An open wood deck utility trailer can serve multiple purposes, from hauling weekend project materials, to toting lawn equipment or recreational vehicles. These versatile trailers are generally less expensive than those with a metal flatbed, especially if you purchase them on the used market. The main minor drawback to a wood deck is durability. Fortunately, proper care and maintenance, as outlined in the tips below, can help counter this issue.
Tip #1: Replace Proactively
Better wood trailers use boards as opposed to plywood sheets to create a sturdy and stable deck, but both styles require similar care. A few rotten boards or a crumbling sheet of plywood is no reason to get rid of a trailer or pass on a good used trailer deal. Instead, check each board carefully. Using a screwdriver, poke each board to see if it is sturdy or beginning to rot and fall apart. Also look for visible signs of decay, such as major splintering or cracks. Pry up the damaged boards or plywood and cut new pieces to fit. Pressure treated wood is a good option, since it is less prone to rot. These can then be attached to the main trailer frame with lag bolts, effectively giving you a like-new deck.
Tip #2: Seal It Up
Protecting the wood from weathering is the single best way to prevent many forms of rot. Wood sealers made for outdoor decking and fences work well on a utility trailer. Remember, it needs to be applied to both the upper and bottom surface of the trailer, since water spray from the road can wreak unseen damage to the deck. Trailers often experience heavier usage than a fence, so they may need more frequent applications of a sealer than what is recommended on the label. As a general rule, reapply the sealer if water is no longer beading on the surface of the wood.
Tip #3: Protect and Prevent
Certain things are harder on wood than others. For example, oil leaks from lawn equipment or small vehicles can soak into the wood and cause damage. Laying down a heavy rubber trailer or garage mat under these items can catch any potential leaks. You can even line the entire wood deck with a mat to protect it against damage from hauled items. You should remove it during wet weather, though, so moisture isn't trapped under the mat where it can damage the wood.
For more information on maintaining the wood deck of your utility trailer, contact a utility trailer dealer near you.