A Guide to Choosing Entrance Matting
This guide is designed to help you make the right entrance matting choices first time. There are many options available in the world of entrance matting but we hope this will help to narrow those choices down. We are more than happy to answer any queries and arrange site surveys for the most accurate product specifications.
Things to consider
We recommend a zoning system when choosing your entrance matting. Creating three zones delivers optimum dirt barrier performance, ensuring interior floors are kept clean and hazard free.
Zone 1 – Exterior Entrance Matting
External matting needs to be fit for purpose, by being able to handle various climatic conditions, like snow, ice and heat/sunlight. The type of ‘typical’ footwear that will pass over also needs to be considered. This mat needs to have good scraper properties to remove any heavy soil from footwear before entering the building. Open construction entrance matting enables debris to fall through leaving the surface free of hazards.
Typical examples of Zone 1 matting would be;
Zone 2 – Primary Interior Entrance Matting
Interim entrance matting needs to be tough and durable to continue the job from the exterior matting, by removing the most damaging debris like soil, grit and moisture.
Examples of Zone 2 matting would be;
Zone 3 – Secondary Interior Entrance Matting
Secondary interior entrance matting is essential for final drying and dust removal. The entrance matting needs to perform well to ensure interior flooring areas are kept as clean as possible, and more importantly, kept dry to avoid creating any dangerous slippery areas.
Examples of Zone 3 matting would be;
If the budget is limited and will not allow for the zoning system, Primary Interior Entrance Matting is the best option to go for as this will get rid of the worst of the dirt and moisture.
How long should entrance matting be?
When choosing entrance matting one of the most important elements to consider is length. There needs to be enough matting to ensure optimum moisture-removal performance.
People often don’t wipe their feet on entrance matting before entering public buildings like shopping centres, so it is important that matting is long enough to allow moisture and debris to wipe off as people walk. A minimum of about six footsteps is needed for this to happen.
The Length of matting needed is also dependent on the amount of daily footfall:
Low = Less than 80 people per hour would need minimum of 3-4 metres
Medium = up to 400 people per hour would need 6-7 metres
High = Around 800 people per hour a minimum of 8-10 metres
Heavy Duty = Around 2,500 people per day a minimum of 9-12 metres
We understand that all entrance areas may not be large enough to accommodate some of these recommendations. We would advise going for the largest area of entrance matting of the best quality possible.
Certain materials, such as rubber, nylon and polypropylene fibres (needlepunch) are more durable than others so we always recommend referring to a product’s specifications. Other materials have more quick-drying properties, while some offer resistance to crushing, such as nylon for example. Further information is shown below which gives more detailed information about this.
Is the matting to be installed in a recessed mat well?
Many commercial entrance matting systems, such as aluminium for example, are designed to be installed in recessed mat wells. In the absence of a recessed mat well, then bevelled edging should be used to prevent trip hazards. It should not in any way restrict disabled access.
Is there much sunlight where the matting is to be installed?
If so, check out the entrance mat’s UV resistance to reduce fading. Certain colours and materials perform better than others.
Always pay attention to flammability tests, to make sure the entrance mats you have chosen meet your building’s criteria.
It is also important to ensure that your matting complies with DDA Regulations/The Equality Act, so that wheelchairs can safely move on and off the entrance matting. Also, take into account that a full wheelchair revolution requires a minimum length of 2.5m to effectively remove dirt/moisture from wheels.
Incorporating matting into interior design
Entrance matting doesn’t just need to be functional, but it should look great and enhance your interior too, as this is often the first thing visitors will see.
We recommend considering colour when choosing matting, so that it complements the décor of the whole business. It could possibly be matched to complement wall colour; neutral palettes are a good starting point to seamlessly connect the rest of the building with the entrance design.
When choosing entrance matting, consider your preferred cleaning methods and frequency of cleaning too, to make it a practical choice for your building. Entrance mats needs regular cleaning to retain their appearance and perform their best.
A great range of entrance matting system solutions are available in; Aluminium, Carpet and PVC Tiled. The range is stylish and delivers heavy duty wear resistance for busy areas, subjected to high volumes of pedestrian footfall and wheeled traffic. Many of our systems are environmentally friendly, incorporating recycled materials in their manufacture.
Entrance matting systems are essential for reducing slip hazards and cleaning costs for internal floor coverings. Our products effectively scrape dirt and absorb moisture from footwear and trolleys. A well presented entrance also provides a positive first impression that visitors and potential customers will remember about your business and brand.
An entrance which uses a zoning system delivers the most optimum performance, ensuring internal floors are kept clean and hazard free. We offer options suitable for zones 1, 2 and 3. However, we understand that budgets can often be limited, in which case primary interior entrance matting is the essential option to go for.
Materials used in entrance matting systems
Selecting the right entrance matting for any building whether commercial or domestic, can make a world of difference when it comes to performance, durability and value for money. Much of that ‘performance’ is attributed to the materials from which entrance mats are made. Having an insight into various materials’ characteristics can be helpful when specifying matting to make sure it can stand up to the job.
Some materials wick away moisture more effectively than others and have inherent quick drying properties; some fibres retain their structure making them more crush-resistant, while other materials are simply more durable.
The manufacturing technique can also make a difference such as ‘tufting’, ‘weaving’ or ‘needle punch. Some entrance matting is made from a combination of materials to give it a multi-action performance. You will notice that many entrance mats feature strips of different materials – some strips will scrape, some strips will brush, some strips will wipe moisture.
