Snowmobile Trailer Re-decking?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by HapHazard, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    I've got an 8x10 aluminum tilt-bed snowmobile trailer (but no snowmobile) that's used to mostly haul lots of brush, lawn tractors, motorcycles, ATV, and misc big and/or heavy stuff that won't fit into or is too heavy to load into the cap-covered bed of my truck. It gets a lot of use. It also lives outside, parked over grass (no room for it inside).

    I replaced the decking about 6 years ago with generic 3/4" plywood that I'd put a couple of coats of Cuprinol (or something similar) top & bottom. It's held up pretty well, until recently when one corner broke way from the screws and it warped into a 4" high mini ski jump at the rear. It would have probably lasted longer if I'd continued to apply some kind of preservative to the wood, but that ship has sailed.

    I don't think that it's practical to use anything but 3/4" ply on this trailer, but I could be wrong. I don't want "expanded" or sheet metal for sure. So I'm wondering if there's a particular type or grade of ply, and what to coat it with for preservation as well as helping traction. The ply has gotten slicker lately and I've had to make a few attempts to get my lawn tractor up past the tip-over point to get the bed horizontal (yee-hah!).

    Suggestions welcomed!
    Thanx!
    CIMG1778.JPG
    #1
  2. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    I agree plywood is the practical decking. I've used it on utility trailers, pickup beds,workboat decks etc and finish/top coated with enamel paint to seal it. Oiling plywood isn't a great idea. The glue layers prohibit the absorption of the oil so all you're just adding cosmetics. The areas of any wood product most prone to water ingress and rot are the cut edges and added hdw mounting holes. For any new wood deck I would dab the edges heavily with enamel paint to seal them from water. If you just must bolt your tie down hdw to the wood rather than to the metal trailer frame, use a bedding compound under the hdw. to seal the holes. All wood left outdoors will eventually get slimy with age and moisture. Be it trailer deck, house porch/deck...ya got clean/scrub'em occasionally. Your favorite detergent/water works for the dirt. For slime a mix of bleach and water works well even here in PNW rain country. Again, a good grade plywood is the economically practical trailer decking. If money is no object...wood options are unlimited but whatever wood product option you choose, for longevity proper install and maint are part of the deal.
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  3. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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  4. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    read the reviews on HomeDopo's "marine" plywood.

    the trailers I built for my hovercraft I used exterior AC ply and then put fiberglass on top. the first one I didn't... it only lasted a couple years because it's pretty much always wet. I had to re-do that one & now it has another 12 years or so and still good. I painted the bottom side of the ply with good exterior grade... search the bargain rack at Lowes or HD for miss-tints... like 1/2 price. then glued and screwed to the frame, then glassed the top. I painted over that with some old automotive enamel I had. a gallon of polyester resin is about 45 bucks. cloth... 50" wide 10oz cloth is about 8 bucks a yard (a little over 12 sq ft). I've done 3 this way and all have more than 10 years of basically never being dry for more than a few days at a time.

    and ya, no matter what you choose, seal the edges well. fix any damages that get through the topcoat
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  5. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Is HD selling Chinese 'marine grade" plywood?Most probably...! I went looking for marine grade a while back,the real thing was over $100 in 1/4" and +$200 in 3/4".

    I park my bike on a sheet of plywood in my gravel yard.Canadian exterior rated fir plywood.Has been on the ground for a few years and never rotted or delaminated.

    Marine grade? I used to pick a lot of that out of the burn pile at work or at times garbage from the lighthouses.Good stuff....I still find pieces that I buried years ago and still in pretty good shape.
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  6. Ratski

    Ratski Long timer

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    I put pressure treated 3/4 plywood on my Harbor Freight trailer when I bought it 5 years ago. What ever Home Depot had that was 3/4 and said pressure treated on the tag. I think it was like 45 bucks. No paint, no sealant of any kind. It is still holding up pretty well. May replace it in another year or two.
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  7. Boomer343

    Boomer343 Been here awhile

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    I found two layers of 1/2" PWF plywood worked the best for my trailer builds. Stagger the joints and use a matching construction adhesive between layers.

