond, or setting up a new trail throughout the nearby park. Because these platforms work for both water and land, the configurations are endless. You can set up one path across a waterway, and then let it carry on through the woods.

Less Invasive Trails for School Systems

School systems that have a wet areas or bogs on their property can maximize their land with a floating dock walkway. After setting up a custom system, students and staff can enjoy nature up close along the pathways. These paths are great because they let you take the science lab outdoors, set a new scene for art class, and more. And since the floating docks don’t disrupt the environment with extensive digging or installation, you can feel confident that you’re doing your part to protect nature.

Contact Your EZ Dock Dealer

Getting your own EZ Trail System is simple to order and install. Just contact your local EZ Dock dealer to start the conversation. With so many configuration options, you’re sure to find the perfect setup for your own walkway.

If you’re in the Deaton’s Waterfront Services area, we’d be happy to help you out. We work on projects all throughout Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. Whether you’re looking for a long or short path, accessible ramps, or even a floating dock platform, our team can help you out. Our careful design process will help you get everything you need in your new outdoor feature. Contact us today to learn more!

How We Work: Deaton’s Waterfront Services

We want every client to have a positive experience working with the Deaton’s Waterfront Services team. Whether you’re contacting us about repairs to your floating dock, need a new seawall installed, or you have questions about your boat lift, our crew is here to help. In this post, we’re reviewing some of the features that set our crew apart. No matter what type of project you need, we like to follow these guiding principles in our work.

Great Communication

Solid communication goes both ways in any relationship. That’s why our team works hard to listen to all of our clients. Every project takes our full concentration, and we’re proud to be able to supply great results. Our years of experience and commitment to good communication (and great listening skills) help make that possible.

That being said, it’s always helpful when clients let us know their hopes and concerns for a new waterfront project. We like to understand what questions you have early on, so we can do everything in our power to alleviate your concerns and meet your expectations. It’s also worthwhile to know other details ahead of time. For example, telling us that you have a dog on the property can be useful if we’re coming out to do a waterfront site evaluation. Good communication also means we’ll also work to update you along the way for our own progress. This type of reciprocity helps make your next project a success.

Video Consultations

We try to be flexible in how we consult with clients. Since it can sometimes be challenging to find a good time to meet in person, we like to make video consultations available for clients. Whether you want to talk about your Indiana dock or you’re located elsewhere in our service area (including Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, or Missouri), we’re always happy to schedule a video chat with you to discuss your project needs.

Our clients appreciate this option for their design and repair consultations because it gives them information faster. Sometimes, repairs are relatively minor. Knowing what you’re facing before we come for an onsite visit can help you plan accordingly and give you a little more time to make a final decision. It’s easy to get the input your need with a video call. That’s why we like to encourage all of our residential, commercial, and government waterfront services clients to consider this option whenever it makes sense. We’re happy to work with you in whatever way works best!

Accurate Designs

Striving for top-of-the-line service is always one of our goals. Usually, this starts in the design phase. Covering all of the necessary details before the physical project begins helps keep our projects on-time. Plus, it helps makes the entire process more enjoyable for everyone involved.

With over 30 years of expertise in the industry, Deaton’s Waterfront Services aims to provide quality at every step of your project. From boat docks to boat houses, we like to offer clients clear designs to make sure all of your needs are met. This is just as important for residential dock projects as it is for our larger commercial and municipal waterfront assignments. When we can agree on a set design before we bring materials out to your site, it’s easier for us to avoid unnecessary delays and confusion. Our clients appreciate this attention to detail, and we know you will, too!

If you’re ready to continue the conversation of how Deaton’s Waterfront Services can help with your next project, please send us a message. We’d be happy to discuss your design options, repairs, or installation during a video call or onsite visit. Or, give us a call at (317) 747-4933 to learn more!

Turn Your Floating Dock into the “Go-To” Summer Spot

Having a well-maintained floating dock isn’t just a benefit for you and your immediate family—it can be a great summertime go-to for all of your friends and extended family, too! If you want to make your property the “life of the party” for summer fun, just follow these tips. Making great memories is easy when you’ve got the right equipment and know-how.

Tip No. 1: Plan for a Crowd

When you want to host the big summer bashes, you’ve got to make sure you have enough seating and places to lounge. Planning for a crowd can help you give everyone a place to kick back and relax. Keeping extra chairs on hand makes a big difference. Then, you can pull out whatever seating arrangements you need at a moment’s notice.

While you’re at it, consider stocking up on towels, sunscreen, and even spare sunglasses, too. Stock up on more than just food and drink to really be the “host with the most.” That way, if anyone forgets something at home, you’ll be able to step in with what they need. These little touches will make all of your guests feel welcome.  Once you get these supplies on hand, the only thing missing is just a little music. Everyone is sure to have a great time on your boat,  floating dock, or wherever else when you’ve got all the party basics covered.

