Which size bog mat should I use?

Choosing the right size bog mat doesn’t have to be too difficult. Often you can be guided by the job you are working on, including the ground conditions, the type of traffic – pedestrian, vehicle or heavy plant – and the amount of weight you need to spread over a larger area.

Timber mats serve a range of different purposes. On soft ground, they can be a way to create a stable platform and to distribute pressure more evenly to prevent machinery from sinking.

Alternatively, they can be used as a demarcation system to show the route that should be taken along temporary walkways and temporary access roads. This can help you to choose the best size bog mats for the job.

What size are bog mats?

Bog mats normally come one metre wide, and either three or five metres long. Regardless of thickness, most of the timber mats for sale and hire on our website are either 1m x 3m or 1m x 5m.

You can easily place multiple mats alongside each other to cover a larger area, for example to create a staging area for materials, a parking zone for vehicles, or a lifting platform for cranes.

Alternatively, place bog mats end to end for a long, narrow line that can work well as a temporary walkway for pedestrians, especially where space is at a premium and you don’t want a wide walkway.

How thick are bog mats?

In terms of thickness, there are several options to choose from:

· 70mm bog mats for loads up to 35 tonnes

· 100mm bog mats for loads up to 45 tonnes

· 150mm bog mats for loads up to 60 tonnes

For even heavier loads, we can supply 200mm and 250mm timber mats, in sizes of 1m x 6m. These are some of our most durable timber mats for heavy-duty operations, and for use on very soft ground such as in tidal areas.

Where are temporary roads required?

Bog mats are a good way to create temporary roads and temporary walkways wherever they are needed. They are easy to transport, easy to place in position, and connect together to create a stable roadway with no breaks in it.

In practice, there are very few limits on where temporary roads can be used. Bog mats are versatile and hard-wearing, and can be used in environments where other temporary road mats are not suitable.

For example, timber mats can be used in tidal zones and marshland, and can be stacked in an H-shape to raise the roadway up above the water level if required.

Some other examples of where temporary roadways are required include:

  • To distribute pressure more evenly across soft or waterlogged ground
  • To bridge small gaps, gulleys or underground voids along a route
  • To create a temporary access road to a work site with no vehicle access

The last of those points is very broad and gives an idea of how versatile temporary road mats can be, to create a vehicular route on to all kinds of active work sites.

Just some examples of this are:

  • Grassy fields at risk of churning into mud slicks
  • Wetlands, marshy ground and coastal sites
  • Sites that are ordinarily inaccessible e.g. drained canals

Temporary roadways can also be laid for convenience. For example, if you are hosting an event such as a festival on farmland or similar, a temporary roadway can signal the route for vehicles to take, using ground protection mats to preserve the grass beneath.

Equally on a construction site, a temporary roadway can be used to protect the permanent roadway beneath, so there is no damage to rectify due to rugged tyres and tracks driving over the road surface while the work is carried out.

So temporary roads serve several different purposes:

  • Access
  • Convenience
  • Protection

You can of course create a separate temporary pedestrian walkway to keep people away from vehicle routes, which further enhances safety on sites with public access.

To find out more about our temporary road mats for hire and for sale, please contact Timbermat today and we can help you decide what you need for your future projects.

Preparing your site for timber mats: what you should do beforehand

Timber mats are an easy way to put in place ground protection, temporary roadways, and lifting platforms that combine crane mats with outrigger pads.

Generally speaking, it’s fast and easy to lay timber mats on-site, but there are still some best practice tips and tricks to keep in mind when preparing to lay bog mats and keep your construction site safe.

Here are five things to remember when getting ready to lay timber mats on a construction site or other location.

1. Access

If you plan to build a stable working platform in the middle of a wetland area or tidal zone, remember you will need to get your bog mats there in the first place.

Make sure you have a clear access route in mind – you could even hire extra bog mats to create a temporary roadway so that the rest of your timber mats can be delivered to the right location.

2. Quantity and type

It should go without saying that you need to know how many bog mats you need and what type of timber mats to use, but it’s worth putting some extra thought into this.

For example, the quantity you need might depend on which way around you lay your mats – so check whether they should be laid end-to-end or with their longest edges adjacent, as this will affect the length of roadway or size of platform you can create.

3. Duration and durability

An extra factor when choosing the type of timber mats you need is their durability and how long you want to leave them in place.

Choose a higher durability of tropical hardwood mat for challenging environments, such as tidal areas and completely waterlogged wetlands.

4. Lifting machinery

Check if your chosen timber mats have lifting points for a forklift truck or equivalent lifting tool, such as a hand-pumped trolley jack.

Remember if you plan to use lifting equipment to move your bog mats into place, you’ll need a safe working platform for that equipment, which may mean a little hand-lifting to put the first ground protection mats down and create the initial dry access route.

5. Fixtures and fittings

Finally, be aware of any additional bolts or brackets that you can use to secure adjacent mats to one another, so you’re ready to add them as you go along.

This can be especially important in tidal zones, where the water currents can shift mats out of position, so keep them safe and secure using any appropriate method for a single solid platform throughout your job.

