Why Wood Trailer Decking Is the Best Option
There is no denying that having quality material on your trailer deck is essential. After all, the deck helps provide a stable surface for your loads to rest on and also helps to prolong the life of your trailer. Because of that, it is crucial to choose the right trailer decking material. There are many decking options on the market and decisions in this area can confusing and overwhelming. Not all decking is the same, your intended use, price point, and required durability all come into play when deciding which decking material to use for your trailer. Below are many decking options that meet regular safety requirements, serve different load needs, and are offered at different price points. In the open-top and livestock trailer industries, the most common decking options are Douglas fir, Oaks & softwoods (treated and untreated). Each option comes with its pros and cons and knowing the differences is vital for choosing the best product for your trailer.
Choosing the Best Wood for your Trailer
When it comes to wood trailer decking, there are many different options available on the market, but you can't choose just any wood. You should choose the one that makes the most sense for your trailers needs. Consider what kind of loads you usually have, the exposure to the outside your truck receives and the price you are willing to spend. The stronger and more durable the woods handle heavy-duty loads without giving way, bending or breaking, but at a much higher price point. If you only handle light items, you may not need something as tough. Similarly, a dry van doesn't necessarily need something weather resistant. Choosing the right trailer decking is a balance of Cost, Time & availability. Use this guide as a starting point to help decide what sort of trailer decking is best for your needs.
5 Wood Trailer Decking Options
Douglas Fir has always been a popular wood in a variety of applications, particularly construction, and is also very affordable. Unlike other options, Douglas fir is desirable because it contains many attributes not found in other softwoods, while being much more cost effective than hardwoods. Douglas fir typically has much less wane and much smaller knots than other softwoods. This makes it easier to find usable boards. Douglas fir is a more stable fiber, which leads to less warping. Douglas fir can be easily found and cut to exact dimensions. It is much lighter than hardwoods and relatively durable when compared to costs of hardwoods.
For the past 25 years, Asian Keruing or Apitong trailer decking has been a top choice for trailers across North America. Apitong hardwood trailer decking is traditionally sold as solid plank or shiplap form and comes in varying thicknesses and widths. While this is a common trailer decking material for truck trailers, it is best used in lightweight flatbed trailers. This wood is considered to have the best strength-to-weight ratio of any hardwood that gets commercially harvested. However the cost for this wood can be 3 times that of softwood, and is so dense that cutting it to size requires special blades. Angelim Pedra, also called Brazilian Apitong, is another wood trailer decking material to consider. Angelim Pedra is commonly used for industrial hardwood trailer decking and even exterior residential decking.
For industrial trailer decking, another wood option to consider is Purpleheart. It is one of the best wood types for trailer decking due to its natural durability and stability. Purpleheart wood has long been a popular option for hardwood trailer decking, as well as the shipbuilding industry. Unfortunately, it can be prone to warpage over time and is very difficult to mill, making it difficult to find the western states.
One wood commonly requested for decking is Oak. Oak being a hardwood is assumed to be a more durable option than Douglas Fir, but is still is not necessarily the best wood for trailer decking. This is because, compared to other woods, Oak is not the most stable wood available. Oak wood has closed pores offering a little more durability, but it is still not ideal for industrial and trailer flooring applications. Rough oak is used for trailer decking primarily for its strength. Oak decking is often referred to as “rough” oak for a reason. Oak is typically less uniform in shape than the other decking options. Also, The availability of oak is not as prevalent in North America. The properties making oak strong also make it dense and heavy, and the cell structure of oak does not allow for optimal chemical penetration and retention.
Southern yellow pine (SYP) may be the most frequently used wood trailer decking material. It is widely available in North America as it is grown 35 percent faster than it is being cut which also makes SYP the most affordable decking product listed in this article. SYP is used for trailer decking for two main reasons: its strength and its ability to absorb treatment. Even though it is not considered a hardwood, pine is a very strong fiber. The cell structure of SYP allows for better chemical absorption than any of the other materials listed, which means it is more resistant to rot and decay. Untreated SYP does not have this benefit. The downsides to SYP include its common defects such as knots, wane and warping. Knots create weak points in the board while wane gives rounded edges instead of flat surfaces and sharp corners. The cell structure of SYP that allows it to absorb treatment so well also allows it to warp and twist if not properly dried after treating.
Sell Lumbers’ Options:
Sell lumber supplies multiple sizes in trailer decking. From 2” to 4” thick, we stock 12” wide Douglas fir that we can rip to any size for you. Regular inventory ranging from 8’ to 24’ lengths. Looking for something more durable? We can custom order Apitong decking to fit your needs. Naturally resistant to Decay, Insects and Mold, even in the most extreme environments this deck could last longer than you!
2" X 12" Rough Boards
3" X 12" Rough Boards
- 1-1/8" X 7" Shiplap Boards
- 1-5/16" X 7" Shiplap Boards
- 1-3/8" X 7" Shiplap Boards
- 1-1/8" X 5" Shiplap Boards
- 1-5/16" X 5" Shiplap Boards
- 1-3/8" X 5" Shiplap Boards
- 1-3/4" X 5" Shiplap Boards
- 1-1/8" X 5-1/2" Nailer Boards
- 1-1/2" X 8" Rough Boards
- 2" X 8" Rough Boards
- 2" X 12" Rough Boards
- 3" X 12" Rough Boards