Whenever Scott Uselman, director of sales at High Point Sanitary Solutions in Houston, meets with commercial building clients he carries a plastic jar.

The jar contains one pound of dirt and soil that he threatens to spread near the entryway of the facility before the building manager typically pleads with him not to make the mess.

“In reality, that’s what is happening when you don’t have a good matting system. You are not going to get everything, but you will get the vast majority of it if it is the right mat, the right size, in the right place,” Uselman tells the client.

According to Uselman and others in the jan/san industry, the cost — from $500 to $600 — of removing that one pound of dirt from a commercial building can be greatly diminished with exterior floor mats, which can act as the first line of defense for the building’s entrance.

“Economics is the first thing that should come to mind,” he says. “The better use of mats that building managers have, the less they will have to pay in their cleaning and maintenance costs later on.”

Exterior Floor Mats Scrape Away Debris

A strong matting program begins outside of the commercial building where coarse and porous exterior floor mats can be used to scrape off large debris such as salt, snow and ice in the winter, says Steve Spencer, a facilities specialist at State Farm in Bloomington, Ill.

Exterior floor mats should also be able to handle the dense oils and debris from parking lot material.

Matting in the vestibule eight to 10 feet long and six to eight feet wide is also necessary to scrape debris and absorb moisture from shoes and boots, says Spencer.

“You don’t have quite the scraper that you have outside, but you need something very coarse and absorbent,” Spencer says. “In a lot of places, that is where it stops.”

Fifty years ago, the standard was that buildings had a total of 15 feet of walk-off matting, which was sufficient because about 95 percent of shoes in the business world were flat leather soles worn by men.

“Today, the shoes are not the same…they have integrated soles designed to give you more traction outside so there are places for dirt, ice and snow to cling to,” Spencer says.

Once inside, the visitor should be greeted by a wiper mat, which helps remove more of the moisture and small particles from the shoes. Because these mats act as a transition to tile and carpet, they are the last line of defense and must both be sturdy enough to handle shoe deposits and attractive enough to greet visitors, Spencer says.

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Reduce Injuries and Labor Costs With Building Floor Mats