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In addition to selecting the right mats for the right applications, facilities will need to consider whether it is best to purchase mats or rent them. To aid the decision-making process, Saltzman advises facility managers to identify areas that require matting 24/7 — versus areas where mats will need to be removed when not in use. For moveable mats, issues of logistics also come into play.    

“Facility managers need to consider if their matting has to be rolled up and put away when the weather isn’t inclement,” he notes. “Once they’ve decided that, they need to consider how they’re going to move it, where they’re going to store it and whether it’s something that functions with their staff. There’s no sense buying a 150-pound mat, for instance, when one person has to try and transport it.” 

Whether mats are permanent or temporary, facility managers should take into account how many sections their entryway has prior to selecting indoor and outdoor mats. 

“Most commercial buildings are broken up into three zones, so it makes sense to optimize all of those areas,” says Luke Bosek, vice president of Arrival, Matter Surfaces, Stoughton, Massachusetts. “Ideally, the exterior zone is where you want to blast everything off the feet, so you need an aggressive scraper mat.” 

In a vestibule (zone 2), Bosek suggests a scraper/wiper mat to trap remaining soil and debris, as well as remove moisture from shoes. In the lobby (zone 3), an interior wiper mat will address any remaining moisture. 

For facilities that don’t have a vestibule, Bosek recommends a double zone matting system consisting of an exterior scraper mat and an interior zone 3 mat, such as a nylon mat designed to trap moisture. 

While entryways are understandably the focal point of any matting program, experts remind facility managers not to overlook other areas of the building where moisture, liquids and contaminants are cause for concern.  

“People tend not to think about areas like drinking fountains and hand sanitizer stations, but these are places that can benefit from matting. Not only do floors get slippery, but sanitizer will eat away at floor finishes if left on the surface too long,” Bosek says. “Facilities can also use matting to address areas where there’s oil and grease, such as the transition from a kitchen to a restaurant. These are all areas where you can deploy a matting system to limit slips and falls.” 

Mat Maintenance 

Once facilities have a matting program in place, regular maintenance and inspections are a must to ensure the products’ longevity and effectiveness. 

“Facilities often forget to engage their teams,” notes James. “Get your staff involved and offer a short training session on what to do to prevent accidents and how to report them if they occur. Also, have people keep an eye on those mats and check them daily to make sure they haven’t migrated.” 

Similarly, routine cleaning is essential to ensure that matting is serving its intended purpose; that is, keeping dust, dirt and debris out of the building. Fortunately, most mat cleaning procedures work seamlessly with regular floor maintenance programs — daily vacuuming and periodic extraction. To clean exterior mats, manufacturers recommend hosing them off or pressure-washing them — depending on the type of mat — and hanging them up to air dry. 

Although matting’s primary functions are to keep building occupants safe and facilities clean, it can also be a unique branding opportunity for organizations. 

“It's the first thing guests see when they walk in, and it’s the last thing they see on their way out,” notes Villani. “Entrance matting is a great way to promote your brand or message.” 

Once facilities have a matting program in place, periodic evaluations and adjustments may be necessary. 

“It may take some tweaking to create a really good matting program,” says James. “Just when you think you have it right, there may be seasonal considerations that lead to adjustments. For instance, you may want to increase the amount of wiper mats during winter or include scraper mats outside if you don’t already have them. Take weather into account and use that as an opportunity to frequently inspect the condition of mats.” 

Over time, a comprehensive matting program is liable to reduce cleaning expenses and slip-and-fall incidents as well as enhance the facility’s aesthetics, creating a welcoming environment for employees and visitors. 

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a frequent contributor to Facility Cleaning Decisions

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Improving Facility Matting Programs with Manufacturer Guidance