HORSE TRAILER FLOORING - Many horse owners' greatest fear is a horse falling through the trailer floor. Be aware; It is possible. Here is what you need to know:
- Aluminum Floors: Aluminum corrodes. Alkaline in urine and manure is the biggest culprit. An aluminum floor has to be washed with soap and water often to deter corrosion. Without cleaning, certain aluminum floors can fail in about eight years or less. When considering a used trailer with aluminum floor, always inspect it for corrosion. If you own a trailer with an aluminum floor, check it regularly.
- Rumber Floors: Rumber is manufactured from recycled tires and plastic. 2'x6' Rumber planks are used in horse trailers. They should be laid front to back, not side to side. Rumber material is flexible however the surface is very hard and does not give any leg/foot relief to horses so rubber mats should be used on top of the Rumber planks. Additionally, due to the flex in the Rumber planks, more cross members are required to prevent sagging from the weight of the horses. Rumber does have a textured surface, however when it becomes worn, it can be very slippery. Finally, replacement Rumber planks are manufactured by one company here in the US so the availability could be limited should a repair become necessary.
- W.E.R.M: (We Eliminate Rubber Mats). WERM product is troweled onto aluminum floors in a liquid form. When it dries, it is permanent. The idea is to eliminate mats and keep urine and manure from reaching the floor. The underside of the floor is still exposed to salt and other elements from the road. WERM prevents inspection of the floor for corrosion or damage. There is limited research regarding how the chemicals in WERM reacts to aluminum.
- Rhino Lining: This is also a permanent covering usually placed over aluminum floors. Rhino lining also prevents inspection of the aluminum floor for damage. The bottom of the aluminum floor is also exposed to salt and road debris. It’s uncertain from my research if the chemicals in Rhino lining can negatively affect aluminum.
- Wood Floor: Most wood floors in new trailers are pressure treated 2x6' southern pine wood planks. Pine does not warp over time such as oak and is a lighter weight. There are various grades of pine. Number one grade means fewest knots. Cross members support wood floors - the more cross members under the floor, the stronger the floor will be. 16" and 24" on center is good spacing for ultimate strength. Pine boards are readily available and easy to replace. They should be covered with high-quality rubber mats. Wood boards should be laid front to back not side to side, especially in a straight load. If not, two horses may have all four front legs over one board.
- Rubber Mats: High-quality rubber mats give relieve to horses' legs and disperse the horses' weight. They should cover the floor to keep most of the urine and manure on the mats. Always use over Rumber and wood floors. Sweep out urine and manure after every use. Take rubber mats out and hose down floor periodically depending on the amount of use.
Pressure treated #1-grade pine floor laid lengthwise from front to back with galvanized steel angled cross members every 16" and 24" to support the floor and give ultimate strength is standard in all EquiSpirit Trailer models and comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. Wood breathes well and does not absorb or conduct heat as aluminum does. 2x6 wood boards are readily available at local lumber stores and are easier to repair if needed. High-quality 5/8th-inch mats cover the floor to provide leg muscle relief to the horses. The mats also keep most of the urine and manure on the mats. We recommend to sweep out urine and manure after every use and to wash out the trailer periodically.
Tom's Trailer Talk "Quick Tips" are provided by EquiSpirit Trailer Co.
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