At-Risk UK Employees

At Timbermat, we work hard to develop temporary access solutions which help workers navigate even the most unstable of sites as safely as possible. We understand all jobs carry an element of danger, but by understanding the risks involved and which sectors are most likely to see worker injury, everyone can act to mitigate these risks.

We have analysed Government data from 2015 to today to establish exactly where workplace injuries occur and which areas are most at-risk.

The main thing we have discovered is the fact that construction workers continue to be the most likely to suffer fatal injuries at work. While making up around 7% of the UK’s total workforce, construction accounts for 28% of the UK’s fatal accidents at work, with 176 construction workers dying as a result of a workplace accident since 2015. The most of any sector.

Alarmingly, the agricultural sector has seen almost 20% of the UK’s fatal accidents over the last five years despite only making up 1.1% of the total UK workforce, identifying an urgent need to continue acting to identify and mitigate risks in agriculture.

Despite this, agriculture and construction had a much lower injury rate per 100,000 employees than several other sectors. You’re most at risk of suffering a non-fatal injury at work in the manufacturing industry, where we’ve seen an average of 1,870 injuries per 100,000 workers over the last five years. The only other sector to see over 1,000 was the water/waste management sector, with 1,023 per 100,000 – highlighting just how much more common it is to be injured when working in manufacturing than anywhere else.

The infographic below illustrates the key findings from our analysis – you can use the embed code at the bottom of the page to easily embed it on your website.

infographic showing injuries and deaths at work 2015-2020

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Types of hardwood Timbermat uses for bog mats and where they are best used

If you’ve ever wondered what types of hardwood Timbermat use in our ground protection mats, this article is for you. We’ll take a look at our European hardwood and tropical hardwood bog mats, the differences between the types of timber used, and where the mats are best suited for.

European Hardwood

European hardwood timber mats are made of oak or beech, and are a little less durable than their tropical hardwood counterparts.

That doesn’t mean they’re less valuable though. Beechwood timber mats can last up to five years of normal use, and have excellent eco credentials as the wood is relatively locally sourced, making them a great choice for environmentally friendly projects like nature reserves and green building construction.

Oak is much more durable, coming under Class 2 or an expected usable life span of 15 to 25 years. Oak timber mats are a good option for temporary roadways and walkways. They have high crushing strength and can withstand not only pedestrian footfall, but also normal vehicle traffic like delivery trucks and small lifting vehicles.

Tropical Hardwood

Tropical hardwood bog mats are rightly respected for their unbeatable durability and longevity.

At Timbermat we use two tropical hardwood species: Dabema and Ekki. Dabema bog mats are also Class 2, so they should match the 15-25 year life span of our oak timber mats. They’re sometimes referred to as Dahoma or simply as African Teak, and are versatile for use in general ground protection roles, temporary roadways and even piling rig platforms.

Ekki timber mats offer probably the best durability in the world, a Class 1 product lasting 50 years or more if handled reasonably well. Ekki bog mats are especially well suited to wet environments, and they can cope with wetlands, nature reserves and even tidal areas without significantly reducing the usable life span of the timber.

Which type of timber mats should I choose?

This rough guide should have provided you with a rule of thumb for some common applications, and the final decision is often based on durability. We have European hardwood mats and tropical hardwood mats available to buy or to hire.

If you’re still not sure what you need, please contact us – we’ll be happy to help you decide on the best type of timber mats for the job.

How has Coronavirus impacted the bog mats market?

The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown hit the UK economy hard, especially those sectors – like construction – that were unable to work from home.

Although some building sites remained open, workers were told to stay more than two metres apart wherever possible, and to make other inconvenient changes to working practices – such as using ladders instead of enclosed lifts to reach upper storeys.

Together with the sites that were unable to operate at all, this has had a chilling effect on the bog mats market in 2020, which has been replicated in many affected countries around the world.

In a report titled Global Bog Mats Market Insights, Forecast to 2026, analysts at QYResearch explain the various roles of bog mats in construction, and how the sector has taken a threefold hit from COVID-19.

“Bog mats are an ideal ground protection solution for creating long-term temporary access roads on to construction sites, and limit the impact on the environment,” the report explains.

“COVID-19 can affect the global economy in three main ways: by directly affecting production and demand; by creating supply chain and market disruption; and by its financial impact on firms and financial markets.”

The financial impact has already been seen with a steep dip in the UK economy during the summer months; however, there is still significant hope that it will bounce back much more rapidly than from a conventional recession such as that of 2008.

With many sectors starting to open back up, albeit with new ‘one metre plus’ social distancing measures in place, demand is starting to return for bog mats and other supplies used across the construction industry and other similar disciplines.

At Timbermat we continue to supply bog mats for sale if you want to secure a supply of your own ground protection mats for upcoming projects, as well as bog mats for hire if you have only a one-off or short-term need.

With activity returning to the construction sector, we will service demand from all our customers to the best of our ability – helping to make sure that the UK economy as a whole can bounce back quickly and strongly from the effects of lockdown.

