Preventing tracked-in debris will save BSCs time and money, and the easiest way to do it is to recommend facilities utilize appropriate matting both outside and inside facility entrances. Unfortunately, outlining the best matting program isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. An elementary school will have different foot traffic than a restaurant, and a hospital’s floor traffic will vary from an office building or airport.

A matting system selected for the type of facility, amount and type of traffic, and prevailing seasonal and weather conditions — among other factors — is the more nuanced and effective answer to the successful use of floor mats.

“There are hundreds of mats available for a variety of needs and applications. Selection and style will depend on traffic conditions, indoor and outdoor placement, anti-fatigue characteristics, slip conditions for wet and possibly greasy surfaces, and industrial applications,” says Linda Silverman, president, Maintex Facility Solutions, City of Industry, California.

When selecting mats for a facility, Eric Cadell, vice president, Dutch Hollow Supplies, Belleville, Illinois, recommends BSCs consider a number of factors.

Specifics include the amount of space matting can be used in, levels of foot traffic, and the quality of the matting program clients are willing to pay for.

“There are outdoor scraper mats, indoor wiper/scraper, indoor wiper, and anti-fatigue mats. Each type has a specific purpose in a comprehensive matting program,” he says. “There is not a certain mat that goes to a certain type of facility.”

Considering the variety of facilities and mats available, where should a BSC begin their search for a matting system that fits their needs?

“The best option is to conduct an audit of the facility to determine which matting works best,” Cadell says.

For BSCs looking for assistance in this area, Spallone notes that professional consultants can go a long way in simplifying a matting program. Whether it is a jan/san distributor or another consultant, request they join in on a walk-through with facility customers, giving suggestions for matting types, optimal size and proposed maintenance programs.

“The cost of instituting an efficient matting program specific to a facility is relatively low when considering the cost of not having one, and the basic configuration of an effective matting system will include must-haves,” says Spallone. “A scraper mat for outside the building, scraper/wiper mats for inside or outside the building, and a wiper mat for finishing off what is left of the soles of the shoes.”

The locations of these mats is critical. They should be placed directly on both sides of an entrance door, not at a distance from it. This puts them in contact with people’s last step before entering the facility and their first step inside the building. Allowing space between the door and the mat counteracts the purpose of the mats, which is to capture soil and moisture.

Scraper mats made for outdoor use should be placed outside of entryways to capture larger dirt particles and moisture. Wiper/scraper mats are then placed directly inside the entryway to stop any debris not caught by the outdoor scraper mats. Continuing into the building, interior wiper mats are placed right after the wiper/scraper mats, as a final line of defense.

Once inside a building, a blog post from Regional Distributors, Inc., Rochester, New York, advises that longer is better when it comes to matting: “Remember the ‘Rule of 15s,’ which dictates that at least 15 feet of matting should be installed at all entry doors — five feet each of coarse scraper, wiper/scraper, and wiper mats. The American Institute of Architects reports that five feet of matting will capture 33 percent of walked-in debris; 10 feet will capture 52 percent; and 20 to 25 feet can capture as much as 100 percent of soil on a person’s shoe bottoms, preventing the soil from entering the facility.”

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