More than just a mat
18 January 2019
Mats are often perceived as a mundane purchase, something for people to wipe their feet on to keep the worst of the dirt at bay. But an intelligent choice and positioning of matting can do much more than that. Mats have the power to transform the appearance of entranceways, slash cleaning costs, reduce health and safety risks and help minimise bacteria in a building, explains Lee Fox, sales and marketing director for Kleen-Tex
Savvy buildings and facilities managers are increasingly recognising that a bit of time researching the best mat options can reap a number of rewards. It’s not all about cost. Investing in the right mat products can not only reduce cleaning requirements and take pressure off stretched budgets, but they can also enhance the aesthetics of a building and help prevent accidents.
Kleen-Tex believes that mats could become the next big marketing opportunity as companies realise that the floor is one of the largest unused advertising spaces. Some people resist putting their logo or promotional message on the floor because they think people are going to trample over it but in reality, everyone instinctively looks down on entering a building to check where they are going, so there is a guaranteed opportunity to view that message.
In Europe the potential to use mats for decorative or promotional purposes has long been recognised, but the UK is now beginning to catch up with this trend and Kleen-Tex is increasingly asked for help in developing bespoke products to enhance buildings. As a pan-European operator with production facilities in Poland, the company has invested heavily in equipment to enable it to offer high quality print and colour finishes on a wide range of mat technologies and believes that using mats for promotional and aesthetic purposes as well as keeping floors clean and dry will be the next major trend in the sector.
Understand the basics
Whilst there is great potential for creativity with mats, the majority of users still need to understand the basic concepts of mat use. All too often companies adopt a ‘one size fits all’, with major supermarkets selecting the same kind of mat as a corner shop. Another common mistake is to fail to change the mat regularly, allowing it to be become clogged, saturated and unfit for purpose.
But choosing the right kind of mat for the job in hand is critical to performance, longevity and effectiveness. Time spent on researching the best options for a particular building, based on footfall and overall surface area, is time well spent. Kleen-Tex advises that wherever possible, a three mat system should be used, where the first mat removes grit and heavy soiling, the second mat removes grit and moisture and the third mat takes up the residual grit and moisture. By the time people step onto the floor their shoes are practically dirt free, which brings all kinds of benefits.
Another growth area for mats is in the wellbeing sector. With sitting predicted to become the new smoking in terms of negative effects on long-term health, there is a drive to get office workers on their feet. But long periods of standing on hard surfaces can put pressure on the spine, leading to all kinds of joint and back pain. Kleen-Tex predicts that anti-fatigue mats, which have specially cushioned material to cushion footfall, are likely to become as popular a purchase as a sit-stand desk.
With Christmas now a distant memory, many people will be launching into a new fitness regime to help work off the festive excesses, with gyms and leisure centres facing an influx of new customers. Damp, humid conditions are breeding grounds for bacteria, so judicious use of non-slip anti-bacterial and anti-fungal mats to protect bare feet from dirt and slips makes sense. Many of these mats are available as modular systems, which work well from both an aesthetic and practical perspective.