The question is: “What’s the performance spec?”
Most users specify size, not a performance requirement. That’s costing you money.
That might have worked 30 years ago when mats were made of one species, were true to size, and had no defects.
It doesn’t work now: Most mats are made of many different species, they’re thinner than advertised, and defects abound.
Which mats below would you choose?
These 8” mats?
Or these 5” mats?
The performance specifications for a 48” pipeline with large pipelayers is different than the performance specifications for a transmission job with pile drivers and pickups.
A 48” pipeline might need an 8” Eucalyptus mat. A transmission line can almost surely use a 5” or 6” Eucalyptus mat depending on soil conditions.
The difference between the 8” mat and the 5” or 6” mat is huge. You’ll save on the initial purchase price, continuing lower trucking costs, and, if it’s Eucalyptus, the mat will last longer than mixed hardwood saving you replacement cost. (The three combined mean a much lower total cost of ownership. )
You can see the rough equivalency of Eucalyptus vs. mixed hardwoods. If you are buying 8” mixed hardwoods these days many of your mats are sub 7.5”; a 6” Eucalyptus mat should save you a lot of money. A 5″ mat might work just fine, too.
There’s a place for almost every kind of mat made. Knowing mat strength combined with performance requirements allows you to save money.
If you ask for performance requirements, you’ll save yourself a ton of money because you’ll be able to match the performance requirement with the best mat for the job.
(DISCLAIMER: Ground and use conditions vary by site. Check with your engineers before you make a purchasing decision.)