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The Essential Guide to Trailer Deck Surfacing

Are you a proud owner of a trailer? If yes, you would surely agree that maintaining trailers in a good condition is not as straightforward as it appears. Several aspects need to be attended to, one of which is a trailer’s flooring.

Regardless of the type of trailer you own, its flooring plays a critical role in determining its longevity and performance. After all, it’s the trailer’s flooring that holds the entire load and protects its underlying structural components. Hence, ignoring this aspect of your trailer can snowball into larger issues, costs, and liabilities.

For instance, a compromised trailer surface will not hold the cargo well and eventually lead to lost or damaged cargo, injuries, and ultimately, unhappy customers and lost business.

We have below a detailed guide that will offer you all the relevant information needed to choose a suitable trailer surfacing. So, let’s begin!

Factors Affecting Your Trailer’s Surface

You rely on your trailer to store and safely transport valuable tools, equipment, and heavy-weight cargo from one place to another. However, while the trailer allows you to haul goods without worrying about damages, its flooring is subject to a lot of wear and tear. Check out the factors impacting your trailer’s surfacing.

1. Trailer Load

Most utility trailer owners are well aware that the weight capacity of a trailer is determined by its axle rating. Whether you own an enclosed or open trailer, exceeding its load capacity can cause the axle to break and lead to serious accidents and damage to the goods.

Another element that gets impacted by the trailer load is the surface on which the loads are placed. Therefore, it’s important to understand the limits of your trailer, balance the load across the surface, and choose appropriate flooring. This will greatly improve the longevity of your trailer.

2. The Nature of the Load

Depending on its payload capacity and tongue weight, a trailer holds a huge variety of cargo. They are mostly loaded with dirt bikes, mulch, plants, livestock, motorcycles, snowmobiles, camping gear, supplies, and other heavy equipment.

Regardless of what you load your trailer with, it’s crucial to protect the flooring from routine wear and tear. The last thing you want is for the floor to deteriorate after each loading and unloading cycle.

Determine what you’ll be hauling in the trailer. Consider an appropriate surfacing system after taking into account the spacing of cross members and the weight and layout of freight.

3. The Frequency of the Load/ Unload Cycles

Besides paying attention to the nature of your cargo loaded, consider the number of load/unloads cycles your trailer will see each day. Heavy forklift traffic during these cycles also impacts the durability and strength of the trailer floor.

Asking these questions will help you make a suitable decision.

  • How will the loading and unloading take place?
  • Will the flooring have to take the combined weight of the freight and the forklift at regular intervals?
  • Will you be using a pallet jack?

4. Environmental Factors

Finally, also determine the impact of environmental factors and road contamination on your trailer flooring through its lifetime.

What about climate or the local weather conditions? Temperature variations and humidity hugely impact the trailer surface and its performance.

Left unchecked, these factors can permanently damage and weaken your trailer’s underlying structures like the surrounding flooring, railing, and cross members among others. Moreover, such issues can devalue your trailer, attract future repair costs, cause personal injuries, and increase your inventory loss.

Therefore, it’s wise to choose suitable trailer surfacing material that meets its daily demands and intended life expectancy.

Key Features of Ideal Trailer Flooring

As discussed earlier, utility trailers see everything from moisture and dirt to grease and snow, especially if they are open. Hence, it’s okay to be picky about making a trailer flooring choice. Here are a few features that you should consider to make sure you’ve found the ‘one!’

1. Durability

A trailer is up to the task of hauling heavy cargo, automobiles, and livestock day in and day out. Obviously, you need trailer flooring that’s a heavy lifter. This will allow you to transport loads without stressing about the effects of use.

Opt for tenacious and durable flooring that can stand up to heavy loads being stored and shifted around the trailer. The surface should easily handle heavy foot traffic and friction. Plus, if you have an open trailer, consider a freeze-thaw surface that’s resilient to harsh weather conditions and moisture damage.

2. Moisture Resistance

It’s common to have accidental spills in a trailer. If your trailer flooring isn’t resistant to moisture, it can cause compounding structural damage that can burn a hole in your pocket. Trapped moisture between the decking materials, for instance, can rot and lead to future repair costs.

Therefore, you need a surface that’s naturally resistant to moisture, thus keeping your trailer in optimal condition always.

3. Low Maintenance and Easy to Clean

No trailer owner wants to waste too much time cleaning and maintaining it. After all, each loading/ unloading cycle means more revenue for your business.

