Lake Bottom Blanket® versus LakeMat® and Seaweed Mat Systems
Light shading products to control weed growth in your lake or pond are great alternatives to chemicals or harvesting. They are proven to be very effective, and all provide excellent pinpoint accuracy when used to stop infestations of obnoxious weeds. One benefit that separates this type of weed control from all others is immediate satisfaction. Once installed, the area can be used for most water activities right away.
In the development stages of this product, we found that municipalities didn’t want this style of weed control to be a permanent fixture. They also indicated that being able to see the material in the water could be helpful in sensitive areas. Seasonal use with removal at seasons end was recommended. In many states a permit is needed. We took all the information available and incorporated it into the design of our product.
There are several products on the market that have been in business for over 10 years and we want to give a detailed account of their differences.
LakeMat® uses an aluminumized steel frame that needs to be assembled on-site. This frame design takes on the burden of stretching the material within it. Aluminized steel is carbon steel that has been coated with an aluminum-silicon alloy through a process called hot-dipping. The downside is if dragged over rocks or damaged in any way, the underlying material (steel) will begin to rust and corrode. Over time it could compromise the strength of the frame. This design limits the overall size each mat can be. The largest LakeMat is (12’ x 24’) 288 sq. ft. and weighs about 41 lbs.
Seaweed Mat Systems uses a pre-assembled lateral weighting system. The weighting is encased in PVC and is very heavy. The PVC is used to trap the metal weighting material. It’s a very well-made system. Their largest Mat (12.6’ x 20.4’) 255 sq. ft. and weighs in at around 70 lbs. They currently only sell through distributors because they can’t be shipped. This design also infringes on our patent.
Lake Bottom Blanket’s® design uses a patented lateral weighting system. Weight tubes are sewn into the fabric at 5-foot intervals. 3/8” rebar is installed on-site (purchased locally). With our design, the weighting has no structural duties like in the frame design; it is only for holding the material to the lake bottom. We determined years ago that selling weighting to our customers was not an economical endeavor. So, the design allows for locally purchased rebar weighting 3/8” x 10 feet to be installed at the water’s edge. This allows us to ship the product to the customer more economically. It also allows us to have sizes that can go up to 80 feet long by 10.75 feet wide. Our LBB30 is (10.75’ x 30’) 322 sq ft. The weight is about 30 lbs. using 3/8” rebar.
We are the only system that allows for different weighting depending on the need. If the area you are looking to control has high water movement. 1/2” rebar can be installed instead. This doubles the weight. Or it can be used just on the end weight pockets.
LakeMat® uses a black heavy non-woven textile material like a mesh that is strong and heavier than water. It blocks 98% of the sunlight, but because this material will clog, they cut slits in it to allow gases of decomposition to escape. This mesh, if left in water too long, does allow for plant life to grow through it. This can make cleaning and removal more difficult. The material is also slippery in shallow water.
Seaweed Mat Systems use a black woven plastic material, which is strong and durable but over time the material can clog and allow growth over time, making it harder to clean once removed from the water. It also makes it very heavy to remove They can be walked on but are slippery in shallow water.
Lake Bottom Blanket® uses a non – porous 3-layer polyethylene that is strong and durable. We chose this material due to its specific gravity (less than water so it floats) and that it has a black and a white side. Our design specifically allows the material to move and float slightly above the lake’s benthos layer. This allows for the free transfer of water and critters under the blankets while stopping photosynthesis. The base material and the thread used for making the weight tubes have UV inhibitors. We don’t recommend walking on the material, although it can be done. We would rather not have the slipping risk in shallow water.
The idea behind the two colors is to allow the material to be seen in the water when the white side is up, and nearly invisible when the black side is up. White side up has been used in lake associations to identify weed control areas and helps with aligning side-by-side placement. This material is also easy to clean with a hose once it has been removed from the water.
We feel our approach is different: We know that every property owner has different needs and wants, so with LBB you have options. Sizes that fit your needs and weighting systems that can be customized to your project.
LakeMat® has several variations of their product line. LakeMat Pro is specifically for weed control and the extra-large size (12’x24’) 288 sq ft. sells for $449.00 with free shipping. $1.55/sq ft.
Seaweed Mat Systems has 2 models, the largest is (12’6” x 20’4”) 255 sq ft in size and sells for $410.00 but are only available through distributors in NY state. $1.60/sq. ft.
Lake Bottom Blanket® has many sizes to fit most projects. Our standard width is 10.75’ x any size up to 80 feet in length. The LBB40 is our most economical since we sell 5 times more of them in a year, but for this comparison we will use the LBB30 for pricing.
After the purchase of the LBB30, you then purchase the required rebar weights locally and save real money (cost is usually $8 – $12 per 10′ piece). Proceeding this way, the cost breaks down as follows:
10.75’ x 30′ ($224.95) + shipping (variable, let’s say $25.00) + locally procured 3/8″ rebar (7) pcs. ($56.00) = $305.95 for 322 sq. ft. delivered.
That’s only $0.95/sq. ft. and weighs 31 lbs. with 3/8″ rebar weights installed.
In conclusion, not only will you save money, but you also have options that our competitors do not have.
Lake Bottom Blanket® saves you approximately $140.00 vs. the LakeMat Pro®, and you get 34 sq. ft. more area controlled.
The rebar can be purchased at any building or masonry supply store. Do a quick search on the web in your area and you will find them. We know that many Lowes Home Improvement stores carry 3/8” rebar, but you will make out better at a local supply store. Costs vary; we have found here in NJ that one can get 20’ lengths of 3/8″ rebar for around $6.00 and they will cut it for $1.00 each. So, on average the cost is about $3.50 per 10’ long piece of 3/8″ rebar; a 40’ long LBB takes 9 lengths of rebar for a total cost of $31.50 plus sales tax.
Options: You also have options with the Lake Bottom Blanket® because you can choose your weights depending on your application. You can install 1/2″ rebar in the end weight tubes for extra weight in active water situations. You can also fill the weight tubes with sand, which allows for use in areas that need flexibility (i.e., irrigation ditches). You can have the blanket installed white side up so it can be seen, or black side up so that it is not readily visible.
The LBB is supplied with everything one would need to deploy including handles, deployment lines, caution buoy, instructional DVD or QR code for installation videos, and rebar rubber endcaps.