Why use entry matting?
An effective walk-off zone can stop up to 90% of tracked-in soil -- which results in dramatic savings to your overall floor care cost.
I know numbers can be confusing, but if you can stick with me, these numbers demonstrate the benefits of a proper walk-off zone. . .
Over a 20-day period and based on 1,000 people per day, 24 pounds of dirt multiplied by $600 per pound equals $14,400 in overall flooring maintenance costs.
This is why it’s so important to stop the soil before it gets tracked throughout your entire building.
So what can be done? You guessed it -- the answer is an effective entry matting system. An effective matting system of 15 to 25 feet can stop up to 90% of tracked-in soil. It will also trap the soil within the matting until it can be properly removed. A Swiss study estimates that by trapping soil effectively at the entryway (and thus focusing your maintenance dollars in a much more confined area), the savings could be as high as 67% on overall floor care costs.
If an entry matting system is doing its primary job (i.e. stopping soil), then it stands to reason that it must be maintained frequently and aggressively. It is much more cost-effective to spend your time cleaning your entry matting system (100 to 2,000 square feet) than cleaning your entire floor. Only by removing trapped soil will a matting system remain effective. Most major cleaning contractors have grasped a similar concept in recent years and now present a maintenance plan based on cleaning the high traffic areas more frequently than the low traffic areas in an effort to maximize maintenance dollars.
Another valid method of lowering floor care costs may be to identify the source of your tracked-in soil. Parking lots, walkways and other exterior areas that are close to your entry should be swept regularly to remove debris; they should also be power washed to remove grease and oil. Taking these steps will not only assist your entry matting -- it will also add to your curbside appeal.
Tracked-in moisture is a major cause of accidental slip-and-fall claims.
99% of companies settle slip-and-fall claims out of court.
The average retail slip-and-fall claim is at least $50,000. . .
Moisture must be removed and prevented from being tracked further inside your buildings. An effective entry matting system resists saturation and provides enough steps to remove moisture from foot traffic. When weather is extreme, it may be a good idea to have foul weather mats available to increase your walk-off zone. Another good idea is to go wall-to-wall in the vestibule and avoid the classic 1-foot-tile border look. If a step lands on that one tile and it’s not slip-resistant, it could be a problem.
There are enough quality matting products on the market today that you should be able to build a system that works best for you. Below are some of the characteristics that are almost universal:
- Fall-Through: A fall-through product is best used as your initial defense against incoming debris. Fall-through products allow the larger soil particles to fall below incoming foot traffic and keep them from being tracked in.
- Brush: Good brushing action should be used as an initial defense or following a fall-through product. This is the workhorse of most matting systems; it should have stiff fibers that brush off in-coming soil. Another important aspect of this matting is that it traps the soil toward the back of the mat until it can be removed, thus preventing it from being tracked in further.
- Dry: A good matting system will finish the job by drying the incoming foot traffic. These mats should be made of fine fibers that can retain a large amount of moisture and can dry quickly.
- Style: Since your entry ways are one of the first things that customers see, I think it would be remiss if I didn’t mention style. Logo mats, custom borders, custom colors and carved designs can turn your matting system into a design feature, which adds to that all-important curbside appeal and creates a better first impression. . .
To sum up, utilizing matting allows you to limit tracked-in soil throughout your entire building which results in a well focused floor maintenance plan. The savings overall can be dramatic.
The industry standard recommendation is 15 to 25 feet of walk-off zone.
Personalize your matting system by combining the proper amount of fall-through, brush and dry characteristics for your situation. I am not necessarily suggesting three different mats; one or two mats may have the desired characteristics to meet your needs.
Keep foul weather mats (runners) on hand for extreme weather. These can be lower-end matting with drying characteristics.
Daily sweeping and occasional power washing of the area directly outside of your entrance are simple ways of helping and prolonging your entry matting.
By Jay R. McGrath
Pictures and drawings by Nick Berendt