When is the best time to hire or buy bog mats?

At Timbermat we have bog mats to buy and hire – so how do you know whether to buy or rent bog mats, and when to do so?

First of all, we can answer the question of when to buy or hire timber mats. If you’re looking to hire, just get in touch as soon as possible, and we can make sure we have the right type and quantity ready for when you need them.

If a project is still in the pipeline, that’s fine. It’s better to let us know in advance if possible, so we can stock up or set some of our timber mats to one side as your expected start date approaches.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about buying bog mats of your own, again there’s no reason to delay. Timber mats have little to no impact on insurance and because they’re made of wood, there’s no great material value, so they are not a security concern.

Customers who buy bog mats from Timbermat usually have an ongoing need for ground protection mats, temporary roadways and lifting platforms, so there’s really no time like the present to stock up.

Should I buy or hire bog mats?

Our tropical hardwood mats are durable and can offer years of repeated use with very little care required – just store them out of the elements when you can and discard any mats if the timbers become broken or badly damaged.

Because they’re easy to store and look after, with no great appeal to thieves, many of our customers choose to buy bog mats so you know you will have them at hand each time you need them.

However, we also know there are several good reasons why you might want to hire bog mats for a single project:

  • No ongoing need for large quantities of timber mats.
  • Nowhere to store them, or no desire to do so.
  • Manage costs on a per-project basis.

For all of these reasons, we try to always have a good supply of tropical hardwood mats available, so you can get the number and type you need, when you need them. Just call Timbermat if you’d like to enquire about availability for an upcoming job.

Creative uses for bog mats

Bog mats are extremely versatile for use on all kinds of construction sites, festival fields, crane lifting platforms and so on, but the possibilities don’t end there.

Timber mats can find a lease of life in some very unusual places – here are just a few examples…

1. A base for buildings

Bog mats provide a stable base for crane lifting operations, parking vehicles on muddy fields and so on, but they can also work well as a base for buildings.

Whether that’s a cabin to serve as your site office, or something semi-permanent like a quick and easy timber base for a gazebo, all of the usual benefits of timber mats apply.

Just drop them into place, fasten them together, and you’ve got an instant hard-wearing floor that you can build all kinds of temporary to semi-permanent structures on top of.

2. Bog-dodging boardwalks

We’ve looked in the past at ways to build up the level of timber mats to create a temporary roadway above the level of boggy or marshy ground.

But why not leave them in situ as a semi-permanent pathway for future access? We have timber mats for sale so you don’t need to return them.

Durable timber mats can survive a good length of time even when exposed to the elements, and for light foot traffic this can be more budget-friendly than building a permanent boardwalk or footbridge.

3. Temporary tracks

Finally, why not turn a temporary roadway into a more permanent track layout for driving experiences?

Nobody’s suggesting you build a Formula One track out of bog mats, but there are plenty of other vehicles where a timber mat track could work perfectly well.

For example, if you want to offer tractor or digger driving experiences on your farm, a simple course laid out using timber mats could be just the thing to offer some stability and ground protection.

In this way you can help to improve safety for your customers, while also ensuring the pressure of the vehicles is distributed more evenly, leaving less clean-up if and when you decide to change the shape of the track, or remove it completely simply by lifting the mats.


Laying temporary building foundations using bog mats

Bog mats are often used to create a solid working surface on remote construction sites or where the ground is particularly prone to becoming muddy or churned up by rugged tyres and heavy footfall.

But they can actually also serve as temporary building foundations, especially for buildings that will be removed when work on the site is completed.

The same portability and versatility that makes bog mats so good for working platforms, temporary access roads and crane lifting platforms is what also makes them an excellent choice to place a cabin or even a portable bathroom on.

Some of the benefits of doing this include:

  • Ability to quickly define an area for temporary buildings to be placed on top of.
  • Create a clean and clear floor space on wet or muddy sites.
  • Create a flat, level floor on sites with uneven ground.
  • Protect the ground surface below so less remedial work is required.
  • Connect with temporary access roads for joined-up access across the site.

Simply join together the number of bog mats you need and you can create different sizes of temporary building platform – allowing you to create large staging areas for multiple cabins, or individual building stands connected by temporary roadways or pathways.


Why use timber mats as temporary building supports?

All of the usual benefits of timber mats are also beneficial when using them as temporary building supports.

Timber mats have low inherent value, so they’re relatively low cost compared with other ways to build temporary building foundations.

They sit on top of the ground surface and spread the pressure over a larger area, allowing even fairly large buildings to be constructed without piling or excavation work required.

Bog mats create a consistent surface by joining closely together, but retain flexibility so the ground below does not need to be dead level before they are laid.

And they are easy to re-position, so if you need your buildings to move to different areas of the site at different stages throughout the project, this can be achieved with a minimum of fuss – just use a forklift to pick up and relocate the timber mats to wherever they are needed.


If you require bog mats for temporary building support or just regular use contact us today. We sell or hire bog mats depending on whats right for the situation. We’d be happy to advise you.


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