There is no denying that, like with any structure, having quality flooring material on your trailer truck is essential. After all, flooring 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. While there are many different materials you can use, the best option is, without a doubt, hardwood trailer decking.
Why Wood Trailer Decking Is the Best Option
When it comes to any form of decking or flooring, there is no denying the superiority of hardwoods. Hardwood is a material that has been around for eons and is known for its reliability, durability and strength.
Today, hardwood is even more durable making it the go-to for withstanding heavy loads. It’s also naturally able to withstand the elements, such as extreme weather and sun exposure.
While hardwood is normally considered an expensive material, there are many different types of trailer wood decking to consider.
7 Trailer Wood Decking Options
1. Keruing or Apitong
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 flooring in 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. Apitong offers a hardness of around 1,520, making it reasonably resistant to denting and marking. In addition, it has a strength of 19,900 psi and a stiffness of 2,070 1000 psi, which keeps it from bending easily.
2. Angelim Pedra or Brazilian Apitong
Angelim Pedra, also called Brazilian Apitong, is another wood trailer decking material to consider. This wood option comes in a medium-tan color, with a deeply defined grain and small mineral deposits, called Pedras, that give it its name. Angelim Pedra is commonly used for industrial hardwood trailer decking and even exterior residential decking.
Angelim Pedra has a hardness of 1,720 pounds, a strength of 18,255 psi and a stiffness of 2,050 1000 psi. This, along with the price, makes it an extremely competitive option to consider.
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.
Purpleheart wood offers a hardness of 1,860 pounds, a strength of 21,300 psi and a stiffness of about 2,420 1000 psi, making it stronger than both types of Apitong.
4. Douglas Fir
Douglas Fir has always been a popular hardwood in a variety of applications, particularly construction, and is also very affordable. Unlike other options, however, Douglas Fir is not the most durable option for truck decks in the United States.
Douglas Fir only offers a hardness of around 660 pounds, a strength of 12,400 psi and a stiffness of 1,950 1000 psi.
5. Laminated Truck Flooring (LTF)
LTF is another kind of trailer decking material available on the market and has many more options than hardwood trailer decking. However, unlike some of the best wood for trailer decking, LTF has minimal applications. This flooring is used primarily in dry van trailers because it is unable to withstand outside exposure.
Options of LTF for trailer trucks include hardwoods from Southeast Asia to the domestic Red Oak and come in a wide range of sizes and widths as well.
6. Red Oak
One wood commonly used for LTF is Red Oak. Red Oak is a more durable option than Douglas Fir, but still is not necessarily the best wood for trailer decking. This is because, compared to other woods, Red Oak is not necessarily the most stable wood available.
Red Oak wood has a hardness of 1,290 pounds, a strength of 14,300 psi and a stiffness of about 1,850 1000 psi.
7. White Oak
Another common LTF wood is White Oak, which, unlike Red Oak, has closed pores. It offers a little more durability than its counterpart, but it is still not ideal for industrial and trailer flooring applications.
White Oak has a hardness of 1,380 pounds, a strength of 15,200 psi and a stiffness of 1,780 1000 psi.
Choosing the Best Wood For Trailer Decking
When it comes to trailer wood decking, there are many different options available on the market. But, you can’t choose just any wood; you have to choose the one that makes the most sense for your trailer needs.
With that in mind, take time to consider what kind of trailer 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 wood, the better it will handle heavy-duty loads without giving way, bending or breaking. But, if you only handle light items, you may not need something as tough. Similarly, a dry van doesn’t necessarily need something like Apitong or Purpleheart decking.
Choosing the right trailer decking is essential, especially when you want to keep your loads — and your trailer — safe. Use this guide as a starting point to help decide what sort of trailer decking is best for your needs.