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What Is The Best Wood For A Utility Trailer Floor?


Utility trailers are extraordinarily useful tools around the farm, homestead, or even urban dwelling. They give any vehicle tow-rated with a hitch the ability to act as a pickup truck or greatly expand the carrying capacity of a pickup. Trailers are usually made of sturdy angle iron, but their flooring is normally treated pine. Even though it is treated for exposure to the elements, such pine boards eventually rot and get weak. We’ve collected some of the best replacement wood types here.divider 1

What Is The Best Wood For A Utility Trailer Floor?

1. Treated Pine

Pine deck
Image Credit: Merio, Pixabay
Price $
Easy to find? Yes, local lumber yards or home improvement stores
Sturdiness Light duty only
Traction Minimal when wet/slippery

Treated pine is still a great choice for replacement boards. As long as the trailer is not transporting steel-tracked equipment, pressure-treated pine is the most inexpensive entry on this list, easy to obtain, and simple to install. Simply measure the board being replaced and purchase its equivalent at the nearest lumberyard. Some boards may require cutting or ripping to fit, if so, try to purchase at a lumberyard or home improvement store that can do this on-site and pre-measure what cuts are needed. If the tools are available at home, even better! A hand saw or circular saw will work fine for cuts – for ripping, a table saw is preferred.

  • Cheap
  • Easy to find
  • Easy to cut with home tools
  • May not last long with medium to heavy-duty use

Why not untreated pine?

Most utility trailers are uncovered. Even if they are covered, they are commonly used to transport things that are dirty or wet. Repeated exposure to moisture and different chemicals (gasoline and oil from mowers, etc.) will cause untreated boards to rot much faster. The cost difference is not enough to warrant the faster replacement or concern that the boards may weaken when you need the trailer. Untreated pine is fine for sideboards or scuff guards in covered trailers that are not as exposed to moisture or soiling.

2. Roughened Oak

oak wood planks texture
Image Credit: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay
Price $$
Easy to find? May be able to get locally at trailer dealers, otherwise online
Sturdiness Medium to heavy-duty
Traction Good even when wet

Roughened oak is a go-to for heavy utility trailer beds, and is a minimum must for trailers that will be moving steel-tread heavy equipment. Steel treads will tear through pine easily. Oak is much more capable of handling the beating, and a roughened surface provides good traction even in wet or otherwise slippery environments.

Roughened oak may be hard to find locally in many areas. It can be ordered to fit online, or it may be worth a trip to regionally located specialty business to ensure fitting.

  • Strong, can handle steel-tread vehicles
  • Roughened surface offers good traction even when wet
  • Easy to cut with home tools
  • More expensive
  • Harder to find

3. Rubber-infused wood/Blackwood

Price $$$$
Easy to find? No, must get through specialized trailer supply businesses
Sturdiness Medium to heavy-duty
Traction Excellent, surface designed for traction even in adverse conditions

Rubberized wood, or blackwood, is a more expensive but much more durable and usable option. It is treated lumber with a rubber-infused surface that protects the wood from wear and weather while offering superior traction even on wet or slippery days. If a utility trailer is used for a business-like lawn mowing or quite often on a homestead, farm, or ranch where it may be carrying self-powered equipment like skid steers or tractors, this is likely a “you get what you pay for” upgrade to consider.

It is rare to find this type of flooring locally, but it can be ordered online custom fit to the trailer’s measurement.

  • Sturdy
  • Treated to resist moisture for a long time
  • Surface specifically designed to give good traction even when wet or slick
  • Expensive
  • Hard to find unless using a specialty dealer

4. Angelim Petra/Brazilian Apitong

Price $$$
Easy to find? Usually obtained through local trailer dealers.
Sturdiness Medium to heavy-duty
Traction Less than blackwood and about same as roughened oak

Last on our list is Angelim Petra or Brazilian Apitong. It is a hardwood often sold for trailers from light-duty utility trailers all the way up to commercial and military trailer use. It is notoriously tough and handles weathering and wear nicely. This wood is often sold lapped, where each board is cut to slightly overlap the boards next to it. This avoids gaps between floorboards and ensures maximum surface area for traction.

Again, this type of flooring is going to be harder to find locally and will likely need to be shipped to a specialty regional dealer or to your house from an online dealer.

  • Costs less than blackwood, same or more than roughened oak
  • Very sturdy and ship-lapped, meaning the floor of the trailer has no gaps
  • Easy to cut with home tools
  • More expensive than pine
  • Harder to obtain

Where to find specialized trailer decking?

Using Google maps, a phonebook, or other local business directory/search, find a local trailer dealer. If the trailer was purchased locally, reach out to the dealer that sold it. These businesses should either be able to supply heavier duty decking, order it, or know where it can be obtained most easily in that location.

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Trailer decking rots over time, requiring replacements. The replacements range in price from very low and appropriate for light use (treated pine) to much more expensive and rated for the heaviest uses and longest periods of time before requiring replacement (Blackwood or Apitong). In selecting a floor, consider how heavily the trailer will be used, what amount of moisture and other chemicals/soiling it will be exposed to, and budget for a floor that will do the right job for the right length of time.

Featured Image Credit: Mouaad Jaaidi, Shutterstock

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