Crane operators depend on having stable ground beneath their equipment. If the ground is uneven or the soil is loose, the wheels can slip and put the whole project, not to mention the driver’s safety, at risk.
To solve this problem, builders rely on crane mats to provide a steady foundation from which to operate cranes, bulldozers, or other types of heavy construction equipment.
The following are some of the most common questions that customers ask about crane mats.
1. What are crane mats made of?
According to Spartan Mat, most crane mats are made from wood or a composite material. The hardwood timbers used to construct a crane mat generally come from Douglas or Hemlock fir trees, two of the strongest types of wood. The 8- to 12-inch-thick timbers are connected with steel bolts to ensure their stability. Composite mats are made of recycled materials bound with a tough polyester resin. Some composite mats are also reinforced with steel.
2. How long do crane mats last?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including where and how long the mats are used, what they’re made of, and how they’re stored. Hardwood crane mats can be expected to last around 18 months if they’re getting constant use by heavy equipment. If they are used in mud, left out in the rain, or stored without protection from moisture, their lifespan may be shorter due to rot. Composite mats can last much longer because they never rot.
3. How should I store crane mats between jobs?
First of all, clean the mats thoroughly before storing them. Not only does cleaning them keep the mats from rotting, but it also prevents the transfer of insects and microorganisms from one job site to the next.
Effective cleaning methods include brushing, sweeping, and pressure washing. In addition, it’s very important to protect wooden crane mats from rain and moisture. Ideally, they should be stored under a roof and stacked so there is plenty of airflow around them. They should never be wrapped in plastic.
4. How many crane mats do I need?
This question will depend on your job site and how many mats you want to buy. If you need to cover an area that will get fairly constant back-and-forth traffic, it probably makes sense to buy enough mats to cover the full area. However, for jobs where mats are only needed at certain times and in certain locations, it may be worth the effort to buy fewer mats and move them from one place to another.
5. Which is the best type of crane mat, composite or wood?
Both types of mats are strong enough to provide a stable surface for heavy construction equipment. Both can be used on a variety of surfaces, including mud, wetlands, sand, and even ice. Hardwood mats are especially durable and hold up well under pressure, while composite mats are somewhat more likely to be damaged by the wheels or tracks of a crane or bulldozer.
The main advantage of composite mats, on the other hand, is that they never rot. Another advantage is their relatively light weight, which makes it easier to move them around on a construction site.
The right crane mats will protect your equipment, the terrain, and the structure you’re building. Whether you choose timber or composite mats, make sure the mats you choose are the right thickness to withstand the weight of the equipment you’ll be using.