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Top 5 Uses for Ground Protection Mats

Ground Protection Mats Do More Than Defend Grass from Heavy Machinery


By Kif Richmann

Ground protection mats help maintain lawns, landscaping and even concrete surfaces. Able to support the heaviest equipment, these track mats and other forms of outdoor flooring surfaces can be used by landscaping contractors, homeowners and event organizers.

So what are the best uses for ground protection mats? There are many, but these are the top five uses...

Top 5 Uses for Ground Protection Mats

1. Grass Protection

We all love having a lush lawn. Even in dry western states, we go to great lengths to create a lush, deep-green landscape. However, if we need to do some landscaping, the lawn can become severely damaged, especially when heavy equipment such as skid loaders are used.

Grass is especially vulnerable when wet. After it rains, the dirt underneath becomes soft mud; machinery that simply would otherwise leave a small track will now rip out the grass and leave a muddy scar in the lawn. Grass needs to be protected from harm, and ground protection mats are made to fit this need.

Top option for protecting grass: Ground Protection Mats 4x8 ft Clear
With a cleated design on the surface, these ground protection mats provide excellent traction for heavy machinery and foot traffic. However, they have a unique feature for protecting grass; they are clear. They allow light to reach the grass underneath, helping the plants to maintain better health. This is especially important if you are building a temporary roadway that will be in place for more than a couple days. While grass will die if the mats are left indefinitely, the clear material gives longer protection for lawns.

2. Sidewalk/Driveway Protection

Driveways are made for large vehicles, right? Sidewalks are built for heavy foot traffic, so why would they need protection? Although these surfaces are much stronger than a soft, grassy lawn, concrete can become damaged from constant wear and tear, especially from hard, thick tread that you'll find underneath heavy equipment.

180-degree turns often result in the most damage to concrete surfaces. When a vehicle like a skid loader or backhoe turns around to face the opposite direction, it can create significant damage to the surface underneath. This can result in light scratches or if repeated enough times, structural damage to a sidewalk or driveway. Driveways that have decorative stains or surface sealers can lose their finish, resulting in poor quality over the years.

Unique option for protecting sidewalks and driveways: The GeoGrid Cellular Paving System
With strength that can withstand up to 35 tons per square feet and a flexible design that allows for expansion and contraction, the GeoGrid Cellular Paving System is perfect for covering sidewalks, driveways, and other concrete surfaces. One unit only weighs about 2.4 pounds, so moving them is simple and easy. Unlike a traditional ground protection may, this paving system does not lay on top of the surface but it is used to reinforce and stabilize areas where erosion is likely to occur.

3. Event Areas

Event areas really need two things from their ground mats. First, like all areas, they need reliable protection. Second, they need an attractive, clean finish.

Event areas come in all shapes, sizes, and surfaces. You can have indoor event centers with smooth, finished concrete flooring, or you can have outdoor areas with soft grass that has been finely maintained by a grounds crew. This means the ground protection mats need to be versatile and able to protect nearly any type of surface in nearly any setting.

But event centers also need to put on a show. They need flooring that looks attractive but doesn't take away from the event itself. A clean, professional look is preferred by event managers of all types.

Top option for protecting event areas: Liberty Ground Protection Mat
These mats give excellent traction with a Chevron textured surface and feature handholds that give users easy access and mobility. They install quickly yet support up to 80 tons of pressure. Although they are ideal for outdoor events on grassy surfaces, they can be used to protect indoor flooring or concrete.

4. Support and Traction

When things get muddy and swampy, you need a ground protection mat that can provide support and traction for your equipment. In this case, protecting the ground isn't a concern from a visual perspective, as you're not trying to protect a perfectly-manicured lawn. Instead, it's important from a utility and operations perspective.

If the ground you are using goes unprotected, it will quickly turn into a mash of unusable mud, keeping trucks and equipment from completing the task.

