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What kind of wood should be used in a trailer?

Updated February 21, 2017

A trailer adds an infinite amount of versatility to your vehicle. They range from utility, boat, camping, enclosed and snowmobile trailers. Most of these trailers use a type of wood for the flooring surface because it is light, strong and durable against the elements. Choosing the right wood for your trailer will depend on the application and your local availability. How often you change the wood will depend on its use and exposure to the elements.

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Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood (PT) is great for applications in which the wood is exposed to the elements. The floor of an open utility trailer is typically covered in pressure treated wood. Modern PT is less toxic than the chromated copper arsenate (CCA) that was used until 2003. It is soaked amine copper quate (ACQ) that has proven to be as effective and more environmentally friendly.


Plywood is made by gluing together wood veneer panels so that the wood grain alternates direction for each layer. This creates a strong wood that is resistant to impact and expands evenly when wet. Many different types of plywood are made using Douglas fir and softwood. Plywood works well in applications where the wood is not exposed to the elements, like an enclosed trailer. However, in some areas, you can purchase pressure treated plywood for exterior use.

Hardwood Plank

Hardwood planks are ideal for trailers that carry significant weights. Hardwood is more dense than softwood, and it stands up better to abuse. Hardwood species include oak, ash, cherry, maple and poplar. If using hardwood for applications where it will be exposed to the elements, apply an exterior wood stain to protect it.

Choosing a Wood

If you are not changing the application for which the trailer is used, stick to a wood that is of the same type and width than is currently on the trailer. This will reduce complications that may arise from using a different width of wood. For situations where the wood will see a lot of abuse from heavy weighted objects, choose a hardwood.

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About the Author

Bob White began his writing career in 2006. Working in sales, he was a technical writer tasked with responding to requests for proposal. White has a Bachelor of Arts in computer science and a diploma in home inspection. He has also worked in construction, landscaping and the pool industry for more than 15 years.

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