Comparing Horse Float Flooring Products: What is the best and safest Horse float floor.
When asked as to what is the most important safety concern when buying a float, over 85% of the respondents replied “the floor”. The viewpoint was simply that if the floor failed whilst in transit, their beloved horses would not survive.
To that end, we have compiled an overview of the various types of flooring product available to help you decide what will best suit your needs.
Timber is a tried and tested old friend when it comes to horse float floors as its tough and relatively cheap. It does, however, have one significant drawback; it can easily become waterlogged, rot out and collapse without warning. The most common cause is animal urine making its way past the rubber floor of your float and is generally invisible to an underbody inspection as the rot occurs between the rubber and the top of the timber and therefore it cannot be seen unless you tear up the rubber floor covering. Often, the first time you become aware is when it’s too late. Please be extremely wary of Imported brands using cheap non-rated plyboard floors as they are significantly more prone to this issue as the cheap glues used delaminate the ply and literally suck the moisture into the timber at an alarming rate. An additional issue is the fact that various types of insects seem to thrive in timber and will happily burrow their way through your floor and nest given the chance.
Many experienced horse owners along with float manufacturers have migrated away from timber over the past decade for the reasons listed above.
Aluminium is a fairly recent flooring option as it offers the promise of no rust or rot due to moisture and on the surface seems to be a good choice. Unfortunately, it also suffers from deficits and while less dramatic than timber, they represent safety and comfort issues for your horse.
Aluminium suffers from 5 distinct weaknesses;
- Aluminium has very little natural flex and is very rigid underfoot. Horse owners are often surprised at the level of visible fatigue their horses demonstrate upon arrival to their destinations due to a distinctly harsh ride. One rider recently claimed her horse became unrideable after floating on the alloy floor due to animal distress and fatigue.
- Aluminium floors create a large speaker effect amplifying road noise making the ride experience very loud inside the float. Many animals react poorly to this effect and will often arrive very agitated. This becomes very obvious if you have a camera with an audio feature.
- Aluminium floors are easily the best heat conductor of all flooring products and on a hot day will rapidly increase the internal temperature of your float from the ground up leading to potential dehydration and severe discomfort for your horses.
- Aluminium is the most chemically reactive to horse/animal urine and will quickly breakdown once it comes into contact with urine due to the high alkaline content. This is effect is rapidly accelerated with racehorses due to their high salt diets.
- Aluminium as a material is easily destroyed by a process known as Electrolysis. Electrolysis a chemical reaction that occurs naturally where steel and alloy are in direct contact such as a bolt or a rivet holding it in place. This process accelerates when you introduce a voltage to the aluminium as occurs when you connect the car to the float to operate the lights and brakes. The process will eventually see the contact points turn white and then break down leading to premature failures at these fastening points. Ask any boat owner why all boats have a sacrificial anode to prevent this chemical reaction and then ask your float builder why your float with an alloy floor does not have one. Their answer should concern you.
Fibreglass floors were first introduced by Imperial Floats in 2009 as a clever amalgamation of Polytubes and multistrand Fiberglass to overcome the unpredictable and dangerous weaknesses of timber by offering a rot-proof flooring substrate. With over 3000 Imperial floats now on the road with these floors, Imperials Fibreglass floor has proven to be the most successful and one of the safest flooring product on the market today. That stated, it has two distinct limitations that will typically only affect a small number of horse owners.
- Weight: Fibreglass has a weight limit in as much as it was designed to carry horses up to 650kg and beyond that, may show signs of premature wear in some circumstances. This limitation is generally horse specific though we do not recommend its long-term use beyond 650kg per animal.
- Race Horses: These animals have a very high salt diet to prevent respiratory issues and the salt is secreted out though their urine. Over time as the floor seals become damaged by heavy use, the salt molecules in the urine can bypass the seals and become trapped in the fibreglass structure and dry out. When the molecules are rehydrated by the next urine event, the fibreglass can swell and cause micro-fractures that if left unchecked, will eventually degrade the fibreglass leading to pockets of surface failure. In this event, the floor will not fail as the breaches are horizontal across the floor but it will lead to laminate separations known as waffling and will need to be replaced. For this reason, we do not recommend Fibreglass for Racehorses due to the constant high levels of use and seemingly low maintenance regimes common to the industry.
Polexium was developed exclusively by Imperial Floats engineers to overcome all of the limitations and weaknesses of all other flooring products and represents a quantum leap forward in global flooring technology.
Polexium has none of the limitations of any other flooring product. It is stronger than steel by molecular weight, chemically inert and cannot rust or rot. Polexium is impervious to animal urine or liquids, virtually forever. Polexium is thematically heat and cold temperature stabilised and has a service life exceeding 150 years. It can withstand any animal weight including animals up to and exceeding 2000kg without issue making it easily, the worlds most advanced flooring product for animal transport.
Polexium is the first and only flooring product in the world to carry a lifetime warranty and can be ordered to suit any Imperial float from our range and is standard fitment in our Performance Series Racing and heavy horses’ floats.