Tip No. 2: Use a Team Approach

Of course, you don’t have to do all the planning on your own. Feel free to recruit your guests to lend a hand. Using a team approach encourages everyone to get involved, and consequently, feel more invested in the summertime fun. Let people know ahead of time if they can bring soda or donate some towels to your lake house supplies. (Also note: This sense of community might also help guests feel more invested in keeping your place clean!)

Tip No. 3: Promote Water Safety

The team approach can also extend to your water safety plans. Let your friends and family know that they can keep an eye out for any loose boards on your deck or issues with couplers on your floating dock. Your work gets a lot easier when you have more people involved in checking your equipment. Any problems are sure to get spotted, so you have less to worry about during the waterfront season.

You’ll also need to prepare for other water safety tactics if you have electronics around your floating dock. Hazards around the water can be especially dangerous this time of year, so doing your due diligence to prevent any mishaps will help keep everyone safe. A proper setup is key. If you haven’t worked with a waterfront expert to review your floating dock and other gear, you might consider having a detailed review before your next get-together.  Electric shock drowning is a very real danger on waterfronts, so you’ll want everything up to code.

Floating Dock Design from Deaton’s

When your floating dock needs a little extra attention, you can count on Deaton’s Waterfront Services. While we’re big fans of the EZ Dock products, our expertise stretches to all types of dock systems. So, whether you need minor repairs or a complete overhaul—our team can help you out.

If you’re in our service area, feel free to give us a call at (317) 747-4933 to check our availability. Or, send us a message with some of your concerns and details. We’re always happy to coordinate video conferences with clients so you can get your answers fast, without having to wait for our crew to come to your site. And because we service both residential floating dock and commercial dock setups, we can truly be your one-stop shop. Contact us today to make the most of your waterfront setup!

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Lake House

When thinking about buying a lake house, there are a few questions to keep in mind. You don’t want to make such a big decision without considering the most important features. Whether the lake house will become your second home, a rental, your permanent address, or just a place to escape on the weekends, thinking through these details can help you confirm that you’re making the right choice.

1. Is the driving distance reasonable?

You don’t want to commit to a property that’s inconveniently located. Be brutally honest with your calculations on the drive-time. That way, you can avoid the problem of loving a property, but hating the distance it takes to get there.

If you have a few different properties in mind, comparing and contrasting the driving time to each location might help you narrow down your options. Do you want a lake house that’s just an hour away, or can you make do with a trip of 2 or 3 hours? Also consider the traffic. Will you be leaving after work on a Friday? In that case, you might need to add another 30 minutes to your travel plans.

2. What lake house maintenance is required?

Being handy doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have to put in a lot of hard work for your new lake house. A close critique of what’s working and what needs repairing can help you decide whether you want to make an offer on the property.

For example, does the lake house have a boat house or floating dock that needs major dock repairs? If you aren’t sure, you might want to have a waterfront expert come out to do a review of the existing structures. Just like how a home inspector analyzes every corner of a house, a waterfront review can give you valuable information on the structural soundness of a dock or water feature. You don’t want to make the mistake of buying a property without these checks. Otherwise, you might have to foot the bill for an expense seawall repair or other renovation down the road.

3. Do you have access to other amenities?

In addition to counting the miles from the lake house to your permanent address, you’ll also need to study the distance from the lake house to other amenities. How much time are you willing to spend driving to the nearest gas station or grocery store?

Odds are, your full-time home is within close driving distance to everything you need. But your new lake house might have a more remote location. Depending on what your expectations are, you might not be ready to go with an address that’s too far “off the grid.” Think through all the requirements before you move forward with your decision. Do you need a hardware store around the corner? How about a movie theater? What you plan to do at the lake house might help you determine what amenities are necessary, and what are just unnecessary luxuries.

4. Are the lake’s regulations agreeable?

Some lakes that you’re looking at might have strict regulations as part of their homeowners’ association agreements. If you aren’t sure about these rules upfront, it’s important to double-check with the sellers so nothing gets missed.

Are you going to have the freedom you want at your lake house, or will you have to make some adjustments to your plans based on the HOA regulations? For example, are you going to be able to build your own floating dock close to your shoreline, or are there certain restrictions? Knowing about these potential roadblocks upfront can give you the clarity you need to feel confident in your new place.

5. Can you enjoy the lake house year-round?

While a lake house tends to be most enjoyable during the summer months, you’ll want to make sure your investment has year-round appeal. Assuming you can’t get on the water in the winter, will you have other reasons to utilize your property during the “off season?”

A lake house has to hold up to other measures that just being near the water. The inside of your home is equally important. That’s why you’ll want to do a careful walk-through all around the property. Can you see the potential to enjoy the space during the holiday season? Are the views nice enough that you’d still want to visit even if you can’t go out on your boat? Making sure you’ve got the total package will be a great benefit to you and your family. After all, you don’t want your new space to go to waste!