How To Install Trailer Deck Screws

By Steve Getsiv, 09/21/20

Professional installation tips from Tom Pole of Vanport Trucking

We interviewed Tom Pole from Vanport Trucking in Vancouver, Washington to learn the best techniques for installation of truck deck screws. Tom has many years of experience in woodworking and has repaired or replaced countless trailer floors over his career.

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Replacing a truck floor with new Apitong boards requires several important steps as show below as well as discussed in the video interview between Steve Getsiv of TrailerDecking.com and Tom.

Important Tips

Be sure to mark the new hole locations on the top of trailer deck so that you hit the cross members in the perfect spot. You don't want to re-use the old holes which are generally located right in the middle of the cross member's width. Mark the edges so that you can pre-drill closer to the vertical side or web side of the cross member.

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Predrilling should be done in 3 steps:

1. PREDRILL - Use a high quality drill bit with the correct diameter to go all the way through the wood and the aluminum cross member - two holes at each location where the wood passes over the cross member, approximately 1" in from each edge. For 1/4" x 20 TPI deck screws, we recommend a #1 (0.228") drill bit; for 5/16" x 18 TPI deck screws, we recommend a 9/32" (0.2812") drill bit.

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2. COUNTERSINK - Use a countersink bit to cut an even 45 degree bevel all the way around the hole so that the trailer deck screw is flush to slightly below the top of the wood floor. If you don't countersink, especially with hardwood, the deck screw will try to split the wood at the screw hole and the screw will end up sitting above the surface of the deck.

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3. CLEAN OUT - Use compressed air to clean out the hole before driving the deck screw into place. Aluminum and wood shavings remaining in the hole will bind up with the screw and prevent it from screwing in cleanly and easily.

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Another professional tip: On hot days, the metal components of your flatbed trailer will expand slightly, especially if you have an almuninum floor with wood nail strips. You want to be sure you get a really tight fit between the wood and the aluminum so on cooler days, the gaps are minimized. The wood itself won't expand in length when it gets wet or hot but it will swell slightly in thickness and width when the truck floor is exposed to moisture. A 1/8" gap edge to edge between deck boards is generally recommended for center frame and outside frame trailers.

Pretty simple, right? Exactly. Just don't skip any steps and you'll be able to easily replace your deck boards and get more life out of your flatbed trailer.

Watch the full video of Steve's interview with Tom on YouTube

By Steve Getsiv, 09/21/20

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