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Advantages of Composite Mats Over Hardwood Mats

What Are the Advantages of Composite Mats Over Hardwood Mats?

Less than ideal project sites are a common challenge in construction. Construction mats help create a more functional surface for construction equipment when ground conditions are difficult. Composite construction mats last longer than hardwood mats and avoid problems like rot, warping, insect infestation, and board breakage. They are also inert and offer superior ground protection from chemical spills.

Construction mats—also called equipment mats, access mats, temporary road mats, or heavy equipment mats—can be used for a variety of equipment types on a variety of terrains. They work in dirt, unstable soil, uneven or rocky surfaces, swamps or bogs, and streams, just to name a few. Mats can also help provide access to job sites in environmentally sensitive areas.

Using construction mats can help to reduce wear and tear as well as protect costly equipment. They also help to prevent project delays that can occur with wet or soft soil, or uneven ground that can cause equipment to sink, which then requires digging out. Mats also help to protect the environment, which can be damaged by heavy construction equipment.

As you can see, construction mats have many benefits, and it really comes down to figuring out the type of mats that will best fit your needs.

Composite Mats vs. Hardwood Mats

Both composite mats and hardwood mats provide a solid, durable base for construction equipment in challenging project site locations. Hardwood, or timber mats, are made from various grades of hardwood or softwood and come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Composite mats are made from materials other than wood and offer several advantages over hardwood construction mats.


Composite mats are strong and durable. The benefits of composite mats include the elimination of common problems inherent with hardwood mats like rot, warping, board breakage, and insects. Therefore, composite mats last far longer than wood mats.

They are also able to hold up under extreme weather conditions, unstable terrain, or difficult soil types. Because composite mats do not absorb liquid, they stay strong in the wettest conditions.


In addition to durability, composite construction mats are extremely versatile. They can be configured for almost any job requirement. Composite mats are reusable as well, and since they are lighter in weight than hardwood construction mats, it costs substantially less to ship them.


Even though composite mats are lightweight, easy to transport, and easy to place, they can still withstand enormous weight and offer superior protection for construction equipment, crews, and the environment. Surfaces are patterned for improved traction for both workers and equipment and reduce the threat of slips. The composite material is also non-conductive to guard against problems with static electricity.

Composite access mats help distribute forces on the ground from heavy equipment, thus minimizing the environmental impact. At the end of your job, composite mats help you spend less time reclaiming the site.

SYSTEM7™ Composite Mats

One of the best and most versatile composite mat systems on the market is Spartan Mat’s SYSTEM7™ Composite Mats. Every job is different, and Spartan Mat understands that there is no one-size-fits-all construction mat solution. But, SYSTEM7™ Composite Mats come close.

This interlocking composite mat system can be customized for your needs in four ways:

  • Size – Choose between two popular sizes including one for regular trucking and one for ease of containerizing for overseas shipping.
  • Flexibility – You decide whether to keep the industry standard of 12 inches for overlapping and underlapping flanges/edges or instead use 6 inches to prevent wear and tear and less broken corners/flanges.
  • Locking Connector Pin Hole Location – Leave pin holes as is, so SYSTEM7™ mats can interlock seamlessly with other construction mats you already own or change the pin hole location.
  • Additives/Inhibitors – When facing special circumstances, such as severe cold temperatures or conditions, you can customize UV protection, elastomers, anti-static, and the types of plastic to meet your needs.

SYSTEM7™ uses plastic formulas that go far beyond standards when it comes to rigidity, psi, compression, pin systems, three-point bending, and variableness in flange sizes. They are the lightest heavy-duty industrial mats on the market and, with 50+ mats per truck, you can enjoy significant savings on freight over the life of the mat.

What Are Crane Mats Used For?

Cranes are essential equipment at many construction sites. However, in order to do all that heavy lifting, cranes are also extremely heavy and unwieldy. Crane mats provide a level, solid, and steady base, making it possible for heavy construction equipment like cranes and dozers to maneuver a job site safely and easily. They can also be used for bridging streams or ditches, traversing rugged or uneven terrain, or passing over buried utilities and pipelines without causing damage.

Crane mats are especially useful in conditions like wetlands, loose soil, ice, or environmentally sensitive terrain. Construction companies don’t have to choose between using cranes or other large equipment and the environment. Crane mats allow them to do both.

Available in a variety of sizes, crane mats are often made from timber. However, composite crane mats can replace heavy timber mats and wood crane mats. They have higher compression values than wood mats and don’t rot. Plus, composite crane mats are thinner and can weigh less, which may save on shipping costs.

How Much Does a Crane Mat Weigh?

Crane mats come in various sizes and weights. Hardwood crane mats weigh from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds or more. Composite mats can be lighter, weighing under 2,000 pounds. Steel reinforced composite crane mats weigh more, up to 5,300 pounds for the largest sizes.

What is a Swamp Mat?

Swamp mats, or wetland mats, solve many of the problems builders encounter when working in wetland environments. They provide a solid, level surface that isn’t affected by water or precipitation, which allows you to move crews and machinery safely. In addition, swamp mats help protect and preserve the environment.

Wetlands are home to fragile ecosystems, and the less we disturb them the better. Swamp mats disperse pressure exerted on the ground by heavy machinery, reducing their environmental impact. They create temporary roadways to areas of the site where paved roads don’t go, and also keep equipment from picking up mud that could become lodged in wheels or tracks. Swamp mats are also portable and versatile, so they can be adjusted to meet the needs of any job site.

What is an Outrigger Pad?

Outrigger pads improve the safety of the work environment when using outrigger enabled equipment. They are highly resistant to vertical pressure and provide a strong, rigid foundation. Especially helpful with uneven or difficult ground conditions, outrigger pads also prevent ground damage.

These pads are advantageous when using:

  • Utility and bucket trucks
  • Fire trucks
  • Concrete pumps
  • Cranes
  • Aerial equipment
  • Recreational vehicles

What is a Timber Mat?

A timber mat is another name for hardwood construction mats. Mats are created by connecting heavy timbers together side-by-side, creating a durable platform or roadway. Made from various grades of wood, timber mats can be used for heavy equipment, digging, or rig matting. They provide solutions for challenging project site conditions.

Construction Mats for Sale or Rent

For composite mats, hardwood mats, or composite crane mats for sale, look no further than the full-service convenience of Spartan Mat. We also provide installation, removal, rentals, and buyback programs. Contact Spartan Mat today for all your construction mat needs.

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