Trailer floors demanding a lot of maintenance are a huge headache. Take hard plastic tiles, for instance. Not only do they wear quickly but also chip off under pressure, demanding constant replacement and upkeep.

So, choose a surface that’s easy to clean, cost-effective, and practically maintenance-free even when it experiences shocks of heavy loads each day.

4. Chemical Resistance

Besides water spills, your trailer may also see oil and chemical spills. Hence, having a surface that’s resistant to chemicals will make sure that your trailer is in good condition and stain-free for many years.

5. Sound Absorption

Hauling cargo, machinery, and tools can get noisy on the road. Therefore, it’s wise to opt for a quieter surface that absorbs sound and prevents its transmission.

Quieter surfaces like rubber flooring can act as an excellent sound insulator, absorbing impact noises that are made when the equipment is shifted or moving when in transit. Rubber effectively absorbs sound echo, making it a great choice for utility and commercial trailers carrying heavy loads.

6. Slip Resistance

This feature is especially useful for trailers transporting livestock. Animals need a stable and safe surface to stand on, failing which they may get nervous and uncomfortable during transportation. Hence, you need an anti-slip surfacing that offers adequate traction under the hooves. Moreover, the surface shouldn’t be too hard. Go for an anti-fatigue surfacing that will not injure their joints and tendons or cause any soft-tissue injuries.

Opt for a surface that’s firm yet offers adequate grip to the animals, thus ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for them. At Rubcorp, we offer a special Quadru-Care range that offers the best surface under hooves. Get in touch with us to know more!

7. Insulation

In case you own a mobile home trailer, a horse trailer, or a livestock trailer, it makes sense to install insulated flooring that keeps all the occupants warm and comfortable.

8. Aesthetics

If you are conscious of the aesthetics of your trailer, go for a surfacing that offers a variety of colors, patterns, and textures, allowing you to render it a unique look. Rubcorp, the rubber surfacing expert, offers a wide range of rubber surface design options for utility and mobile home trailers.

Besides the above-mentioned factors, the type of trailer will also impact your flooring decision. So, choose an ideal surfacing according to your needs.

A. Open Trailer

Trailers that aren’t enclosed fall in the open trailer category. These trailers are subject to harsh weather conditions. Hence, you want a surface that’s durable and weather-resistant. Further, a moisture-resistant and UV-stable surface will be ideal so that the flooring doesn’t rot in rain or fade in the sun.

B. Automobile Trailer

If you will be hauling automobiles in your trailer, you want a tough, versatile, and chemical-resistant floor that’s similar to garage flooring. A durable surface will help you easily load and unload vehicles without having to worry about engine oil spills or car battery leaks.

C. Utility Trailer

Utility trailers are meant for a wide variety of purposes. They haul everything from motorcycles to lawnmowers. If you own a utility trailer, you need durable flooring that can stand up to heavy equipment, rolling automobiles, chemicals, and liquid spills.

D. Cargo Trailer

For cargo trailers, you need a surface that allows easy loading and unloading, absorbs sound, and is easy to clean and maintain.

E. RV Trailer/ Mobile Home Trailer

The flooring in recreational vehicle trailers should be comfortable and warm under feet, aesthetically pleasing, durable, and easy to clean and maintain. Since you’ll be living in this trailer and hosting get-togethers, style is a bigger concern here! So, you need a surfacing that offers a wide variety of design options and makes the area look inviting.

F. Livestock Trailer

Livestock trailer flooring needs to be safe and comfortable for your four-legged travelers. Plus, animals tend to create a lot of mess. Hence, you need a surface that repels moisture and is easy to clean.

You Know Your Trailer Needs a New Flooring When –

  • The existing surface is loose, worn out, or has rotten boards
  • There are cracks in the aluminum
  • You see rust and moisture damage
  • You see weld separations
  • The railing and cross member look like they need repair
  • The nature of loads on your trailer demand non-slip surfacing
  • You need an insulating surface
  • You need a customized surfacing for your utility trailer. For instance, a trailer carrying food cargo will demand anti-microbial flooring
  • You are looking to add aesthetic value to your trailer

Trailer Surfacing Options Available Today

The longer you want your trailer to serve you the better flooring material you should employ. From vinyl rolls to rubber surfaces, there are a whole lot of surfacing options available today. This overabundance of options can be quite overwhelming for anyone looking for the perfect trailer flooring.

