View Full Version : How do you check a wood floor in trailer?

Mar. 26, 2012, 12:30 AM
I was looking at mine today-have had the mats pulled up over the winter-was poking wood with a screwdriver and there are places it seemed to go in 1/8", whereas others it didn't go in at all-what is OK?

Mar. 26, 2012, 01:41 AM
I don't know. If it was me, I would dry it out really completely - with heat lamps and check again. then, if there were soft spots, I would pour some kind of wood epoxy into the wood to harden it up like plastic (there are materials which will penetrate the wood - these are made for boats, so go to West Marine or the boat store and ask about some kind of liquid wood penetrator for this. After you find the type of product you are looking for, redouble your search at the lumber/home refinishing store - we have Rings End Lumber and Home Depot at our disposal - and ask for their prices on the same product, and ask the same quesiton about what other products they have.

The wood will have to really really undeniably dry before you do it.

Mar. 26, 2012, 02:42 AM
If you could push a screwdriver in 1/8 inch... that's a spot that needs to be explored further. Wood that soft is also not strong. Probe in 1/2 inch steps way from that soft spot to determine how large an area is soft. It is not so much how soft the wood is rather how large an area that is affected. Consider a hole drilled into the wood floor. A small hole 1/4 inch is negligible, yet a 6 inch hole weakens a board enough to be dangerous. :eek:

Mar. 26, 2012, 02:01 PM
I've got the Scheve's great book about Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing Horse Trailers so I went to see what they said about it. They just say to stick a sharp knife blade into the wood and if the knife can be easily turned and the wood splinters or shreds because it is too soft, the boards need to be replaced. Also make sure to check both from top and bottom.

Mar. 26, 2012, 03:50 PM
thanks for advice. The ground was really wet but I poked around on some of the bottom which seemed harder than the top. I'm just totally paranoid is all.

Mar. 26, 2012, 08:12 PM
That's good you are checking!

I take my trailer each year to have it serviced..

They check

Brakes - They remove each tire
Emergency Brake Box

It's about $100 and well worth the money! I don't know if you have a trailer place near you that can check and do any repairs for you? I recommend it:)

After each use, I sweep it out, flip the mats up and take a leaf blower..it removes any debris, sawdust, hay, etc...that can help the floor rot if it gets wet

So.....I may be a little OCD :D:D but they are my most precious 'cargo'!

Mar. 26, 2012, 08:48 PM
Being an old Phone Company employee, I whack the screwdriver with a hammer and listen for the sound. Dead, wet, rotten wood has a dull flat sound. Good solid wood has a different sound. You could practice on a board you know is good, learn the sound.

Then go to the trailer, hit the screwdriver into the center of boards of the floor, learn the sound. Test down the middle, EVERY board, then move to the walls and listen to that sound. SHOULD be the same as the center of the floor. Your most likely bad spots will be along the walls, front of trailer, along the door threshold, because it is real hard to dry those places out. Do both ends of each board, sometimes only one side is rotted.

The ease of screwdriver going into wood or not going into wood is also a big clue for you. Good wood has tight fibers, resists the screwdriver going in. There may be half rotted board ends, so check carefully before declaring a board sound.

I am going to say the sound of screwdriver being struck with the hammer should be pretty obviously different. This is how we are taught to check poles before climbing them. Totally a safety procedure and proven over time to be effective at determining sound or rotted wood.

This was taught to our Pony Club kids as part of their trailer upkeep, checking things BEFORE putting trailers into use for summer. Rather funny because out of the 5 trailers, including mine, 4 of them had rotten wood in the floors. The POS trailer had a totally sound floor, though the walls anchored to the floor were pretty iffy! Big wakeup to parents and trailer renters!! Pretty nice looking outside, has NOTHING to do with trailer being safe floored!

Mar. 26, 2012, 10:06 PM
Oh wow, thanks so much for that tip about the sound! Makes a lot of sense!I am going to do both things-check the boards over again, AND make an appointment to have it checked because that was on my list as well, since the brakes have sat all winter.

The spot that seemed the most iffy was right in the center, not at the sides or ends I would have expected.