How Are Timber Mats Graded?
September 11, 2023

Timber mats play a crucial role in various industries like construction, oil, and power. They serve as essential equipment by offering stability and evenly distributing the weight of heavy machinery, such as cranes. However, new timber mats come with a substantial price tag, typically around $700 each. Consequently, many buyers turn to used mats, which are considerably more affordable.

At Phoenix Mat, we offer high-quality timber mats in the Midwest, available for both purchase and lease. If you're contemplating the purchase of a used timber mat, it's vital to understand how these products are graded to ensure you obtain a dependable mat. Below, we'll provide some insights into the timber mat grading system used in the United States.

Regulatory body

The system for assessing timber mats is overseen by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), an organization made up of lumber specialists who continually assess industry standards. Suppliers of used timber mats are mandated to have their products assessed by a licensed grader who has obtained approval from the NHLA and completed the required training. The NHLA categorizes their grading system into three levels, denoted by the letters A, B, and C. A licensed grader conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the timber mat and assigns one of these letters to indicate the product's quality.

Grade A

When evaluating a timber mat, graders take into account several key factors that contribute to the product's reliability. These factors encompass the mat's coloration, construction quality, integrity of bolts, age, and the type of hardwood used in its fabrication. Grade A timber mats should exhibit a near-new appearance. In simpler terms, they should not display any visible deformities or missing timbers, and there should be no signs of damaged or absent bolts. Additionally, to meet Grade A criteria, the mat must be no older than 9 months. These criteria are established to ensure the longevity, durability, and safety of timber mats, which may justify a higher price compared to lower-grade options.

Grade B

Grade B timber mats are also expected to maintain their reliability and durability at a level close to their original condition. However, these mats may exhibit some aesthetic imperfections, such as bent bolts or stains. Most importantly, they should not have structural issues that compromise their functionality. Such problems include timber pieces that have lost their square shape, missing bolts, or hardwood that is beginning to deteriorate. To receive a Grade B rating, these mats must not exceed approximately 18 months in age. Mats older than this are more likely to experience deterioration or rot, even if these issues are not immediately visible on the surface.

Grade C

Grade C timber mats represent the lowest tier in the grading system. While they may not be the most desirable choice, they offer an affordable way to access the benefits of a timber mat in the short term. Grade C mats may have one missing or pulled rod or broken timbers on the ends, rendering a small section of the mat unusable. However, the area that is unusable should not exceed a width of two feet. Grade C mats may also feature missing bolts, slightly misshapen timbers, and show signs of multiple repairs over time. It's important to note that if the mat displays hanging timbers, it will be considered structurally unsound and will not qualify for any grading.

Are you in the market for purchasing or leasing timber mats in the Midwest? Your search ends here with Phoenix Mat. Our team is readily available to assist you with any additional information you may need regarding pricing, grading, and more during your search.

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