What are the different types of crane equipment mats?
February 1, 2022

Also called timber mats or construction mats, crane mats are temporary platforms constructed from timber or composite materials to stabilize heavy equipment for construction. They provide a sturdy, level base and are essential for safety and efficiency.

Crane mats can be used for stationary applications or for “bridging” over unstable or sensitive areas such as swamps or wetlands, or over pipelines (often referred to as bridge mats or access mats). They keep equipment stable and safe, prevent soil erosion and ground compacting, and protect roads and sidewalks from damage from heavy machinery.

Whatever the application, mats must be affordable, usable, durable, and shippable. And depending on the type and scope of your project, the size and weight of the equipment, the composition and stability of the terrain, each of these factors weighs differently. Here is a quick guide to the different types of crane equipment mats.


Timber is the tried-and-true material for crane mats. Not only is it the most affordable, it is also the quickest to construct and assemble, and is easily customizable. Timber mats are typically constructed from oak, fir, or spruce, cut into boards, and bolted together for stability and durability. Timber is the most environmentally friendly material for matting because it decomposes and breaks down naturally.


Laminated wood mats are typically three-ply, or three layers thick, with the wood running opposite directions in each layer, creating a strong and durable crane mat. This strength and durability makes them the ideal choice for high-traffic use. Laminated wood mats are lightweight and easy to transport and move, reducing setup time and transportation cost.


Steel crane mats are primarily used for outrigger support, due to their extremely high load capacity. They offer superior load distribution and durability, but are expensive to manufacture and heavy to transport.


Composite mats are more expensive initially. However, many composite mats are more durable and offer longer lifespan than timber, making them potentially more cost-effective over the life of the mat. Fiberglass, plastic, and rubber are the most common types of composite mats.


Fiberglass mats are high-strength, lightweight, and easy to transport. They can be significantly more expensive, which isn’t reflected in the day-to-day effectiveness of the mat, but can be realized over the life of the mat, as they offer great long-term durability.


High-density polyethylene (HPDE) mats are hollow, engineered mats similar in strength and load-bearing capacity to timber, but significantly lighter.

Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) mats are solid plastic and offer the highest impact strength while being lighter than hollow HPDE mats. As such, more mats can fit on a truckload, reducing transport costs and increasing the work surface per truckload. They offer a simple connection system which is easier and faster to assemble, and doesn’t require prior ground preparation.


Rubber mats are manufactured from recycled rubber crumb from scrap tires, molded into sections. They have a rigid spine embedded inside, often made of steel, making rubber mats extremely durable and practically indestructible. Rubber mats provide greater traction than other matting materials, an effective solution for long-term use in even the harshest conditions.

Why choose Phoenix Mat?

With a decade of experience in the timber business, we take pride in manufacturing tried-and-true timber mats that are made to last. Our high-quality, durable timber and laminate mats have been used in dozens of industries across Indiana and the Midwest, including construction, shipping and exporting, energy, utilities, oil and gas exploration, pipeline construction, and many more. Our experts will help you choose the best crane equipment mat solution that balances your project needs with cost. Give us a call at 812-362-3350 or contact us for more information.

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