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Old 07-19-2006, 09:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best type of wood for trailer floor?

So, whats the consensus for trailer flooring wood? Im leaning toward Douglas fir. I've looked into pressure treated douglas fir, but I am finding it to be almost 4 times as much money as standard douglas fir. And I figure if I spend a decent amount of time with a water sealer on the standard douglas fir, it should last for a VERY long time. So, whats everyone's thoughts on the best wood for trailer flooring. Im looking to keep my wood in the $250 range for the floor...
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I didn't specify species, I just asked to lumber yard guy for ACQ treated 2x8s. I guess they're probably fir; maybe yellow pine... I spent a half an hour with a dado blade in my table saw cutting 1/4 inch tongue & groove channels in the edges, filled to groove with PL-400 construction adhesive, and bolted them down with about 100 1/4 inch dome head machine bolts. Over the next week, I watched all that hard work of grooving the edges and filling them with expensive glue go down the drain because as the boards dried they shrunk nearly 1/2 inch each and disengaged the grooves. In spite of that minor mistake, the boards have remained firmly in place and easily supported everything from a Geo Prizm to Bobcats to 8K worth of busted concrete pieces. I've even used an excavator to scrape dirt and gravel off the deck a few times. I have abused the trailer deck far more than most people would and it has held up quite well for 4 years now. The frame crossmembers are up to 28 inches apart.

The plywood sideboards that I built at the same time crumbled and have found their rightful place in the county landfill a long time ago. They were not made with pressure treated wood. Draw you own conclusion...
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Old 07-19-2006, 11:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I replaced the deck on my 16' trailer about 6 yrs. ago with kiln dried 2x12 moulding grade doug fir (very few small tight knots)and haven't had a problem. We use this trailer hard, hauling units of lumber for the mill as well as cars, my truck, and a couple of small tractors. I wouldn't use any adhesive because of the temperature extremes, wood needs to expand and contract with the climate or it promotes tension at the mounting points.

I'll probably replace this deck in the next year or two just because of the look of it(since we use it to deliver high end moulding to clients as well), but structurally it's still strong. If you want to go that route, find a lumber wholesaler in your area, most have a retail counter.

most of what you'll find in the retail lumber yards is #2 building material with medium to large knots and it's still green, so it will shrink and cup. kiln dried is brought down to ~7-9% moisture content and is much more stable.










.....Or call trailer Guy & see what he uses.
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I did mine with 5/4 decking board. Cheap, readily available. My trailer has an abundance of support under the deck so that wasn't a concern. In the same realm they have a concrete & fiber material in the same dimensions that is commonly used for beach boardwalks on the gulf coast and those have held up well.

I installed mine green with a very tight fit and after drying it has given me about a 1/8" gap between boards which is what i was looking for. Attached with carrage bolts drilled into the cross supports.
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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if your not to terriably concerned with apperance i'd use pin oak, its cheap and extremly strong just not all that pretty, but im sure with a good heavy duty stain it'd work well for a trailer
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're cheap (i mean really cheap) and you dont care about looks then do what my dad did. He used plain old non-treated pine 2x8's and coated them with used motor oil. Been on the same trailer for 20 years, sits out 24/7 and looks new. Once a year he brushes more oil on it. After a day or two of re-coating it soaks in and isnt slick like you would think.
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My trailer had nasty beat-to-hell wood on it when I got it, and after I got the sticker shock of new pressure treated I just flipped the boards over and put three steel bands over the top to hold them down. It works great, and was practically free. I think the wood is some kind of hardwood, but I don't really know.
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Wulmanized yellow pine. I spaced them using a carpenters pencil, and bolted them down only on the front end with 1/4x20 bolts. There's a 'pocket' for the end of the boards at the back of the trailer. I let them float, and expand/contract as they need. There is bracing every 24" or so. A couple have warped pretty good, but it's a solid floor, and I suspect it'll last a good 10 years or more. The last floor I put in this trailer, was near 20 years ago, did it the same way. 15-20 years out of a trailer floor is pretty darn good.
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Apitong, it might be a bit spendy but you did ask what the 'best' would be
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Apitong, it might be a bit spendy but you did ask what the 'best' would be

