Ask a facility manager about floor mats, and a single word tends to come to their mind: Safety. As managers, we are often caught up in improving safety standards for both guests and employees. This is particularly true when it comes to busy retail shops, transportation hubs, hotels, and other properties that see a large degree of visitor turnover. Floor mats provide an additional benefit, however, for which they often receive no credit. Floor mats protect floors from accruing damage that may ultimately lead to costly repairs and dangerous conditions.
1. Know Your Flooring. The first tip is easy enough: Know your flooring. You cannot hope to protect something if you do not understand what it is and how it may be damaged. For example, if your facility has predominantly hardwood floors, understand that liquid spills may cause a greater degree of damage over time than if the floors were tile or granite. While simple in concept, understanding the ways in which your floors may accrue damage from liquids and debris will help you form long term plans to protect them.
2. Prevent Debris From Entering the Facility. It is important to understand that many flooring materials are quite porous, even though we perceive surfaces like hardwood, tile, and granite to be hard. The porous nature of these surfaces makes it easy for dirt and debris to be slowly ground into the floor over many years. After some time, the surface of the floor will begin to appear dull and soiled.
Many industry professionals believe entrance mats are one of the easiest and most efficient ways to preserve the structural integrity the floor spaces within a facility. “Matting is the first line of defense for any floor maintenance program,” explains Future Floor Technology CEO Stan Hulin. “Its purpose is to stop soil before it comes into contact with the floor.” (i)
To maximize the amount of debris that is kept from entering a facility, it is recommended that specific types of entrance mats be used in conjunction with one another. One such example is the Scraper Mat / Wiper Mat combination. Made using weatherproof Nitrile rubber, Scraper Mats have a surface that is textured to “dig in” to the under soles of a shoe and aggressively scrape away dirt. They are best placed just outside the entrance of the facility, where their ability to clean is largely unaffected by abrupt changes in weather. A Wiper Mat is then placed just inside the entryway. Wiper Mats come in a variety of materials including resilient nylon yarn (carpet), polypropylene, or Berber material. As the name suggests, these mats serve an important function by giving guests a place to wipe their shoes, clearing them of any leftover dirt or debris that the Scraper Mat may have dislodged but not entirely removed. Wiper Mats also give guests a place to dry their shoes on rainy days, keeping floor spaces clean, dry, and safe.
3. Think About Weather. Chances are good that weather will impact the longevity of your floor, particularly inside doorways and lobby areas. Snow, rain, and humidity each have the ability to soil and eventually damage these spaces. Some weather conditions have a far-reaching negative effect that facility managers may fail to consider. Rock salt may have a corrosive effect on the surface of the floor, for example, which may be tracked indoors during winter months. Using a weatherproof Scraper Mat / Wiper Mat combination, as described above, is one effective way to keep weather from penetrating entryways and incurring interior damage. Recessed grill mats like the Pedimat, Peditred, and Pedigrid are a more heavy duty solutions that are known to trap upwards of 60% of incoming debris, like snow, water, and rock salt.
Matting and Flooring Consultation
Eagle Mat and Floor Products celebrates over 3 decades of commercial matting consultation and sales in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. To learn more about protecting your facility’s floors with commercial-grade safety matting, contact Eagle Mat at 1-877-333-1018. Or, visit the commercial matting online store by clicking on the Catalog link in the menu above.