Unless you leave your truck in the garage 24/7, your flatbed trailer will naturally be exposed to the elements. This exposure can cause major damage to your hardwood trailer decking material. In this series, we'll take a look at the different environmental dangers facing your Apitong wood trailer, the best ways to prevent exposure-related problems, and what to do if damage occurs. Today we'll be focusing on the different ways changes in temperature, humidity, and air quality can harm your trailer boards.
Moisture and Humidity
Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it naturally takes on and gives off water to adjust to its surrounding environment. Wood shrinks and swells when it lose or gains moisture below its fiber saturation point. This natural behavior is responsible for some of the problems encountered when wood dries. For example, cracks and checks can result from stresses induced in a piece of wood that is drying. As the piece dries, it develops a moisture gradient across its section (more dry on the outside, more wet on the inside). The dry outer shell wants to shrink as it dries below fiber saturation; however, the wetter core constrains the shell, which can cause small cracks called “surface checking” or “season checking” to form on the surface.
Moisture isn't the only enemy of Apitong trailer decking; high temperatures can also potentially damage your floors. Damage of this nature typically takes the form of shrinkage to the face of the decking. The result is abnormally large spacing between boards. This can also sometimes be accompanied by concave cupping of the deck boards.
Much like your own skin, excessive exposure to the sun can cause major damage to the cellular structure of Apitong trailer decking. UV rays break down the materials that hold the wood fibers together. You have seen how UV rays can destroy your deck chairs and cushions – the same holds true for your Apitong floors!
Keep in mind that wood is a product of nature and, as such, will acclimate to its surrounding environment. Even properly seasoned decking can change dimensions after installation given the right conditions. It is important to understand that excessive seasonal swings during summer and winter will take their toll on decking.
Tune in next week when we'll be taking a look at a few of the ways you can prevent exposure damage by applying the right finish. If you can't wait a week, give us a call at 1-855-APITONG; we'd be glad to answer your questions!