I was about ready to suggest Cocobolo.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just pressure treated 2x4's on mine, had it for 6 years now, still strong, just not pretty.

why my uncle used 2x4's is beyond me though.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hey MD, maybe you know. One of the mills I worked in did custom decking once in awhile for trucks, and it was this really heavy wood that leaked sap (small beads of it) for 5 or 6 years iirc. I could swear it was like Ironwood or something, but that doesn't sound quite right, because I don't think Ironwood does well with constant exposure.

you have any idea?
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Old 07-20-2006, 11:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Ipe.
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Old 07-20-2006, 11:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Rough cut Oak is hell for strong, looks good, but is heavy as hell.
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Diamondplate

I just used the pressure treated wood from Home Depot on the few I have re-decked. I dont know the specific type of wood it is made from.

I specifically got a diamond plate deck on my new trailer so I wouldnt have to screw with re-decking a trailer ever again.
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Ipe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanos
Rough cut Oak is hell for strong, looks good, but is heavy as hell.
Problem with the oak though, is that if you don't know what you're getting, it will check & split like crazy
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Old 07-20-2006, 01:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Spruce is pretty rot resistant, but not as strong as doug fir. It's a popular outdoor wood that is a lot stronger than pine or ceder.h
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makya
Hey MD, maybe you know. One of the mills I worked in did custom decking once in awhile for trucks, and it was this really heavy wood that leaked sap (small beads of it) for 5 or 6 years iirc. I could swear it was like Ironwood or something, but that doesn't sound quite right, because I don't think Ironwood does well with constant exposure.

you have any idea?
That was probably the apitong, it's used alot for trailer flooring in big rigs. Was it a reddish-brown?
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Balsa wood works the best. Cheap and vey lightweight
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Try to find some elm timbers. Have a sawmill cut out the heartwood and plane it down to your dimensions. If you can't find a sawmill who will do that, then just take a maul and a few wedges and split the thing your self. STFU, It's a joke!
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:31 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanos
Rough cut Oak is hell for strong, looks good, but is heavy as hell.

I bought a semi load of preasure treated oak boards from a trailer place in iowa.
Had them delivered to a auction lot for free and i brought them back to the shop. made great decking on my equipment trailer.
I paid less for them than I could have bought them from the mill not preasure treated..
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:09 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Ok.. Money is tight right now, but I HAVE to get the trailer out of its current location and store it at my house.. in order to do that, I need to get the trailer rebuilt. Im thinking that some 2x6x20 douglas fir planks treated with weather sealer will work and last quite a long time. Anyone see this being an issue? I figure I will be into the floor for about $170 or so with the weather sealer... Anyone see a real issue with this? I would really like to use apitong like MD suggested, but pricing it at my local lumber place was over $1000 just for the wood.. thats WAY too much money for my blood.. it would be titties, but I just won't have the $$ anytime soon for it. Anyone see any issues with weather treated douglas fir planks?
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:23 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I have treated pine on my car hauler. It is 6 years old and they look new. It has been kept outside 5 out of 6 years. I have treated pine on my 5x10 light duty trailer and it has been on there for 12+ years and still looks very good. It has sat outside 24/7 for 90% of its life. I know the planks would be a little spendy, but they aren't too bad. Check the price at a lumber yard, not Home Depot and they should be close to the $170 you are planning on spending and they may be mostly dried out unlike HD.
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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preasure treated, 1-1/8 underlayment plywood.
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:57 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I bought a semi load of preasure treated oak boards from a trailer place in iowa.
Had them delivered to a auction lot for free and i brought them back to the shop. made great decking on my equipment trailer.
I paid less for them than I could have bought them from the mill not preasure treated..
Semi load? I need to redo my 16 ft trailer, do you have a few boards leftover you can part with?
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