Why Homeowners Should Insist on Road Mats

Why Homeowners Should Insist on Road Mats
  • Opening Intro -

    Every time contractors arrive to do work that involves your yard, there is a danger that they will leave a mess. 

    What's more, that doesn't have to happen if the contractor simply uses road mats.


What Are Road Mats

Road mats, or crane mats as they are sometimes called, are large, flat pieces of wood, pressed wood, or composite.  They can be laid out to provide safe and effective transport over grass. 

These benefit contractors by keeping their vehicles from becoming stuck. If you’ve ever seen a vehicle off-road spinning its wheels, you can imagine what it’s like if a half-ton truck rolls over your wet lawn.

All it takes is one mistake. A tree service drives onto your lawn to trim back or remove a tree. A home contractor drives a backhoe across your property to reach the place where he is building your new shed.  A home renovation crew must bring the concrete mixer onto your lawn to reach the area that is being updated. 

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In doing these things, contractors leave huge ruts in your lawn.  You’ve not only lost grass, but you’ve lost your yard’s natural contour. Now you’ve got your choice of taking time and effort to slowly recover the area or paying big money to get it put right. 

How to Talk to Contractors

Homeowners should be prepared to talk to contractors about lawn preservation before they start work. If the concern isn’t addressed before agreements are made, you may find yourself out of luck.

Your goal with any contractor or utility work team should be to ascertain what vehicles will be needed for the job and where those vehicles will be driving. Then you need to request that road mats be laid down to handle this traffic. 

It may be a one-day job or months on the job. Either way, the need is clear.

Another reason to lay down road mats is to create a safe surface where supplies can be kept at the ready.  While the mat is preventing the grass from growing, it won’t allow the earth to be roughed up .

When to Put it in Writing

If you have a regular contractor who works at your home, it would be worth getting it in writing even if it is just in an email. Keep in mind that the job, such as tree removal, is an everyday occurrence to the workers. The only way to get your voice heard is to be in touch with their company boss and make your requirements plain up front before the job starts.

In an actual contract with a renovator, then you will want to specify that road mats will be used for any and all vehicles and equipment used on your lawn. You also want to request that road mats be used on your driveway and, if applicable, sidewalks. Big trucks and equipment, especially when in use, can put too much weight on pavement. 

With this requirement in the contract, you ought to be able to proceed knowing that your turf will be protected.  If nothing else, you will have legal standing if trucks or equipment tear up your turf. It’s sad to say you need to get it in writing, but in a big job like a renovation, a handshake just won’t do.

The Evolution of Road Mats

Often contractors will argue that they can’t handle road mats. That’s because road mats originally were used only by giant contractors with big projects. They learned to use them to gain coverage over areas where their trucks or machinery would sink.  Large and wooden, these mats gave them a flat road and a strong work surface. 

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Today’s crane mats are often quite different. For one thing, they are much lighter because they can be made of composite. This means that any contractor can keep a supply of them.  Still heavy, it only takes a forklift to move them about.  Sometimes they are light enough for two people to move them by dragging. 

Truly, there really is no excuse any more for a person’s yard to be ruined by a contractor.  All it takes is road mats and a contractor willing to put them down before work is started.

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Image credit: by spartanmat.com

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