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What Size of Ground Protection Mat Do I Need?

Make sure ground protection mats are big enough for your equipment


By Paige Cerulli

If you're doing any sort of work involving heavy machinery and you need to drive that machinery on soft ground, then ground protection mats for heavy equipment are an absolute must-have. These strong and durable mats help to distribute the weight of your equipment, preventing your tires from digging up the ground and minimizing the effect of your heavy equipment on the surrounding area.

When it comes to buying ground protection mats for heavy equipment, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important factors, though, is the size of the mats. If you purchase mats that are too small or too large for your project, then they won't be as effective or as convenient.

Here are a few things you should consider when deciding what size lawn protection mats are right for your needs.

The Size of the Area to Be Covered
The specific project that you're working on will partially determine the size of the ground protection mats that you need. If you just need to create a small road from one location to another, then you may do just fine in using smaller lawn mats placed end-to-end.

This same technique won't serve you well in a larger scale project, though. If you're creating longer roads or lanes, or need to cover more space with the mats, then you're going to want a mat that's larger and that gives you more coverage. Not only will this give you a bit more wiggle room as you navigate your machinery around, but it will also save you time in assembling the mats. Larger mats naturally cover a larger area more quickly, saving your team valuable time. It's always a good idea to have a supply of these larger mats on hand for your business.

Your Equipment
Take an inventory of the types of machinery that will need to navigate the project site. You'll need to evaluate the size of the wheels or tracks on your machines. Your ground protection mats will need to be wider than the widest wheels or tracks on your machines.

At Greatmats, we offer ground mats for heavy equipment in a number of different sizes. You'll find that the smallest mats measure about 2 feet wide, while the larger mats measure 4 feet wide. Most mats come in a 6- or 8-foot length, which allows you to quickly assemble temporary roads and coverage without the mats being so large that they're unmanageable.

If you have a lot of ground to cover and you have plenty of help to assemble your temporary road, then consider our TuffTrak XL Plus Heavy Duty Ground Protection Road Mat. This is the largest ground protection mat that we offer, and it measures an impressive 6.7 feet wide by 13.4 feet long. This mat isn't for every project - because of its size, you'll need multiple people to transport, carry, and install each mat. However, it does offer superior coverage, meaning you need fewer mats, the assembly will go faster, and you can easily cover significant areas for major projects.

As you plan out your road or coverage, be sure to consider the turning radius of every vehicle. When you're working with different machines, you may need to be more generous with your coverage. Larger machines can't turn on the same tight tracks that a smaller machine can navigate, so it's important to have plenty of mats on hand to extend or modify your lanes as you work.

Storage and Transportation
Keep in mind that you'll need the facilities and equipment to store and transport your ground protection mats when they're not in use. This is fairly simple when you're working with smaller mats, but larger mats, like the Tuff Trak XL Plus Heavy Duty Ground Protection Mat referenced above, may require some special arrangements. If you have a limited number of staff on hand to assemble and remove the mats, then smaller mats may be easier to handle, as long as they can also accommodate your equipment.

When In Doubt, Choose Larger Mats
If you're debating between two different ground protection mat sizes, then it's best to go for the larger size. Keep in mind that the size of the mat affects how the weight will be distributed. In other words, larger mats will distribute weight across a larger area of the ground, which makes for less compression and potential signs of wear. Smaller mats can't help but concentrate the weight of your machinery more, which will have a more significant effect on the ground.

Additional Considerations When Choosing Ground Mats for Heavy Equipment
The size isn't the only factor that you need to think about when choosing ground protection mats for your business. Once you've determined the size of the mats that you need, think about these other factors to further narrow down your choices.

Mat Strength
Not only should you choose mats that are wide enough for your equipment, but you also need to select mats that are strong enough to support the weight of your heaviest machinery. Mats have different weight capacities, and for heavy machinery, we have plenty of suitable options.

Our Mud-Traks Super Ground Protection Mats can handle loads of up to 30,000 pounds in off-road conditions.

TuffTrak XT Extreme Heavy Duty mats can handle weights of 30,772 pounds per square foot.

And if you're looking for the ultimate in strength, our Liberty Ground Protection Mats can support loads of up to 80 tons.

Traction
These mats feature different traction options, and part of choosing the right mat requires considering the machinery that will need to navigate the surface. For instance, skid steer ground protection mats may not have the same traction that you'd want to see for larger, wheeled machinery.

You'll find a variety of traction options in the protection mats offered at Greatmats. Make sure that you choose a mat with a rugged, highly textured tread designed to work in different circumstances, including with rain and mud. The mats you need may be different depending on if you're working with machinery that is on tracks or on wheels, so be sure to pay attention to this careful detail.

Connection Method
These mats connect together to create a unified surface that won't separate, but they do have different connection methods. You may find that you have a preference for one connection method over another.

Mat Weight
When you're pulling the mats in and out of trucks and moving them from site to site, you'll start to realize how important the weight of the mat can be. Because these mats are designed for use with heavy equipment, the mats themselves have a significant weight to them. However, you can minimize the weight factor by buying mats that are strong enough and large enough for your machinery, but that aren't any larger than you actually need.

Mats range in weight from about 70 pounds to 100 pounds each. Be sure to look for a mat that has convenient handholds so that multiple people can move and position the mat. Some mats have holes in their sides to serve as handholds, while others have rope handles.

Budget
Ground mats for heavy equipment come in a number of different price points depending on their size, weight capacity, durability, and a number of other factors. If you're trying to decide between a few different mats, you may want to calculate out the cost of the mats that you'll need, and how much coverage they will provide. Ground protection mats are definitely a significant investment, but they're also a wise investment for any construction or maintenance business.

Just think of the expenses you might face for repairing damaged property and land, and remember that a set of good mats can help you to avoid that expense.

The Right Ground Protection Mat
Ultimately, the mat that is right for you depends on many different factors. When you've found ground mats for heavy equipment that are the right size for your needs, you'll be well set up for successful projects at different sites.

For more on this topic please review our Ground Protection Mats product page.