How do I Replace Wood Floors in Utility Trailers?

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Utility trailers are very useful. However, much like a beautiful home and its foundation, a utility trailer is only utilitarian if it has flooring adequate to support the weight of the load. Lightweight trailers typically have floors made from 3/4-inch plywood. Heavier trailers are mostly floored with 2 by lumber. (which is 1 1/2 inch thick) Replace the floor with the same or similar material to avoid issues with thickness and proper fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • 3/4 inch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Sander
  • Lumber to match the original floor
  • Drill
  • Carriage bolts
  • Treated deck screws

Plywood Trailer Floors

  • Measure and sketch out the trailer floor with dimensions on paper. Measure and mark the locations of any fasteners that pass through the metal frame, with dimensions. Measure the individual panels of the floor and mark those dimensions on the drawing as well.

  • Remove screws from the decking with a cordless drill or release carriage bolts in the corners of the panels by loosening the nuts from below the trailer with an impact gun. Replacing fasteners is the best way to ensure a long lasting replacement floor. Save one screw or bolt as an example.

  • Cut plywood pieces the same sizes as the original. This will allow the frame pieces to fall in the same place so that fasteners can be reinstalled. Drill bolt holes in the locations you indicated on your drawing with a bit the same diameter as your bolts. Drill 1/8 inch pilot holes through the plywood in each screw location.

  • Purchase enough bolts or screws of the same type and size as the originals to replace the original fasteners and a few extra in case of loss or damage. Position the plywood pieces into the trailer frame in the same pattern as the originals. Drive screws through every screw pilot hole or insert a carriage bolt, with a firm tap from a hammer to set the head, into every bolt hole. Thread a washer and nut to the bottom end of each bolt and tighten with the impact gun.

Lumber Flooring

  • Purchase enough lumber in the same thickness and width as the original pieces to cover the trailer floor. Measure and sketch out the floor including each plank. Mark dimensions on the drawing. Mark the location of each bolt as well.

  • Unbolt and remove the planks from the trailer's frame using the impact gun from underneath the trailer deck. Buy enough new bolts in the same type and size to replace the originals.

  • Cut the new flooring pieces to length, using the original boards as a pattern. Mark each plank to indicate the order and placement for installation. Drill holes, the same diameter as the bolts in each location you marked on the drawing.

  • Position each plank according to the predetermined order in the trailer frame. Push a carriage bolt through each pilot hole and give it a firm tap with a hammer to set the head. Thread a washer and nut onto each bolt from underneath and tighten with the impact gun.

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References

  • "The Trailer Manual: the Complete Guide to Buying Maintaining and Building Light Trailers"; Brian Bate; 2006
  • "Build Your Own Trailer"; Popular Mechanics Press; 1940
  • Makezine: How to Build a Utility Trailer
  • Photo Credit scoreboard on the move image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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