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Get smart with entrance matting

03 September 2018

Chris Stanley, sales director of matting manufacturer COBA Europe, explains why it’s important to give entrance matting special consideration

The use of entrance mats is integral to most cleaning and floorcare regimes. The concept of containing dirt and moisture at the entrance of a building makes complete sense, as anyone with responsibility for cleaning or facilities management will know. 

Entrance mats play a critical role for three key reasons. They help keep floors safer through reducing the risk of slips, they support hygiene by controlling contaminants being tracked into a building, and they help to protect and preserve the lifespan of interior floor coverings. In doing so, they can help to reduce cleaning time and costs.  

Given their importance, it is essential to select the right entrance mat for a specific environment. Different matting materials have different characteristics: some will wipe moisture better than others, some will dry quicker than others, some will be more resilient to crushing and staining, while others may have superior dirt scraping properties. Surface designs will also influence how effective a mat is in scraping, removing and containing dirt and moisture. 

Materials make a difference

Nylon, for example, is a quick drying material for indoor use that is also resistant to crushing and staining. While being more expensive than some other materials, its properties make it a sound investment for commercial entrances with high pedestrian footfall. Polypropylene is another common surface material known for its hard wearing, more abrasive texture so it generally has effective scraping properties. Cotton, while being very absorbent, is more suited for domestic use, while microfibre can actually ‘attract’ and contain airborne dust particles. 

Greater length = greater performance

As a matting manufacturer, one of the most common issues we encounter is that the entrance matting coverage is simply not sufficient when it comes to the walk off length. 

Very few people stop to wipe their feet on entering a building. The more people that cross the threshold, the longer this walk off area should be. We recommend a minimum of 6 footsteps in length; this equating to 3 to 4 metres for less than 80 people per hour, and up to 9 to 12 metres for high footfall areas subjected to over 2000 people per day.  

Where possible, the creation of zones is recommended incorporating a variety of mats that scrape dirt and wipe moisture to fully clean and dry shoes on entry.  The length of matting drastically impacts its ability to prevent the ingress of walked in dirt. Too short and it will only trap about 30-40% of dirt, but if long enough it can virtually prevent all dirt from footwear being walked in. 

There are many reasons to take notice of this – floors will be safer, floorcoverings will last longer and buildings will be cleaner. In respect of the latter, our shoes carry all sorts of harmful bacteria, such as e-coli. Research carried out by the University of Arizona revealed that an average shoe contained 421,000 units of bacteria – and that is just on the outside. 

A well specified, regularly cleaned and maintained entrance matting system, that is of a sufficient length, provides an effective barrier in containing contaminants tracked in by footwear and wheeled trolleys. (There are airborne contaminants to consider too.) ISSA states that on average a person brings in 0.58g of dirt per day into a building. So, if there are 1000 people coming into the building that is over half a kilo of dirt per day. 

Of course, entrance mats need to be regularly cleaned and maintained if they are to provide optimum performance and can compromise hygiene if neglected. 

Technology in matting selection

With so many options, it’s understandable that the ‘matting shopping experience’ can be perplexing and one of the reasons why our business has used digital technology to aid the process. We have developed two apps for mobile devices, Mats in Mind and Entrance Architect, to help customers make more informed choices about workplace matting and entrance matting.