What’s the best construction mat to use for my application?
The answer starts with these factors: what are the ground conditions; what equipment will drive over or be stationed on the construction mats; are your vehicles tracked or do they have rubber tires; and how long will your project last. Composite mats, such as SYSTEM7™ won’t rot, can be used for years, and come with guaranteed engineering data. There’s no guaranteed data for wood mats plus they may rot or split if the job goes past the 1.5-year mark. If you expect to reuse the mats, composites are the better investment.

How many access mats should I bring to my job site?
The number will depend on the type/size of mat you choose, worksite ground conditions, the weight of heavy equipment and heavy trucks, and, of course, the area that needs to be covered. It will help to have surface measurements that include dimensions for roads and platforms. You’ll also need to consider whether you need any bridging over water, ditches, or pipes. If you are building a temporary roadway, where lots of traffic will be going back and forth, and for a long-term matting application, then an interlocking composite mat, like SYSTEM7™ , makes the most sense. If you want the best inexpensive option, you can go with wood mats, such as three-ply laminated mats. Our team can help you count up what you’ll need for the job at hand. Call us with your site measurements and let us do the math.

What’s the least amount of mats I can use to accomplish my job?
At a minimum, you need enough square footage to cover roadways, sensitive areas and the main work area. Roadways and work pads need to be large and wide enough to keep tires and tracks at least two to three feet away from mat edges. Ideally you set up the site and don’t have to think about construction mats again. Alternately, some managers leapfrog construction mats around on the job. While this may seem to save money, it slows the job down significantly and may disrupt productivity. Furthermore, if an operator is inexperienced or loses focus, they could damage the mats during handling. You can get expert advice on the number of mats you need by talking with the experts at Spartan Mat.

What are the main differences in wooden mats versus composite mats?
Wooden mats generally are less expensive than composite mats, but wood mats rot and degrade in a relatively short amount of time. Composite mats will never rot and can last indefinitely if handled correctly. Composite mats save significant money over time because the company doesn’t have to purchase wooden mats year after year. Composite mats like SYSTEM7™ are 35-65% lighter than wood mats which means significant savings on freight costs. Every time you pick up and transport the mats, you’ve saved on logistics. Over the lifespan of the mat, these savings can be very substantial. Another significant difference is that wood mats tend to hide or retain foreign material contaminants, noxious weeds, and seeds. Composite mats are inert and do not give off or absorb anything; plus composite is much easier to clean than wood. Lastly, composite mats have known engineering data and values, while wooden mats cannot be guaranteed for ratings such as shear, psi, and deflection.

Is there any engineering data for crane mats or bridge mats?
Since industry standard wood mats are not engineered, there is no data that can be provided for them. However all composite mats are engineered, testing data and design values can be shared. This is certainly true for Spartan’s composite mat portfolio, including but not limited to SYSTEM7™ , STRUXURE®, STRUXURE SR® composite crane mats, and light duty Scout Mat®.

What’s the lifespan of a wood mat?
Wood mat longevity is determined by these factors: what environment the mat goes into, how it is handled by equipment when being moved, what equipment is going on the mats, how the mats are stored when not being used, how or if the mats are cleaned, where the project is located (humidity versus no humidity or salt water versus fresh water). The general rule of thumb is approximately 18 months for wood mats. The danger with wood mats in certain applications is not being able to tell where the mat is in the life cycle. Internal dry rot and structural unknowns are always a major concern that needs to be considered.

What’s the lifespan of a composite mat?
There is no general rule of thumb of how long a composite mat will last as they are inert to the environment and elements. With composite mats, it’s not about rot or degradation, only abuse and use and wear and tear. Most common reasons for composite mats reaching the end of their lifespan are operator error in handling the mats, and misjudgment for what equipment should be used on the mats. In the correct applications with the correct equipment being used, there is no reason composite mats can’t last decades upon decades.

What type of mat would you recommend for use with a large excavator?
Most large excavator operators tend to use 8”x4’x16’ excavator mats. Some hoe operators with very large equipment will bump up in length to 8”x4’x18’. And in extremely poor conditions, a 12”x4’x16’ or 20’ hardwood mats are also something to consider due to the additional stiffness of these mats from their increased thickness.

Composite STRUXURE® and STRUXURE SR® mats also have been used with excavators for those who want a mat that doesn’t rot. A general recommendation to consider when buying wood or composite mats is to decide whether your grouzered machine destroys the mats over time or if the mats rot out on you first. If your mats rot out before they are destroyed by equipment, then composite is the obvious answer. If not, then wood mats make sense.

What’s the lightest construction mat made but can still hold large weight equipment?
If weight is the number one consideration then there’s only one choice to consider: composite mats. While composite mats are significantly lighter than wood mats, that doesn’t mean they are any less stronger than wood mats. In most cases, a composite mat of similar size will have the same or often times greater compression values than oak mats. Composite mats come as light as 15 lbs for some outrigger pads, and 88 lbs for a Scout Mat that is ½”x4’x8’, or closer to 1,000 lbs for the System7 ® mat up to 3000+ lbs for STRUXURE ® and STRUXURE SR ® crane mats.

Can construction mats be moved by hand? And still work with small to medium sized equipment?
Most construction mats require machinery to be moved, but the Scout Mat™ is an all composite ½”x4’x8’ size that is 88 lbs each. Two people can move it and one person can drag it with the use of a specially designed hook. While less than 90 pounds, Scout Mat™ forms a very strong and durable surface for use with big trucks and equipment. In addition to acting as an access mat for many uses, you’ll find Scout Mat™ works for a variety of applications, including turf protection and rutting prevention. That’s why they are the choice of landscape, building, utility and tree contractors.

Where is Spartan Mat located?
Finding composite mats or wood mats as close to your project location as possible is one way to save money on transportation costs. With over 89 production and stocking locations, our composite mats and wood mats are closer to your project than you think. Call or contact us now to find the location nearest you.

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