Best way to treat trailer plywood? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-29-2019   #1
River girl
Eagle, Colorado
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Best way to treat trailer plywood?

Our rafting trailer is about 8 years old. We treat it with a good stain every year, but it doesn't seem to be holding up well anymore. How about a quality grade marine based sealant? Any advice?

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Old 03-29-2019   #2
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Western Slope, CO, Colorado
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You'll probably thinking about a Gallon of Polyester Resin with the hardener. There are different types, additives, hardeners, colorants, etc so I'd recommend you call one of the many marine finish retailers on the internet and tell them what you want to do and they can fix you up. Not too expensive, about $40 a Gallon plus shipping.

Plan on using a respirator and gloves and it being about 70 Degrees when applying this stuff, but when done it should be maintenance free for decades. It's the stuff fiberglass boats are made of.

You can also lay up some fiberglass matting in certain areas before applying the main coat to round off sharp edges, strengthen any weak areas, etc.
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Old 03-30-2019   #3
Salida, Colorado
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Have used this Penofin Wood Stain & Sealer | Penofin for years, works better than most any other finish.
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Old 03-30-2019   #4
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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I would paint with a quality deck and porch enamel paint. This is how I treat the plywood floor and deck for my cataraft and I find it has far out performed the spar varnish I used to use. You can add some fine sand over the final coat if you need it to be less slick.

The exposed grain and voids along the plywood edges will absorb a lot of water. Seal them first with a coat of regular 2 hour (slow setting) epoxy adhesive thinned with denatured alcohol.
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Old 03-31-2019   #5
Wilson, Wyoming
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Superdeck deck and dock elastomeric coating #3102 w/ tintable adobe grey base. Soap and water clean-up. Thick, gap or crack filling, with easy, relatively non toxic roll on application.
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Old 04-01-2019   #6
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Denver, Colorado
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I used to have a business building decks and now build raft trailers for fun so i might be qualified to weigh in on this one.

The thing with a"stain" is that all they really do is protect the color of the wood from the sun, the "waterproofing" they provide is temporary at best. My recomendation is if you are that worried about it trash the old stuff and get some new wood and start fresh. You will never get better performance out of your current decking no matter what product you use.

The performance and longevity of any coating is only as good as the preperation of the surface that is will be applied to. When applying new coatings for wood not only do you have to wait for the moisture level to drop to the correct level you also need to remove any UV layer that would be caused by exposure to sun by either mechanical or chemical means. Also if you want to recoat it or change brands you would have to sand the enitire surface to virgin wood and reapply.

I know this is in a prefect world but my point is I don't think you will get any improvment in perfomance with just putting another product on your existing decking. You won't get much more life out of the wood either way. My recomendation is to either redeck it and then don't touch it, it will turn gray from the sun but will las just as long. If you want it to be more asteticly applealing use indoor/outdoor carpet. Not the plastic green stuff the tight burbur colorad stuff they sell at HD and Lowes.

You can try the other "marine" product mentioned above but you will still be in the same boat (pun intended) and they are very expensive. You will get a better lifespan out of them but you would still need new decking to get the best perfomance out of it or you would be just reapplying a more expensive coating each year.

I had carpet it on my last trailer and it worked great and never had an issue, just hosed it off once or twice a year. My curretn trailer is pressure treated 5/4 decking and I will never mess with it and it will probably out last the traielr.
Full disclosure: I suck at spelling and grammar, so if you find an error, great! Keep it to your self I don't care!
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Old 04-04-2019   #7
Join Date: Feb 2019
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I am in the process of covering my 8x10 trailer. I have 2 boards of trex left over from another project and I want to use them for where my raft tubes sit. I plan on using 1/2 inch plywood covered in outdoor carpet like jspoon mentioned. My question is how should I treat the plywood so that it doesnt end up a rotten mess. The trailer will be stored outdoors most of the time. I'm trying to cut down on weight as much as I can , or should I just cover the whole thing in trex and be done with it?
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Old 04-04-2019   #8
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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This solution is inelegant, but in my experience quite effective. Have you thought of deck paint?
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Old 04-04-2019   #9
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Weld county, Colorado
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I've just been researching deck paint for my house. It seems that deck over falls off and Rust-Oleum just settled a class action law suit cause it's product sucks. If you know a good deck paint please chime in.
"It is fun to have fun but you have to know how"---The Cat In The Hat
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Old 04-05-2019   #10
Denver, Colorado
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my brother is a chemist involved with paints, coatings, laminates, and glues....his strong opinion is to use Oil Based Porch Paint....I have used this on my plywood trailer top (utility trailer that I home project put a hinged plywood top on)....winter it is in a garage and summer it is the Colorado mountains outside, but with cheap auto cover over the raft on this trailer....gray painted top has held up well...every year I do a few dabs of touch up on cracks and chips...about 7 years on this plywood top with minimal hassle.....overall experience has been very positive re "porch paint"....hassle is it is oil based for clean up and drying is a little slow least overnight for for this oil based paint.......again my experience very + with oil based "Porch Paint" Thanks, Chet
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