For many developers, rock riprap is the default choice for erosion control in drainage channels and along shorelines. It’s been the industry standard for decades. It doesn’t require a 6-12+ month vegetation grow-in period like Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs). On the surface, riprap seems like a solid choice—but it’s fundamentally flawed. Consider the following:
- Rock is expensive—depending on the project site’s distance to the nearest quarry, rock can be prohibitively expensive to transport. Once it’s arrived, riprap requires heavy equipment to install, generally necessitating over-excavation of soils to imbed the rock, and manual placement of geotextile filter fabric to support the rock and prevent soil loss from beneath. All of this adds to riprap’s total cost.
- Rock requires intensive long-term maintenance—Since rock can’t be safely mowed over or around, weed removal must be done manually. This is expensive and potentially dangerous for maintenance crews.
- Rock is uncomfortable and potentially hazardous for pedestrians—riprap is particularly difficult for pedestrians to walk across, often posing an injury hazard due to the uneven ground.
- Rock is harmful to the environment—rock requires heavy equipment to quarry, process, transport, and place on the jobsite, producing a significant carbon footprint. Furthermore, since one 14-Ton dump truck load of rock will only cover approximately 170 square feet, typical job sites often require many loads.
- Let’s be honest: rock is just ugly—rock riprap is unsightly and ill-suited for residential and commercial developments, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic.
TRMs Are Not Enough
As you can see, rock riprap has significant disadvantages. In the past, Turf Reinforcement Mats (TRMs) have been the main alternative to rock riprap—but TRMs provide little erosion protection until vegetation has grown in. With today’s more frequent, high intensity storms, who can afford to wait?
We’ve found a better way
InstaTurf Protects Like Rock and is Easier to Install
At InstaTurf®, we’ve developed a new solution: hybrid-turf instant armor mats. Our InstaTurf ShearForce™ products are easy to install, environmentally responsible, and aesthetically pleasing. Unlike TRMs, ShearForce requires no vegetation growth period to become highly effective, immediately providing the same soil protection as 30-inch diameter rock riprap.