You can’t overlook the importance of installing decking on commercial trailers, as it helps create additional room to store your cargo while in transit. The decking on commercial trailers also boosts the efficiency of your commercial trailer because it allows you to transport a lot of cargo in large quantities.
But despite these benefits, the steps you must follow when installing decking on commercial trailers might appear too complicated for the average person. This might then make you hesitant about taking on such a project in the first place. You’re in luck if you have such concerns, as this guide will detail everything you need to know about installing decking on commercial trailers. Let’s get started.
1. Understand Your Business Needs
It’s best first to understand your business needs before you approach a trailer decking supplies & services company to acquire the needed decking material. There are many business reasons that could motivate you to install a deck on your commercial trailer, and these include the following:
- You want an additional storage room.
- You want to ensure items remain dry during the shipping process.
- Your trailer is very small.
- You want a sturdier trailer.
These are some of the few business needs that should motivate you to build decking on your commercial trailer. Another instance could be the need to create additional cargo storage space to store your goods due to an influx of orders from your business partners or clients.
2. Select The Right Flooring Material
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the materials to use on the trailer deck. To guide you, here’s a look at the best picks to consider:
This decking material is made out of a combination of wood flakes and polymers or 100% polymer material. If you want a low-maintenance decking material, you should go for composite decking because its plastic build makes it easy to maintain. In addition, it’s lightweight and very sturdy, meaning you won’t need to replace it faster than you’d wish.
If your commercial trailer only carries relatively lightweight cargo, you should consider installing the vinyl decking. Vinyl decking is ideal because it boasts a reasonably sturdy build quality which makes it do well at resisting water damage, despite being the cheapest option on the market. This decking material has a non-porous surface that’s easy to clean, further improving its appeal for transporting goods.
Another excellent flooring material for your commercial trailer is wood decking because of its many positive attributes—the low upfront cost, inexpensive maintenance, incredible versatility, and superb durability. Wood decking also has a magnificent appearance that adds character to your commercial trailer.
There are different types of wood that can be used as decking on your commercial trailer, and these include the following:
- Pine: You should opt for pine when building decking for your commercial trailer when on a budget. However, pine has one downside, and this is you need to pre-sand it to make sure there are no splinters.
- Cedar: This wood is ideal because it doesn’t need any pre-sanding for the deck of your commercial trailer to be smooth and looks appealing to the eye. With that said, this flooring material is quite expensive.
- Red Oak: This wood is one of the durable options. However, it needs pre-sanding and can be quite challenging to cut through compared to the other types of wood.
- White Oak: This wood isn’t that hard to cut through compared to red oak and also comes with an attractive look, but it can be pretty expensive.
- Pressure-Treated Wood: This type of wood is usually pre-treated, meaning it doesn’t need pre-sanding and is safe to use. Nonetheless, pressure-treated wood is slightly more costly than other picks.
- Apitong: It’s among the costliest types of wood because of its unique qualities, such as the least probability of warping and the least bulky option.
- Laminate Wood: This type of wood is made of thin layers of wood held together by glue. It’s also an inexpensive choice, even though it has a solid build quality that makes it less susceptible to contracting, expanding, warping, or cracking. In addition to being durable, laminate wood also comes with a refined appearance.
With these many options of wood to use as decking on your commercial trailer, you’re spoilt for choice as to which one to choose. That said, when choosing, consider your budget and needs.
Steel decking is the best choice to install if you often carry bulky items on your commercial truck. It is an excellent choice because it can easily deal with extreme temperatures. It’s also the heaviest decking option, making it very robust to withstand damage. Therefore, you’ll not need to replace this decking which can be used on closed-body and open-top trailers.
3. Measure Your Space
You shouldn’t rush to install decking on your commercial trailer without first measuring the space where you intend to build. When doing this, you must be very careful to ensure all the measurements are accurate. When taking these measurements, keep in mind that you need to consider the thickness of your trailer’s walls.
4. Cut The Materials
Once you know how much space is needed, proceed to cut the flooring material into suitable sizes. Ensure you use the proper cutting tool to ensure your safety and get the best results. For instance, use a circular saw if you’re cutting wood. And while doing this, you also should concentrate on the edges to prevent them from going over the trailer’s edge. You should also cut the ends of the material into square designs to ensure they fit tightly.
5. Connect Trailer Deck Materials
After cutting the deck materials to the desired sizes, you should proceed to connect them using bolts and screws. An adhesive is also a great binding agent. When using one, ensure you follow the outlined steps by the manufacturer to guide you. You should also be thorough with the application of adhesive material and make sure that the adhesive products don’t spill or drip onto the surface to avoid damaging the deck surface.
6. Install The Fasteners
After connecting the trailer deck materials, you must now install the fasteners. There are different types of fasteners. These include wood screws, deck screws, and metal staples. Therefore, you must first examine your needs to know which of these options is the best pick.
7. Install The Trailer Decking
Once the adhesive connecting the deck materials dries up and you’re done installing fasteners, you should proceed to install the trailer decking. Doing this isn’t complicated, as it simply entails placing the deck boards one after another until you achieve your preferred length. Ideally, you should start installing the trailer decking from the front as you go to the trailer’s back. Additionally, when laying out the deck boards, you should extend beyond the trailer’s edges. And once you’re through with everything, the next step is to seal the decking.
8. Seal The Deck
After you’re done placing the deck boards, your next move should be coating them with a quality adhesive product or stain using your paintbrush or foam brushes. Applying a sealer not only helps give the decking of your commercial trailer an appealing look but also safeguards it from the elements.
The process of applying sealer on the deck boards depends on the material you’re using. For instance, when using an acrylic-type sealant, you should ensure all the spaces where the sealant is applied aren’t wet. If you’re applying a water-based sealer, do this lightly because too much of it causes bubbles to appear on the deck’s surface.
9. Clean Up The Spills
Your workspace must also be tidy; otherwise, the spills from the adhesive drops might find their way onto the decking. This is why you must always take your time to clean up all the spills using a shop vac or damp cloth. Doing this will effectively eliminate all the excess sealant for good and ensure the floor is clean for any other process that’s to follow.
10. Apply A Second Coat
Once your workspace’s floor is clean, the next step is applying another coat of adhesive. As you do this, follow the same precautions you followed earlier, such as not applying excess amounts to ensure it dries up well. This process shouldn’t take you more than a day unless you choose to apply another additional layer of coat. After this second round of applying the coat, you should clean the deck floor again using a shop vac or damp cloth. This will thoroughly remove all the dust or adhesive on the surface.
Many people don’t know where to start when looking to install decking on commercial trailers. But the good news is this shouldn’t be an issue after this guide has outlined how you install decking on commercial trailers to make them more versatile when transporting goods. You’re also better informed about the best decking material for your commercial trailer. All this information will go a long way to streamline your transportation business.