Flatbed trailers are typically exposed to the elements. This exposure is usually where flooring may suffer weather-related damage. To preserve the properties of Apitong wood we recommend regular review of all wooden surfaces on your trailer.

damaged, cracked hardwood trailer floor

You have to pay special attention to horizontal surfaces, as they are much more exposed to weather influences than vertical ones. The most important external elements that affect both the strength and appearance of the wood are fluctuating climatic conditions and weather effects such as sun, rain, wind, snow, polluted air and the like.

Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it naturally takes on and gives off water to balance out with its surrounding environment. Wood shrinks/swells when it loses/gains moisture below its fiber saturation point. This natural behaviour of wood is responsible for some of the problems sometimes encountered when wood dries.

For example, cracks/checks can result from stresses induced in a piece of wood that is drying. As the piece dries, it develops a moisture gradient across its section (more dry on the outside, more wet on the inside). The dry outer shell wants to shrink as it dries below fiber saturation, however the wetter core constrains the shell. This can cause small cracks called “surface checking” or “season checking” to form on the surface.

damaged, cracked hardwood trailer floor

Besides checking caused by moisture, high temperatures may also potentially damage your floors. Damage of this nature typically takes the form of shrinkage to the face of the decking. The result is that larger than normal spacing will appear between boards. This can also potentially be accompanied by concave cupping of the Apitong decking.

close up checks in hardwood

Another major source of potential damage to Flatbed Trailer decking is sunlight. Sunlight can damage the cellular structure of wood. UV rays break down the materials that hold the wood fibers together. You have seen how these UV rays can destroy your deck chairs and cushions – the same holds true for your Apitong Floors!

close up checks in hardwood

Keep in mind that wood will adjust to its surrounding environment. Despite steps taken during the manufacture of your trailer boards, even properly seasoned decking has the potential to change dimensions after installation if the right conditions are present. It is important to understand that extreme swings in climate during summer and winter can adversely affect your trailer decking.

In order to minimize the potential damage caused by the weather, we therefore strongly urge customers to consider applying a good quality finish to all exposed surfaces of your trailer deck. The cost of labor to apply a good finish to your Flatbed Deck is minimal when compared to the potential damage and degradation, which occur from the elements. It usually takes less than an hour’s labor and just a few gallons of deck treatment to properly protect your floors.

well cared-for trailer floor

In order to avoid damage caused by the elements, there are basically two types of deck treatments to consider - 1) a semi-transparent oil stain or 2) a water repellent preservative. Of these two, we at recommend the oil stain.

The advantage of the oil stains is that they soak more deeply into the pores of the wood and at the same time provide an attractive, even color while still allowing the natural grain of the wood to show through. When shopping for oil stains, keep in mind that there are two types of oil stains - 1) natural oils like linseed oil and 2) more expensive synthetic oils. Both oils do an excellent job of sealing and preserving the wood and they both produce a beautiful deck. If you live in an area with moderate humidity and rain, natural oil stains have a tendency to support mildew and discoloration. The better natural oil stains contain mildewcides (or they can be added), but the black mildew may still reappear in a year or so. Synthetic oil stains are specially formulated and eliminate the problem of black mildew.

The clear water repellent preservatives often are a wax or a silicon base that seals the surface, but soaks less deeply into the wood. The water repellant preservatives are usually less expensive (only about half the cost of good quality oil stains) but they really should be reapplied every year.

Check the label to make sure your deck treatment contains water repellents, mildewcides and UV blockers.

We at Nova USA Wood Products and offer a wide variety of Apitong products for the trailer and truck body industry. We purchase only the best materials from reputable mills that place and emphasis on quality and delivery. We are also one of the few suppliers who have overseas inspectors in place to ensure that material is thoroughly checked before it departs the mill. This final inspection ensures that you get exactly what you ordered each and every time. We certify all of our trailer decking products and warranty them against defects in workmanship. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at 1-855-APITONG.