Trailer Flooring - 7 Choices for Replacement Trailer Floooring
3 Really Good Ones!

By Steve Getsiv, 08/15/23

You've decided to replace the flooring on your trailer. Maybe it rotted out from the pile of leaves you left on it all Winter long? Maybe you have some holes and you're afraid someone is going to fall through the deck? Here are some options for you to consider when choosing trailer flooring. Listed from worst to best - we recommend any of the last 3 choices which are all fantastic options for long lasting trailer flooring.

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1. Exterior Grade Plywood

Maybe your trailer started out with a plywood floor? It would seem to be a good choice just to put the same stuff back on it, right? No. Plywood is really not a good choice unless you only intend to keep the trailer for a few more seasons. About the only time plywood makes for good trailer flooring is when you're installing it in an enclosed trailer.

If you have plywood on a flatbed or utility trailer that sits out in the weather, you're basically going to have to replace it every few years. There are better choices. Read on.

2. Pressure Treated Lumber

Sure, you can go to your local lumber yard and pick up some pressure treated lumber to replace the rotted out trailer flooring. Almost all pressure treated today is treated AQCI which is less toxic version of the old CCA treatment. AQCI is also corrosive to most metal including the standard trailer flooring screws that are available from most retail trailer repair stores. You have to use galvanized or stainless steel screws which are both difficult to find and very expensive.

Presssure treated lumber is also green, aka air dried, aka "still dripping wet" when you pick it up at the dealer. It needs a few weeks of time to fully dry out before installation. If you install it while it's still wet, you're going to get a bunch of shrinkage and end up with gaps between your boards. Again, this is not our recommended solution for a long term trailer floor. It will outlast typical exterior grade plywood so it ranks #2 in our list.

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3. Exterior Grade Softwood Decking

There are plenty of choices in softwood exterior decking from Western Redcedar to California Redwood to Eastern White Pine. The heartwood is reasonably durable in most of the typical softwood decking species; however, the sapwood is not durable and subject to rot and decay within just a few years. And when it comes to clear, all heart wood materials like Cedar and Redwood, the costs are roughly two to three times as much as our recommended solutions. Sure, you can use expensive clear grade softwood and pay three times as much as you need to, but you will still end up with trailer flooring that won't be as hard or as durable as our recommendations.

4. Domestic Hardwood Lumber

You're restoring your grandpa's 1955 Willys and you want an original White Oak or Red Oak bed. We agree. Use the original North American hardwood lumber. Just remember to keep it in the garage since most domestic hardwoods are not super durable, nor are they very stable. Moisture, exposure to weather, sitting outside with snow in the bed for three months, parked next to your lakehouse all Summer long in direct sunlight... none of these things will do your newly restored trailer flooring any favors. At the very least, use an awesome wood stain and sealer product to protect that beautiful truck bed.

5. Brazlian Apitong, Angelim Pedra

We've been using Angelim Pedra, aka Brazilian Apitong, for more than 20 years in truck flooring applications. It's a naturally durable, high density species of wood that mainly comes from Brazil. Angelim Pedra is used in many of the most demanding appliations such as heavy equipment trailers, drop deck trailers, step deck trailers and standard commecial flatbed trailers. Upgrading your trailer flooring to Angelim Pedra should help you get another 10 to 15 years or more out of your trailer.

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Angelim Pedra is available in both shiplap and rough sawn boards. The shiplap works great for flatbed and utility trailer flooring applications because the boards literally lap over each by about 3/8". This helps to keep your cargo free from road spray and debris.

6. Genuine Apitong, Keruing

Sourced in Indonesia and Malaysia, Genuine Apitong, aka Keuing, has been the go to species of hardwood for industrial application such as trailer flooring for more than 50 years. Apitong is hard, strong, dense and natural durable - and it's one of the straightest grain, most defect-free hardwood boards available for long length trailer flooring applications. Apitong has been relegated to industrial uses due to the natural resins that occur in this species of hardwood; these resins will occasionally bubble out of the wood, making it rather unsuitable for interior residential uses such as flooring and furniture.

Apitong is also available in both shiplap and rough sawn boards. Check out our product cataloig to see what we hae for tallies available in both our Memphis and Oregon warehouses.

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7. Exotic Hardwood Decking

There are many fantastic tropical hardwood species available for use in residential decking applications. From South America, there's Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa and Massaranduba. And from SE Asia, there's Red Balau, Bangkirai, Merbau, and Torem. All of these hardwood products are typically used for decking and are run S4S E4E, not to the standard shiplap profile that is used in Brazilian Apitong and Genuine Apitong. These decking woods are also significantly more expensive than either Apitong or Angelim Pedra. Sure, you can argue they are "more pretty" but they are also "more money". Unless you're building a show trailer, we recommend sticking to less expensive options for your trailer flooring.

Protect Your Trailer Flooring from the Elements

Now that you have choses materials, let's get it protected from the elements. Our ExoShield APITONG Oil is a great solution and it's easy to apply. With built UV blocking and high quality transoxide pignments, APITONG Oil will help your new trailer flooring last for years. Our exclusive penetrating oil formula will get into the wood fibers to help prevent rot and decay. We recommend recoating every 2-3 years for maximum protection.

By Steve Getsiv, 08/15/23


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