Different Types of Crane Mats
The most common type of construction mats today are crane (or timber) mats, which are hard, durable, and sturdy enough for most equipment. Standard mats are made from one or more types of hardwood, such as oak or Douglas fir. They generally use timbers that are either 8, 10, or 12 inches thick and are perfect for stabilizing your gear at a rough job site. They’re often used in conjunction with a transition mat – essentially a small ramp to get trucks up onto the mat with minimal wear or damage. There are a few variations on the standard timber mat, and depending on your needs, you may want to look into them as you’re looking at crane mats for sale.
If you’re working on a temporary access roadway, you’ll find that laminated crane mats are standard, but they have other uses such a swamp mats and ground protection. These mats are made of two or three layers that are bonded together with bolts or nails. Whether you use 3-ply or 2-ply mats (also called truck mats), you will usually get hardwood timber, as you would with standard mats. Sometimes other woods will be mixed in, such as the southern yellow pine, which is not hard but does absorb moisture well. The most advanced type of laminated mat is the Emtek® mat, which is half the weight of a typical laminated mat but twice as strong.
If you’re environmentally conscious and wish to avoid plywood mats, then you may want to consider composite mats. These mats can be made from a variety of materials but are fairly light when compared to wood, which makes them cheaper and easier to transport. Unfortunately, the rigid material does not hold up well under excessive weight, so it’s most effective at small projects without heavy equipment. Otherwise, a wooden crane mat is likely going to be the best fit for you.