    PWF ... Preserved Wood Foundation
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  8. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    if you really want marine grade ply check Baltic Birch... its close. see my avatar.... the floats have hatches for storage & the floors are 1/2" BB ply. 5-6 years in the hot, damp, wet & still fine. they had a couple coats of varathane.

    the 3/4 (actually 18mm) is 13 ply, no voids, and waterproof glue. price is maybe 50 bucks but they are an odd size 5'x5'. pretty stuff. I just built a set of kitchen cabinets out of the stuff
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  9. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    Good news! We had about an inch of rain last night, so the warp is down to about half of what it was.:lol3

    I remembered that I had half of the one 4x8 that I'd used for the front 2x8 side-to-side section. There are no grading stamps on it, but I'm fairly sure that it was Lowe's "Plytanium".

    The reviews on that HD "marine plywood" are pretty depressing! And at $80 a sheet about 50 miles away, I don't think I'll be picking up any.

    Fiberglassing the top surface would really help preserve it, I suppose that tossing some sand onto the surface of the epoxy for traction, otherwise it'd be too slippery to climb.

    The two 1/2" overlapping panels are an interesting idea, too.
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  10. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    I used pressure treated 1x6 boards on my trailer. I replaced them 5 years ago. No stain or paint. Stored outside. Going strong still. It's definitely more work and more bolts than plywood, but the finished product is well worth it.
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  11. Boomer343

    Boomer343 Been here awhile

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    Just a heads up ... not all Baltic Birch uses water proof glue. I have used it to build drawers and stairs as well as for other custom mill projects but got burned when I used some I assumed was water proof in a damp location. Fortunately it was on my own place and lesson learned.
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  12. showkey

    showkey Long timer

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    (quality) Pressure treated ply should last 10/15 plus years.
    Two by material is stronger........ but .........too heavy for that type of trailer.

    PT wood needs the correct fasteners or the fasteners become the first failure point.
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  13. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho Been here awhile

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    They make a plastic coated plywood material for semi trailer floors. Might be worth checking at a truck/trailer repair facility.
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  14. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    I checked my "records", and my non-PT floor is 9 years old, so I guess I didn't do too badly.

    I'd mounted it with Torx-head self drillers (which did fail at the rear rail). What would be better?

    I think they also make pallets using that coated ply. I imagine that traction would be a problem, though.
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  15. showkey

    showkey Long timer

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    The fasteners can be the failure point but todays PT wood is corrosive.

    Self drillers that are rated for contact with PT wood.

    ACQ Pressure Treated Lumber Compatible, Corrosion Resistant
    12x2" Reamer Tek Torx/Star Head Self-Drilling Wood to Metal Screws - 5 POUNDS APX. 340 Tek Screws - Tek Screws for Flatbeds, Trailers, or Where Fastening Wood to Steel - T-25 Torx Screw Head
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  16. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    and... I put rubber runner material at the contact points to minimize damage to the surface
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  17. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    My Gatormade utility trailer was ordered new w/o wood as they tend to use stuff that doesn't last. It still has the original floor I installed using 4/4 x ~ 6" wide white oak boards planed on the bad side to 1" and screwed down. I've put everything from used crankcase oil to left over wood preservatives left form other jobs and mixed together with no regard for color. That floor is now ~30 years old. Take yer pick of materials, I have a sawmill to help me decide.
    I used self tapping screws too (pre-torx mine are hex) and many have broken over the years
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  18. Ducky 149

    Ducky 149 Been here awhile

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    I had a Triton Lite tilt deck sled trailer when I was living in Illinois. I redecked it with Lowe’s Wolmanized plywood. Worked great for a good long time. The guy I sold it to had it Rhino Lined and it was still going strong when he sold it. Aluminum trailers rock!! BTW it was 1/2” ply that I put on. There were channels that it had to slide into.
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  19. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    Thanks, I hadn't thought of the Rhino liner idea - it would be decent for traction too, I guess.
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  20. kenstone

    kenstone worn out

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    Rustoleum sells "bedliner paint" in quarts/gallons, is what I use on trailer decks/frames/everything, and has held up well.
    I've bought it in both WallyWorld and Tractor Supply.
    :dunno
    :lol3
    #20
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