Hardwoods are ideally suited for trailer floors, according to Prolam Floors, Cap-Saint-Ignace, Quebec, Canada, a major supplier to Great Dane, Wabash, Utility and others. Oak and maple are lightweight, durable and abundant. Treated properly, they can be enhanced well beyond their natural strength and durability.
Recently, Prolam gave CCJ a look at its floor-making process. Selected hardwoods – mostly maple – are open-air dried for three months, during which time the moisture content drops from 60 percent to 30 percent. The raw material is then treated in dryers, which brings the moisture down to 7 to 9 percent.
After drying, the wood undergoes a precise sanding process to promote glue penetration. Next, it goes through a ripping process to ensure consistency of thickness. Joints are then cut into the ends of each floor piece. Prolam uses a water-resistant zig-zag joint.
The gluing process comes next, then each board is planed according to customer specs, and an undercoat is applied.
Finally, rigorous stress testing is performed and the product is finished.
When spec’ing a new trailer, the brand of the trailer floor is generally listed as “standard.” Fleets don’t usually specify a certain brand, but if they do, the major trailer builders will provide it, says sales manager Jim Jannell.