Here’s a list of trailer flooring options along with their pros and cons that will help you make a wise decision.

1. Vinyl Rolls

Vinyl is usually considered to be the perfect trailer flooring because it is flexible and durable, and has noise-canceling properties. The flooring holds well while you’re loading and unloading heavy machinery, cargo, or sports mobiles.

Pros

  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • Quiet under feet
  • Easy to install
  • They are available in a variety of designs. For instance, they are available in the wood-look, stone-look, and other patterns

Cons

  • Customization can be a challenge. Though vinyl rolls are available in a variety of colors and designs, you’ll end up with a single pattern that can be visually boring
  • They aren’t UV-stable or fade-resistant
  • They aren’t resistant to chemicals
  • Replacing damaged vinyl rolls is tough. You may have to buy a complete roll replacement even if a small section of the surface is damaged

2. Soft PVC Tiles

PVC tiles provide a flexible, durable, and chemical-resistant surface for trailers. No wonder, most trailer owners prefer soft PVC tiles. But this flooring option isn’t devoid of cons.

Pros

  • Durable and can hold up well to stains and heavy foot traffic
  • Like rubber floors, they offer warmth and comfort under feet
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns
  • Easy to install, clean, and maintain
  • Resistant to chemicals

Cons

  • Interlocking PVC tiles tend to have seams or ridges, making them prone to moisture damage
  • They aren’t stain-resistant. For instance, street tar can easily stain light-colored PVC tiles
  • The tiles may pop out over time, spoiling the overall look of the flooring

3. Hard Plastic Tiles

Because of their durability, ease of installation, and stain and chemical-resistant properties, hard plastic tiles seem to be a great flooring option for most types of trailers.

Pros

  • Durable and impact-resistant material
  • Easy to install
  • Resistant to chemicals and stains
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Available in a wide variety of designs like diamonds and coins

Cons

  • It is a loud surface
  • It isn’t slip-resistant
  • The surface lacks insulating properties

4. Rubber Surfacing

Rubber is increasingly being preferred as a suitable flooring material for trailers. It is a versatile material that needs minimal upkeep and available in striking colors.

Pros

  • Durable and tough
  • Comfortable and warm under feet, especially with a cold subfloor
  • Moisture and slip-resistant material
  • Inhospitable to pathogens
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

5. Aluminum Decking

Aluminum is a good option for trailer decking as it’s lightweight and corrosion and rust-resistant. However, these require constant upkeep.

Pros

  • Lightweight, translating to better fuel economy
  • Corrosion and rust-resistant

Cons

  • Need constant upkeep
  • Cannot withstand the stress of loads being shifted around
  • Expensive in comparison to other options
  • Not slip-resistant

6. Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles prove to be a great flooring option for mobile home trailers and RV trailers because they offer adequate cushioning and comfort under feet. They can also hold up to heavy foot traffic.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Comfortable and warm
  • Offer cushioning in case of a slip or fall
  • Available in a variety of designs and colors

Cons

  • Tough to maintain. Spill a glass of pinot noir and you may have to instantly take measures to clean and dry the area
  • They tend to harbor pathogens and dust
  • Installing and maintaining carpets is a costly affair

Why Rubber Wins!

Among all the options we have read about so far, rubber surfacing is a clear winner. Here’s why installing rubber flooring in your trailer is a wise decision.

  • It is durable and tough
  • It can stand up to extreme weather conditions
  • UV-stable rubber surfaces are available which are fade-resistant
  • It is moisture and slip-resistant
  • It is an anti-fatigue surfacing that is easy on the joints
  • It is easy to clean and maintain
  • It is anti-microbial flooring that’s inhospitable to pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • It has noise-canceling and shock-absorbing properties
  • It’s resistant to chemicals
  • It’s available in a wide variety of colors and can be customized to your requirements

Conclusion

A trailer carries a lot of heavy loads each day. Hence, regardless of the type of trailer you own, the flooring needs to be designed for strength, durability, longevity, and low maintenance. The plethora of surfacing options available today can make it tough for trailer owners to decide on an ideal surfacing. This guide was intended for helping trailer owners make an informed flooring decision.

In case you are looking to install rubber surfacing in your trailer, you’ve come to the right place! Rubcorp offers tailored rubber surfacing solutions that will last you for many years to come.

Get in touch with our team to know your options!

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Creative Director, Rubcorp Distribution, LLC

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