Top option for protecting swampy areas: TuffTrak XT Extreme
The TuffTrak XT Extreme surface protector is one of the best ground mats for heavy equipment. Using high-quality materials, these mats are 3.5 inches thick and can hold over 30,000 pounds per square foot. With a foam-filled center core and hybrid overlap connection, these mats help maintain a reliable driving space over the muddiest, swampiest conditions. These buoyant mats, avoid intake of liquids and reduce the threat of invasive species or cross contamination between work sites.

5. Temporary Roads

Many different industries and businesses will need temporary roads. If you work in any form of construction or landscaping, you have likely seen temporary roads used to move materials and equipment without damaging the landscape.

Temporary roads need to protect the ground or surface underneath, but they also need to maintain traction. If the ground protection mats slip away every hour, it can become a major hassle. In this case, a mat that protects and stays in place is essential.

Top option for temporary roads: Mud-Traks Lawn Ground Protection Mats
With traction on both the top and bottom, as well as grip holes for added stability, Mud-Traks road mats for heavy equipment are very effective for creating a temporary driving surface. Each mat weighs about 34 pounds, so while they are not light, but they are not overly heavy and can be handled by an able-bodied worker.

Using Proper Mats Saves Money, Saves Lawns
One of the biggest concerns for any landscaping company is protecting the customer's lawn. When using skid loaders, backhoes, and any other heavy machinery with wheels or tread, you need a path to drive the vehicle from the road or trailer to the job site. If you don't take efforts to protect the ground, it can result in serious damage to the lawn. And we're not just talking about dead grass, we're talking about deep, muddy divots that take months, sometimes years, to level out properly.

Landscaping is a business that requires reliable lawn protection, which usually means laying down dozens for plywood sheets. However, as Minnesota landscaper Chris Axel told Greatmats, plywood sheets present their own problems.

First of all, after a season of heavy use, plywood becomes destroyed pretty fast. The material is made for building purposes, not for protecting lawns and being driven over by heavy equipment. Plywood may be durable, but it's not intended as a ground protection mat. Because plywood breaks down under pressure, landscapers need to constantly purchase new plywood for their operations. This means more time, effort and money.

Plywood can also become saturated with water, making it heavy for workers to move. Water also allows the material to breakdown even faster. By soaking up water, plywood becomes more difficult to use and is less effective for maintaining lawns.

Even new, dry plywood is limited on how much it can support without damaging the lawn. Many landscaping contractors will use wheel barrows instead of driving their skid loaders near homes, in fear or severely damaging the landscaping. This takes time and costs business owners hours in labor, which can chew up profits from a project.

Purchasing quality ground coverings will certainly cost more up front, but in the long run it can lead to more savings and more efficient operations. It can also be better for protecting a customer's lawn, which can result in loyal customers, better references, and more business for a landscaper!

Ground Protection for Your Lawn or Job Site
Ground protection is very important for your job site. With proper ground protection mats, you'll help maintain the lawn or landscaping of your customers. If your business involves moving heavy equipment over someone's lawn, then having the right track mats is essential.

Greatmats has some of the most durable and reliable ground mats for heavy equipment. These track mats are made from high-density polyurethane material, which will not snap like plywood under heavy pressure. The material has incredible strength, and can actually support up to 60 tons! Now that is protection built to last!

Create Your Temporary Roadway
If you are moving heavy equipment over a long section of grass, you will likely need to create a temporary roadway that allows your drivers and equipment operators to reach the job site without destroying the landscaping or creating a mud pit.

Fortunately, we have a large selection of ground protection mats that make excellent temporary roadways. Our roadway mats come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and many are built with features that enhance traction and keep them from slipping. By staying in place, these tracks are perfect for creating temporary roadways for heavy equipment and machinery.

The Perfect Ground Mat for Your Job Site

Are you constantly going through plywood to protect lawns and surfaces? Break the cycle, and get a product that will last for years from Greatmats.

We have a huge selection of ground protection mats, so no matter what equipment you use, no matter what type of job you perform, there is a ground mat for your needs!

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