There are some important factors to take into consideration when planning a public entrance. Entrance matting in commercial buildings should also accommodate wheelchair access in line with the Equality Act 2010 so any material that is very soft, or that has very deep pile is not generally deemed suitable for this. Matting is usually installed in recessed mat wells for this reason to allow it to fit flush to the floor surface. If a mat well is not feasible and there is no option but to lay on to the surface, then it can also have bevelled ‘ramped edging’ to overcome this problem of wheeled access, while also minimizing trip hazards.
Popular Surface Materials:
Nylon is a synthetic fibre and is very much regarded as the ‘crème de la crème’ of entrance matting materials, usually with a higher price point to reflect this. There are many types of nylon, such as Polyamide for example, which is a common material for heavy duty entrance matting. That is why it is popular for areas such as shopping centre entrances or public travel, where high levels of footfall are normal. It has a luxurious feel that ‘brushes and scrapes’ and offers some of the best resiliency of all carpet materials through good crush resistant properties. It is a material that is hard to impregnate, therefore is more stain and fade resistant making it easier to maintain that ‘as new’ condition. The other benefit of nylon entrance matting is its ability to dry quickly – there’s nothing worse or less effective than a soggy doormat! Used for indoor locations only.
Derived from a thermoplastic polymer, entrance matting with Polypropylene fibres are very popular as the fibres give an effective scraping action due to their abrasive texture. This makes it an especially good performer when it comes to scraping dry dust. Entrance matting manufactured from Polypropylene fibres is generally durable and frequently used for ‘zoned’ areas, or used in longer lengths as dirt-barrier runners in reception areas for maximum floor protection. It is also normally a lower cost alternative to nylon entrance mats and its versatility and durability makes it popular for retail, offices, hotels and leisure.
Coir is the epitome of the traditional door mat, which today has been overtaken by more modern materials for commercial entrance areas. It is a natural material derived from the husks of coconut shells, which being coarse to the touch gives coir its bristly ‘brushing’ properties. Coir does not have the quickest of drying properties and is prone to soiling. While still popular for domestic use in its ‘door mat’ form, coir is frowned upon for commercial buildings because it is not wheelchair friendly.
Another natural fibre, cotton has many advantages when used for doormats in indoor domestic situations. Rather like a towel, it soaks up moisture and is renowned for its absorbency and quick-drying properties. It is ideal for wet, oily, or grease carrying moisture but not so good for dry dust and dirt. Cotton pile has a tendency to flatten but can normally be washed which restores it to its former state. Many of the cotton doormats are suitable for domestic washing machines and can be washed at 40ºC making cleaning a hassle-free task. While its performance in the home for light duty use is unquestionable, unfortunately cotton cannot stand the rigours of commercial use.
Microfibre is a synthetic material made from extremely fine individual fibres that are split to be even thinner than the human hair – usually 1.0 denier or smaller. Different fibres can be used to produce microfibre, but most commonly in entrance mats it is polypropylene and nylon (polyamide) yarn. The term ‘microfibre’ is used to describe the yarn’s fineness – there is microfibre and ultra microfibre. The huge benefit of microfibre is its amazing absorbency thanks to its increased surface area. The star shaped structure of the miniscule micro-fibres creates a capillary effect that traps moisture and dirt with exceptional efficiency. And the fact that it is so soft, flexible and fine, means it penetrates all those hard to reach areas on footwear and wheel treads that conventional materials cannot touch. Not only is it unsurpassed in trapping moisture – even more efficient than cotton – it also delivers great performance in scraping and trapping dirt and debris. In fact, movement on a microfibre mat’s surface creates a static charge that effectively attracts dirt and debris, and the particles are contained within the pile until it is vacuum cleaned. Another bonus of microfibre is its quick-drying properties – incredibly it dries in a third of the time of cotton mats. It is also durable and despite being soft to the touch, won’t lint or fluff. Machine washable, it is renowned for its anti-bacterial benefits.
Natural Rubber / Nitrile Rubber
Rubber (especially Nitrile Rubber) is suitable for heavy duty outdoor entrance areas. Unlike PVC, rubber is not prone to cracking. When it comes to rubber door mats, there are many choices in design – some feature open holes, while others have a textured solid surface. Opened holed rubber door mats are effective dirt-scrapers and allow the debris to fall through the mat. Rubber door mats have good non-slip characteristics. They are generally quite heavy and therefore stay in place well on the ground. Rubber can be ‘Natural Rubber’ coming from the Rubber Tree or synthetic as ‘Nitrile Rubber (NBR)’ – the addition of nitrile gives greater resistance to heat and a longer lifespan in oily or greasy conditions. Compounds can vary so the more nitrile, the better the performance. Nitrile has the ability to withstand a range of temperatures from -40 °C to +108 °C. However, Natural Rubber is more flexible than its synthetic counterpart. ‘Recycled Rubber’ is also used for some entrance mat products.
Popular Backing Materials:
Nitrile Rubber (Synthetic Rubber)
Nitrile backing is very popular (especially in the rental market) as it withstands laundering well. It is also more impervious to oils and chemicals, with better heat (flammability) resistance than natural rubber. On the whole, Nitrile backed matting should have a longer lifespan. Nitrile rubber backing tends to stay in place better on smooth floors.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride plastic), sometimes termed ‘Vinyl’, is the lower cost option but care has to be taken where the matting is situated as it is not suitable for very cold environments. Harsh climatic conditions can eventually make PVC brittle and prone to cracking.