Aluminium vs Plastic Roadways

Temporary roadways can be configured to suit all manner of different events and functions. Ground protection, or road mats, are predominantly manufactured from high quality aluminium or High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Advances in technology means that plastic roadways have developed over the years to become comparable in strength and versatility to aluminium. The question of whether to choose aluminium or plastic however, depends largely on the location and situation surrounding its use.

Security and theft

On isolated sites, or where a construction site is left unattended for example at nights and weekends, there is an increased risk of theft if aluminium panels are being used. Aluminium panels are very expensive and attract a high scrap value that can be targeted by thieves; theft of these panels is made easier due to the inherent lightweight properties of aluminium. The obvious alternative in this scenario would be the use of a plastic temporary solution. Being much less likely to be targeted, there is a plastic temporary roadway to suit most applications and provide excellent ground protection. Plastic matting can be used for pedestrian as well as vehicular access and will function in much the same way as its aluminium counterparts.

Comfort and aesthetics

When the choice is between plastic and aluminium, plastic often wins the day where the panels are required for what could be described as a leisure project. In this regard, plastic temporary surfaces are often used for:

  • Lawn protection
  • Landscaping
  • Marquee events
  • Temporary staging
  • Indoor exhibition halls
  • Stadium flooring

Plastic is easily washable and can be periodically cleaned between sessions and events to keep it looking pristine. The lightweight plastic mats are speedily installed and once in place help to protect the ground and also provide a strong anti-slip surface that is moulded into the structure of the material. As with aluminium panels, plastic matting can also be used for vehicular access.

Taking the plastic or aluminium route

Heavy duty aluminium panels will usually be the first choice when it comes to the most challenging of environments with panels capable of withstanding a 250 tonne point load. Such panels are put to use in high load areas such as car parks and airfields and they are often deployed on a semi-permanent basis. Due to the aforementioned technological development in plastic, there will usually be a plastic solution to match the capabilities of aluminium. Both plastic and aluminium benefit from being lightweight, with plastic perhaps taking the lead in this respect, and both materials can take extremely heavy loads such as plant, machinery and other vehicles. Both are fully recyclable and can function across a wide range of temperatures and installed without the need for specialist tools and equipment.

Professional guidance from TPA

Going down the plastic or aluminium route will essentially be the outcome of a discussion between the customer and a qualified member of the TPA team. Projects with individual requirements will be evaluated and this will ultimately inform the decision of whether to choose plastic or aluminium.

For both aluminium and plastic temporary roadways, TPA will support you in making the best possible decision and provide outstanding technical support throughout all stages of your project.