Apitong Shiplap Trailer Decking

Asian Apitong has been the traditional wood of choice for flatbed truck flooring for at least 25 years. As standard flatbed flooring, Apitong truck decking is usually a solid, plank flooring. Most commonly in a shiplap form, this flatbed flooring will typically vary from 1-1/8” to 1-3/4” in thickness with widths typically 5” or 7”. Solid shiplap flooring is typically used in lightweight flatbed trailers where product weight, durability, strength and price are the major concerns for manufacturers.

Apitong Shiplap Decking

Lengths are an important factor in selecting solid hardwood truck flooring. Tropical hardwoods will typically average at least 12-14’ in length. Splices must occur on cross members, which are typically between 12” and 24” center to center. One US manufacturer is finger jointing solid planks up to 53’ in length so that trailer manufacturers do not need to deal with random length boards; the average length of the planks before finger jointing is around 12’.

Apitong Shiplap Plank Flooring Compared to LTF

Do not confuse solid plank flooring with laminated truck flooring (LTF). LTF is strictly used in dry van trailers and is not able to withstand exterior exposure. The LTF market is substantially bigger than the solid plank flooring market; mixed light hardwoods from Southeast Asia and domestic Red Oak and the main species used in LTF. Typically the LTF manufacturers will use 5/4 or 6/4 x R/W raw material, S2S and straight line rip the material, and then they will cut hook joints on the ends of the strips. These strips are then laid up into a continuous panel that is edge glued together. LTF is generally run 12” wide with a shiplap and can be made as long as 53’.

Apitong Shiplap Decking

Apitong typically comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. Apitong truck decking is imported into the United States as both rough material and as finished product. Shipping from Southeast Asia is done using both standard shipping containers and by breakbulk vessels.

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Alternate Wood Species for Shiplap Truck Deck Boards

Many other species of wood have been used over the years as shiplap truck deck boards. Angelim Pedra is a hardwood from Brazil which is also known as Brazilian Apitong. It's technically a different species of hardwood than the typical Keruing or Genuine Apitong, but it performs very similarly to Genuine Apitong from Malaysia and Indonesia. Purpleheart used to be very popular as well but it has gotten too expensive over the years. Customers are always looking for the best value in hardwood truck boards - that means cost effective, durable and strong. Not an easy combination to achieve.

Shiplap Board Pattern, Z-boards vs T-boards

Shiplap trailer flooring is the standard for medium duty flatbed and dropdeck trailers. Lowboy trailers and equipment haulers will generally use rough boards as opposed to shiplap. 1-1/8" x 7" shiplap is the most popular size we sell - it's 7-3/8" overall with a 3/8" lap on both edges. These boards are often referred to as Z-boards, as opposed to T-boards which have the lap extensions on both edges on the same face. T-Boards are often used as a center board when you want the outer boards laps to be either both on the bottom, or both on the top.

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