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A grand entrance

06 July 2017

Garry Bateman, head of technical sales and support at Forbo Flooring Systems, gives the low down on how a well-designed entrance flooring system (EFS) can reduce maintenance and cleaning costs

People do not stop to effectively wipe their feet properly before entering a building, which results in both dirt and moisture being tracked into the interior. This can have a detrimental effect on the interior floor finishes, not to mention creating a potential slip hazard on hard floors for those that use the building. This problem is particularly acute in entrances subjected to daily heavy footfall and wheel tread traffic.

This problem can be controlled by installing a well-designed and effective entrance flooring system, to ensure employees and visitors enjoy a safe transition through the entrance, as well as facility and building managers reaping many benefits.  

According to Cleaning Research International, the cost of maintenance is 86% of the total life cycle cost of commercial floor coverings. However if you install an entrance flooring system, cleaning costs can be substantially reduced. In fact, some systems on the market can remove up to 95% of dirt and moisture from the soles of shoes in just six steps – helping to reduce cleaning time by up to 65%. With savings such as this, an entrance flooring system can pay for itself within just six months of use.

Indeed, a well-designed entrance flooring system meets a variety of needs: BS 7953:1999 Part 3.1 defines an entrance flooring system in broad terms as an “installation of flooring materials designed to reduce the ingress of soil into a building or to reduce the transfer of soil from one part of a building to another”. It states that an entrance floor system is necessary in order to:

• Reduce the risk of slip injuries

• Prolong the life of the interior floor finish

• Reduce the cost of on-going maintenance.

In addition, the WELL Building Standard also recommends the use of entrance matting as an important tool to reduce pollutants entering the building.

The choices

Creating an effective entrance flooring system involves thinking about footfall – the number of people walking in and out in a given period – and the directions they take once inside the building. Rigid systems placed outside will defend against soil and the coarsest of foot-borne dirt. In addition, as long as the design of the entrance area allows, some rigid systems can be reversible, effectively doubling their lifespan. Once inside the building, textile options are designed to remove foot-borne moisture and finer dirt particles. Zoning and combining internal and external entrance flooring systems can optimise performance – depending on the entrance type and location. 

The industry recommendation is to use at least three metres of an entrance flooring system for light use areas and up to seven metres for busy entrance areas. The general rule is the more matting used, the more effective the entrance flooring system is at preventing dirt and moisture from entering a building. 

Forbo has a range of entrance flooring systems available including its textile Coral collection and engineered Nuway range. In fact, Forbo’s Nuway entrance flooring system was installed in Ireland’s Aviva Stadium, which required a practical yet impressive entrance and exit zone for its visitors. 

Forbo’s Nuway Tuftiguard EFS was suited to this application, as the rigid engineered mats are able to scrape off the worst of the soil and moisture tracked in on the soles of shoes or wheeled vehicles in heavy traffic areas.

Bill Enright, operations manager at Aviva Stadium, said: “With the amount of people entering the stadium at any one time, safety is our number one concern. Having had Nuway Tuftiguard installed, we can now be confident that the entrance areas will effectively keep the floor surfaces clean and dry.” 

Undeniably, preventing dirt and moisture from being tracked further into a building, will optimise the long-term wear and appearance of the interior floor coverings – and most importantly reduce cleaning costs. When it comes to choosing an entrance flooring system, it is recommended that you liaise with a reputable manufacturer to receive product updates, advice on the latest trends and to ensure that you adhere to building standards and regulations.