Buying used trailers: Focus on trailer flooring

Buying used trailers: Focus on trailer flooring


Taking a close look at the condition of the trailer floor should be one of your top must-do line items when buying a used trailer.

“It will tell the potential owner about how the trailer was used and maintained,” said John Carr, vice president of sales and marketing for Havco Wood Products. “Important factors are the number of load cycles the trailer has seen and looking for any overloading damage, as well as water-related de-lamination, holes in the trailer roof or sidewalls and any forklift damage.”

Trailer floors take a beating as forklifts drop onto the trailer, placing and picking up hefty loads. Carr noted that the heavier the freight and the higher the number of loading and unloading cycles a trailer has experienced can impact the used trailers floor integrity and strength. Additionally, another common trailer floor issue is moisture intrusion. In the case of dry vans, hardwood floors that have been exposed to water will show signs of staining, which appear as darker areas on the floor.

“Hardwood will expand when it gets wet and shrinks as it dries,” Carr said. “This repeated action can impact the floor’s glue lines and over time, can cause de-lamination of the individual floor sticks.”

Overloading can also cause de-lamination. Cracks in the glue lines or hardwood sticks are telltale signs that the trailer had seen its fair share of overloading.

Once you’ve determined that the floor is in acceptable condition, you’ll want to consider your application. Just because you’re buying a used trailer doesn’t mean it should be abused. If you’re shopping around for dry vans, chances are that the trailer sports a laminated oak hardwood floor. Carr said that floor configuration makes up 80% of new trailer builds. If a floor isn’t up to hauling a heavier load or it doesn’t have the endurance for an increase in forklift traffic that your application demands, then you won’t see its long-term value.

“If the used trailer buyer will be transporting heavier freight loads that are loaded by heavy forklift trucks,” Carr said, “an owner might want to consider buying a trailer that has a composite reinforced floor that not only adds strength, but increases the floors durability and also provides moisture protect from the underside of the trailer.”

If a trailer’s floor is up to snuff in both condition and application, make sure you protect your investment. There are several products available to protect van floors from moisture, both on the topside and underside. Havco, for example, offers its water-resistant Floor Shield that protect the topside of a hardwood floor from moisture. “It’s quick and easy to apply in about 30 minutes. Floor Shield dries in about 30 to 45 minutes and you can haul freight immediately after drying without any odor because it’s free of solvents and has no VOCs,” Carr said. “Your trailer dealer should be able to give you a run down of flooring protection options.”

This is just one part of the June issue’s series of used trailer articles. Read the rest here:

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