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Maintaining Commercial Floor Matting
A well-designed matting program will help facility manager maintain the finish on the tile floors, improving the building’s appearance and cutting floor cleaning costs, says Uselman.
“You only get one chance to make a lasting first impression so you want it to be a good one,” Uselman says.
But, an unmaintained matting system defeats its purpose. When developing a matting program for a commercial building, distributors need to consider mat maintenance.
“I consider them shovels so once they get full, you have to empty them,” Spencer says.
Maintaining commercial floor matting consists of daily cleaning, inspections and replacement and greatly depends on the type of mat. For example, facility managers will save on labor costs if mats can be cleaned in place, Spencer says.
“You have to be able to service it. If you are going to leave it down there everyday to do the work that you want it to do, you’ve got to have a way for it to look nice and clean it while it’s there,” says Spencer.
When possible, floor matting or walk-off tiling should be built in permanently to the floor, Spencer says. The tiles hold eight to 10 times their base weight to alleviate mold and moisture displacement, problems that arise when water is trapped between the mat and the flooring, he says. Permanent mats also alleviate issues that arise when placement depends on weather, which can rise unexpectedly.
“We have them built in so the maintenance crew do not have to worry about bringing mats out,” Spencer says. “They are there 24/7 guarding the building removing soil and water.”
Anti-fatigue mats placed in restaurants and industrial facilities where the floor may become slick with moisture or oils must be chosen carefully, says Spencer.
Many buyers purchase non-pervious anti-fatigue mats, which can cause water and grease to gather on the surface of the mat, rather than absorb or move into the “holes” of other porous anti-fatigue and flow-through mats.
This can result in dangerous slip and fall hazards. A wet scraper mat placed in the lobby may begin to curl or roll , and can also place visitors at risk for a trip and fall injury, negating hazard prevention benefits.
This can also happen by using the wrong mat size or the wrong matting material for a specific area.
Uselman suggests distributors look to the mat manufacturers to help guide them on the correct uses of their products. Many mat manufactures have online tools that allow the distributor to enter information about the client’s facility, and in return, get back the correct type and size of matting needed for the facility.
Some manufacturers even provide return on investment calculators on their sites for distributors and building managers to determine the difference between owning and renting mats.
“It takes the guesswork out of it and gives the choice back to the customer by saying ‘here are your options,’” Uselman says.
In any circumstance, the distributor salesperson should be ready and willing to spend time learning about the needs of the building facilities manager in terms of their matting and flooring.
This may take several visits to the building, especially during various weather scenarios and seasons to get a clear understanding of the environmental impacts.
Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wis. He is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.
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