Composite Mats for Jobsite Access: A Safer, More Sustainable Choice

Mats made from durable composite materials are a sustainable alternative for strong, stable temporary roads on jobsites, and they save time and money.

Project timetables are tight, so contractors need a good way to access the construction area, complete their work, and clean up and clear out quickly. Composite matting systems make it easier to achieve all three goals while protecting people, equipment and the environment.

Composite mats: The safety advantage

Composite matting is an obvious choice for creating access roads and walkways, and is especially important to help keep people safe on your jobsite.

Using stones or plywood for jobsite access leaves the door open for injuries and equipment damage. Stones can be tripping hazards, leading to falls and possibly broken bones and sprained muscles. The stones may shift due to frosts or heavy rains, causing equipment to overturn when it hits unstable sections or depressions.

Plywood boards can absorb moisture, warp, rot and/or start sinking into the ground, especially after heavy rains. This bogs down people, equipment and the project. Plywood also cracks and splinters, putting workers at risk for cuts and splinters.

Composite mats are made from inert materials, so there are no worries about moisture absorption. When locked together, they form a consistently solid, completely flat surface. It feels like you’re walking on brand new concrete. Equipment moves more easily across this surface. Built-in slip-resistant treads create better traction for vehicles and safer walking conditions.

Better outcomes for the environment

Composite MattingComposite mats also do a better job of protecting the environment.

Plywood access roads quickly start to break down. As the wood chips and frays, pieces become embedded in the ground. If the plywood has absorbed any spilled chemicals, fuels or oils, they get transferred into the soil. Composite mats, on the other hand, prevent chemical contaminants from leaching into the ground. That makes cleanup easier.

As a natural material, plywood is subject to insect infestation and mold growth. If you plan to salvage plywood mats for reuse on another site, you risk moving those unwanted elements to a new location. Composite matting poses no such risks. When you’re finished with the mats, you can clean them off with soap and water, and they’re ready for the next use.

Another environmental advantage: Composite mats are lighter than plywood mats, so more of them can fit on each truckload, which means less fuel usage and fewer CO2 emissions.

Finally, plywood mats rarely last a year under heavy equipment loads, and CO2-absorbing trees must be cut down to make new ones. Composite mats, by contrast, conserve resources. Made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), they perform well for years and can be recycled into new products at the end of their useful life.

A choice that saves time and money

Fast access to a jobsite lets you complete the project sooner. Composite mats are easy to order from United Rentals and easy to put down, so you can quickly move equipment and people into position.

You’ll save at project completion as well. With owners demanding thorough site cleanups, contractors must now pay for labor-intensive removal of any plywood remnants in the ground, plus the cost of disposing of any boards that can’t be reused. That increases expenses and prevents you from moving equipment and personnel to the next project. Composite mats can be speedily removed when they’re no longer needed. (When you rent them from United Rentals, a quick call will get them on trucks and out of your way.) There’s nothing left behind, so your crews are ready for new work.

A mat size for every jobsite need

Composite mats provide an effective solution to a variety of jobsite challenges. Use them for access roads for heavy equipment, pedestrian walkways and material staging areas. They can also be used to create solid platforms for mobile offices and trailers.

United Rentals offers a range of composite mat sizes and weights, which can be configured to each jobsite’s requirements.

  • Mega Deck® HD composite mats are ideal for moving heavy equipment through your jobsite. Measuring 7.5 feet long, 14 feet wide and 4 inches thick, they can handle loads up to 600 psi. A heavy-duty cam locking system and nesting flange overlaps ensure a strong, stable access path or work surface.
  • Signa Road® medium-duty composite mats measure 6.8 feet by 10 feet and 2.5 inches thick. They are designed for loads up to 400 psi. Like the Mega Deck mats, they feature a cam lock connection system and overlapping flanges that provide additional strength and rigidity.
  • Duratek® lightweight composite mats weigh just 87 pounds per mat. They are easy for two people to handle at just 4 feet by 8 feet and ½-inch thick. They can support 200 psi, making them a good choice for lighter-weight vehicles and construction equipment and for pedestrian traffic.

When you're ready to build your next temporary access road, walkway, staging area or platform, remember the efficiency and environmental benefits that composite mats offer.

Call us at 833-462-3799, visit your local branch or contact the Trench Safety team to discuss composite matting for your next project.

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