The winter months bring cold, wet weather inclusive of harsh contaminants like rain, snow, and ice. And, with crude wintery weather comes hazardous conditions like slippery sidewalks and entryways.
The good news is, you can alleviate the associated hazards and costs with an entryway matting system.
Entry mats are the first line of defense for your facility’s floors. Entrance mats don’t just help prevent trips and slips when the weather brings rain, snow, and ice, they help to keep your facility’s floors clean and protected against any potential damage.
90% of soils (including ice melt and salt) in any given building are “tracked in” from outside, but with a good matting program, you can stop 85-90% of this soil from entering your facility.
There are several different industrial mats available with numerous features.
Selecting the right entryway matting will be critical to the safety and protection of your facility, especially in the winter.
Below, we’ll review which type of mats are best for entryways, as well as what features they should have for maximum floor protection and occupant safety in the winter.
Commercial Floor Mats: Types of Entry Mats
An entryway matting system typically consists of different mat types: scraper mats and wiper mats.
Scraper mats are often the first part of an entryway matting program.
These heavy-duty mats are mainly for outdoor use but can be used inside too. When used indoors, we commonly see these mats in vestibules or air gaps.
Scraper mats are engineered to remove and trap large particulates and moisture such as ice melt, rock, metal chips, dirt, and other large debris.
They are not typically affected by grease, oil, or harsh contaminants making them great for protection in the winter.
Wiper mats are typically used in conjunction with scraper mats. They are placed inside doorways.
Commonly made from tough fabrics such as olefin and microfiber, these industrial mats remove finer dust, grit, dirt, and moisture that scraper mats missed.
Typically equipped with a rubber backing, these mats trap remaining soils to prevent them from entering and spreading in your facility.
How to Select the Best Commercial Entry Mats
While we narrowed down the types of commercial mats you should be using to protect your entryways, there are numerous features to consider. Different manufacturers offer a variety of features to accommodate the different seasons and other needs.
In the winter, some of these features, like chemical resistance and water dam borders are more important than say color. Below, we discuss the most important considerations when selecting entrance mats for maximum protection in the winter.
Fabric or Material Type
As you can imagine, the surface material of a floor mat greatly impacts its effectiveness as well as life span and usefulness.
Winter brings some of the wettest months. You’ll want a fabric that not only traps liquid but dries quickly and is not conducive to mold, mildew, or rot.
Polypropylene fabric dries quickly and if properly taken care of should not rot or fade. Vinyl is also a great option.
Additionally, ice melt compounds are very sharp and can easily cut fibers. For increased mat life, ensure entry mats have strong, thick fibers to avoid shedding.
The pattern of the fabric matters too. When dealing with harsh contaminants, you’ll want to stop as much as possible at the door.
Ridged matting is more effective than flat matting.
Look for entry matting with raised square, waffle, herringbone, or basketweave patterns.
The raised pattern traps more dirt and water by scraping the occupant’s shoes each step.
Looped matting can also be effective, and it hides dirt more efficiently because of the larger spaces.
Like we mentioned earlier, ice melt compounds are very harsh. Not only can solid ice melt compounds scratch floors and cut carpet fibers, but the chemicals can also degrade and stain mat fibers.
Choose matting that is not susceptible to degradation or stains.
Vinyl or rubber mats typically provide the greatest resistance to grease, oils, abrasive soils, and other liquids.
The underside of a floor mat is often overlooked, however, it greatly impacts performance.
The backing of a mat determines if the mat traps contaminants or lets particles flow through. It also helps secure the mat to the ground to reduce mat movement.
Preventing mat movement on carpeted and hard floors will decrease the risk of slips, trips and falls.
With the increased traction, there will also be less of a chance of water and soils getting under the mat, which is essential during the winter when water and ice melt compounds are common.
Floor mats can have latex, vinyl, or rubber backing to help keep the mat firmly in place.
For enhanced traction control, some matting has reinforced nubs just below the mat surface to better grip the floor.
Water Dam Border
Similar to the backing of the mat, the border of a commercial mat aids in floor protection.
Entry mats can be constructed with rubber borders, often referred to as water dam borders.
These are designed to contain the liquids and soils that are removed from people’s shoes, helping to keep floors dry and protected.
Given that these mats are containing liquids and soils, they need to be maintained regularly.
Bordered Mats Vs Unbordered Mats
Bordered mats have a limit to the amount of dirt that they can hold. Mats that are too full are not effective at removing dirt from guest’s shoes and allow for the soil to be tracked beyond the entrance of your facility.
Keep in mind, that if the mat is going outside of your building, you will likely not want the mat to be backed. Unbacked mats allow for flow-through, meaning they allow contaminants to fall or drain through the bottom of the mat to the ground. Unbacked mats decrease required mat maintenance while still stripping the occupant’s shoes of contaminants.
During the winter, when the risk of slips and falls is at its peak, finding ways to protect your occupants is vital.
You’ll also want to stop the winter elements from entering your facility.
A comprehensive entryway floor mat system significantly reduces costs to your facility by keeping dirt out, protecting your occupants, and preserving your flooring investment.
For maximum protection, commercial matting should be placed at all entrances of your building. In many cases, occupants and guests do not enter through one single entrance. Placing mats at all entrances lowers the risk of dirt and other contaminants being tracked inside.
Without the proper matting system, your guests can track abrasive soils or liquids inside of your facility causing damage, increasing the likelihood of slip & fall accidents, and increasing your cleaning expenses.
Imperial Dade locations have a wide selection of commercial floor mats to help protect your building occupants from slips and falls during the winter.
If you’re located in the United States or Canada, contact a specialist today to help you decide on the right floor mats for your facility.
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