Ground Cover Options:
Mats vs. Plywood

Cost-Effective and Versatile, Mats Have a lot to Offer

Contractors and construction workers have been using plywood as protective ground cover on jobsites for decades. While plywood is great and serves its purpose, there is a better, more cost-effective alternative that isn’t as widely known – ground protection mats.

Contractors and construction workers have been using plywood as protective ground cover on jobsites for decades. While plywood is great and serves its purpose, there is a better, more cost-effective alternative that isn’t as widely known – ground protection mats.

Typically if you’re a homeowner and just need protection for a day or two, heading to your local hardware store and purchasing a few sheets of plywood will get the job done. However, if you have a more extensive project or if you frequently need high-quality ground covering as part of your job, ground protection mats are an effective and cost-saving solution.

Why Use Mats?

Mats can easily handle heavy machinery while protecting the grass underneath and keeping machinery and vehicles from getting stuck. Plywood cracks and splinters under heavier vehicle loads, and doesn’t offer much tire traction. If it rains over the course of your project, plywood becomes slippery and waterlogged, making it difficult to position and work on. Although less expensive in the short term, plywood rots and will need to be replaced often, increasing costs over time. Ground protection mats don’t need to be replaced, have high-traction surfaces, and most come with a limited lifetime warranty.

What Types of Ground Protection Mats are Available?

There are a number of brands, styles, and sizes available, ranging from specialty clear mats that will not burn the grass underneath, to traditional black mats with excellent traction surfaces. Discount Ramps offers multiple choices, including:

AlturnaMats and VersaMats

Available in black or clear, AlturnaMats and VersaMats promise virtually indestructible ground protection. AlturnaMats feature diamond plate traction and large 240,000-lb (120 ton) load capacities. VersaMats have a flat traction surface on one side for pedestrian use, and durable diamond tread on the opposite side for machinery. Both mat types create safe, portable roadways and working platforms that effectively protect the ground underneath. If you’re working on grass, the clear VersaMat or AlturnaMat, allows sunlight to flow through without burning the grass underneath, further protecting the grass from damage.

Green TrakMat

Available in black or clear, AlturnaMats and VersaMats promise virtually indestructible ground protection. AlturnaMats feature diamond plate traction and large 240,000-lb (120 ton) load capacities. VersaMats have a flat traction surface on one side for pedestrian use, and durable diamond tread on the opposite side for machinery. Both mat types create safe, portable roadways and working platforms that effectively protect the ground underneath. If you’re working on grass, the clear VersaMat or AlturnaMat, allows sunlight to flow through without burning the grass underneath, further protecting the grass from damage.

LibertyMat

Similar to the Green TrakMat, LibertyMats also have grip holes for easy portability and an 80-ton weight capacity. However, because the LibertyMat is black, if left on grass for an extended period of time it can kill the grass underneath by absorbing harmful UV rays.

When Would I Need Plywood?

Ground protection mats are a durable, economical choice for contractors, construction workers, and event planners who require extensive or frequent ground protection. However, if you’re a homeowner and just need to cover a small area of your lawn for a short project, plywood may be the better and more economical option. Just keep in mind, if left in an area for more than a day or two, you run the risk of killing the grass underneath.

Ground protection mats are an excellent, affordable option for companies and events that require a temporary roadway, or need to protect a client’s lawn during an extended project. Instead going for the traditional plywood, choose the mat option that works best for you for a durable, low-cost solution that won’t rot, warp or become slippery during wet and icy weather.

Find more How-to Guides and Articles