A wood trailer deck can be a great way to add style and function to your vehicle, whether you’re on the road full time or you just use it periodically throughout the year. Not only do they look great, but wood is also a solid and durable material that can be particularly difficult to damage.
Nonetheless, you still want to make sure the wood trailer deck you install lasts as long as possible for it to meet your needs and minimize additional expenses. With that said, here are some tips that can help extend the life of your wood trailer deck.
1. Treat It Like Your Front Door
Whether you’re out camping or getting ready to take off for a weekend road trip, you want your trailer decking looking its best. Treat it as if it were the front of your house—maybe even better! You wouldn’t leave your house’s front unprotected from rain and snow after all. If you have a trailer, treat your deck just as well.
It’d be best if you lay a tarp down before you leave if there’s been rain or snow in the forecast and check it every couple of days to make sure nothing has ruined it. If the sides of your trailer are protected, you don’t have to worry if water or dirt gets on your deck.
This tip can be a make-or-break point, especially if you live somewhere where the climate fluctuates wildly within a year. If that’s the case, it can be a bit challenging to keep your wood deck in excellent condition. That said, you may use a tarp to protect it from all elements, especially water damage, when not in use.
2. Keep It Clean Through Regular Cleaning
The next best thing to tarping your trailer is giving it a good, thorough wiping down every time you move it. Wood decks are easier to clean than other materials. They don’t corrode, so there’s no rust to worry about. Keep some rags and cleaning solution on hand and wipe everything off when you put it away.
It’s imperative if you’ve been out camping and have dirt or mud on your deck. But it’d be worth noting too that once a year, consider giving your deck a deep clean to keep any grime from getting in the cracks and crevices.
Debris can settle on your deck over time, whether it’s dirt from the road itself or just general dust. If schedule permits, take a few minutes each week to give your trailer deck a good hose down. It’ll get rid of any buildup or dirt that might have settled on it while keeping everything looking nice and clean ahead of your adventure.
3. Observe Proper Storage Practices
After an off-road camping adventure or a weekend getaway, your deck is ready to be put away, and you want to ensure it’s secured while it stays in storage. It can be difficult if you don’t have extra space for something like a trailer shelter, but some simple steps can go a long way towards ensuring that your deck doesn’t get ruined while its home is on the road.
To start, always park your trailer in the shade when you’re not using it. This is because heat can cause wood decks to expand, putting pressure on any nails or screws holding them in place. If these get pushed out of their holes, chances are they’ll be loose and could even let water seep between boards.
Additionally, always make sure your deck is thoroughly dried before storing it. If it’s wet, which can happen even with a hose down after being in the sun, then that moisture can cause rot or warping when your deck gets too warm again.
4. Invest In A Trailer Shelter
If budget and space permits, consider investing in a trailer shelter before putting your deck away for the season or between trips. This can help keep out any type of debris that might land on it, whether it’s dust, dirt, or even snow and ice.
If your area experiences heavy rain or snow, then it’s worth spending the money to get one of these shelters. You’ll be protecting your deck from any moisture that might seep through.
5. Use It With Proper Care
The best way to ensure that your deck lasts as long as possible is to use it with care. That doesn’t just mean not doing anything too strenuous while you’re using it – though, of course, always ask yourself if something’s worth doing on your deck or if you should get somebody else to help instead.
The more attention you give your deck, the longer it can last. With that in mind, here are some don’ts to keep in mind when using your deck:
- Don’t park on gravel surfaces with your tow vehicle still attached to your trailer. The trailer might sink into the ground over time.
- Don’t overload your deck or hitch. It may cause it to bend or flex, not to mention put extra strain on other parts like the car’s suspension system.
- Don’t back up with a load onto your deck. The same goes for turning around—don’t do either unless you have plenty of room and are sure you won’t hit anything.
- Don’t use your deck for storing items that are prone to picking up moisture or dirt, like garbage cans or gardening supplies, unless you have a trailer shelter on it. It’s because the debris could get stuck in between the slats and cause problems down the line.
- Don’t forget to check for nails and screws when you’re done using your deck and before you put it away in storage. If there’s a problem with any of them, then try to replace or reattach them immediately, since the longer they stay out of place, the more likely they’ll get pulled out or broken by somebody walking on top of them.
6. Sand It Down
For an older wood trailer deck, even one that’s been treated regularly, it might be time to sand the whole thing down. If you’re considering repainting your deck, too, then this is a good option – both for adding some new color and making sure your paint applies evenly across the entire deck.
Sanded wood decks are also appealing to look at because they give everything a sleek, polished look. It’s an excellent method to top off your deck before you head out for a trip or park it back in storage until next season.
7. Replace Damaged Boards
If parts of your deck are missing or if you can see daylight through any cracks, then it may be time for some new boards. It may be the mere option left to give your deck that polished look or just to be able to use it at all without worrying about its safety.
There are a few different options for replacement, and it can be pretty affordable to buy a whole new deck and replace it all at once. It might be best if you’re considering taking your trailer somewhere else after this since the current boards won’t go with the new one.
On the other hand, replacing the damaged or missing boards yourself can also be possible if you want to save some money. It’ll give you more power over how your deck will look, but you’ll need to take some time to measure everything carefully before buying new wood and installing it yourself.
8. Seal It
If you’ve done all of the above tips, your deck should look good as new. If there are still spots where water seeped in or stains that won’t come out, it’s time to seal it. If the wood has started to wear even after all this extra TLC, then go ahead and give it another coat of sealant too.
Sealing your deck correctly can help it last longer. But the sealant you are to use should be specifically designed for wood decks to make sure you’re protecting them properly.
9. Schedule Routine Check And Maintenance
Lastly, to keep your wood trailer deck lasting for years to come, you should also schedule routine maintenance. If damage keeps reappearing, the best way to prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem is through checkups.
Schedule regular cleaning sessions to inspect your deck carefully and clean off any debris stuck in between the boards. Consider having professionals look at it, too, every once in a while, for a thorough inspection of any problems that may need immediate attention or just starting to show up.
Routine maintenance can help save you money and time in the long run. Not only can it help keep your wood trailer deck sleek and polished to look at, but it can also ensure the safety of using it.
If you have a wood trailer deck, it’s essential to stay on top of the maintenance and care you provide for it. You can make your deck last for years and be safe every time you use your trailer by considering following these nine steps.