Wood Trailer Flooring & Hardwood Trailer Decking

Tropical Hardwoods, Domestic Hardwoods & Softwoods Typically Used as Trailer Flooring

Tropical hardwood from Southeast Asia and South America is generally much more durable, has superior strength properties, and weighs more than domestic North American hardwoods or softwoods. Of course, there are many low density woods that grow in the tropics as well, but the list of higher density woods that have been used on trailer floors is long: Purpleheart, Angelim Pedra, Jatoba, Ipe, Cumaru, Greenheart, Bulletwood, Massaranduba, Tauroniro, Shibidan, Tanimbuca - just to name a few. Most importantly, tropical hardwoods are by far the best value in the industry when it comes to truck decking and trailer flooring applications.

Below is a table comparing the various types of wood that may be used in the trailer flooring industry:

SPECIES Approximate Weight per MBF at 10% MC Modulus of Rupture (psi) Modulus of Elasticity (1000 psi) Maximum Crushing Strength (psi) Side Hardness (lbs) Compression Perpendicular (psi) Shear (psi)
Purpleheart 4,800 21,300 2,420 11,380 2,060 1,910 1,830
Tatajuba 4,500 20,050 2,580 11,560 1,730 NA NA
Apitong 4,600 19,900 2,070 10,500 1,270 NA 2,070
Angelim Pedra 4,400 17,600 2,050 8,990 1,720 A 2,010
White Oak 4,200 15,200 1,780 7,440 1,360 1,070 1,360
Red Oak 3,900 14,300 1,820 6,760 1,070 1,010 1,780
Southern Yellow Pine 3,100 14,200 1,880 7,750 750 890 1,490
Douglas Fir 2,700 12,400 1,950 7,230 710 800 1,130

US Dept. of Agriculture Handbook No. 207
US Dept. of Agriculture Handbook No. 72, pp 4-24

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Genuine Apitong Hardwood is the First Choice by Manufacturers & the Aftermarket Service & Repair Industry

Many different species of wood have been used for truck trailer flooring. The most common species in use today on flatbeds, drop decks and open or exposed trailers is a hardwood called Apitong which is also known as Keruing. A very close substitute is Angelim Pedra which is also known as Brazilian Apitong. Both are very strong, naturally durable, and generally available from wholesalers such as TrailerDecking.com. Domestic hardwood species that are used in the trailer flooring market include American Red Oak, White Oak, and Hard Maple; all of which are used in dry vans and van bodies. In terms of domestic softwoods, only Southern Yellow Pine and Douglas Fir are used on low cost utility trailers. In some cases, the softwood lumber is pressure treated but it still tends to wear out in 5-7 years, which is much shorter than the typical lifespan of a light duty utility trailer. We always recommend replacing softwood once it starts to rot out with a durable hardwood such as our Genuine Apitong or Brazilian Apitong. These Apitong woods weigh approximately twice as much as Southern Yellow Pine wood and are roughly three times the strength and hardness. When comparing Apitong wood to Red Oak or White Oak wood, again Apitong has both higher strength properties, hardness and density. For exterior or exposed truck decking use, Genuine Apitong and Brazilian Apitong are the two best choices.

Available in Both Rough Boards and Shiplap, as shown below, these are solid boards in lengths ranging from 8' to 20' or longer:

Apitong Wood Trailer Flooring

Asian Apitong has been the traditional wood of choice for flatbed truck flooring for at least 25 years. As standard flatbed flooring, Apitong is usually used as solid, plank flooring. Most commonly in a shiplap form, this flatbed trailer 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. There are options to buy finger jointed or end glued 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’.

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Wood Trailer Flooring Options

It is not uncommon to see light duty applications such as homeowner utility trailers being built with either softwood dimension lumber or plywood for the utility trailer floor. These softwood and plywood floors will not hold up for more than a few years. It certainly helps to use a high quality wood stain to help protect the material from moisture, but once the floor is rotted out, it's generally recommended to replace the floor with something that will last at least as long as the utility trailer steel structure.

Apitong hardwood will help the consumer get as much as 15-20 years of life out of a typical utility trailer. Of course, a hardwood truck floor will always cost more than a softwood truck floor. When it comes to utility trailer flooring options, TrailerDecking.com has the longest lasting, most naturally durable hardwood available today. Don't hesitate to give us a call or email with questions regarding your next wood trailer floor.

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