Selecting the appropriate entrance mat to meet your requirements can be a daunting task given the vast array of options available. It’s crucial to pick the right mat to ensure that it meets your expectations in terms of performance and value.
To aid you in making a well-informed decision in a shorter period, we’ve compiled the “Entrance Mats Complete Guide”. However, if you require tailored assistance, feel free to contact us and we’ll gladly assist.
Contents: Entrance Mats Complete Guide
Why is the Purpose of Entrance Mats?
The primary purpose of entrance mats is to ensure safety and cleanliness. By strategically placing effective entrance mats at the entry points of a building, they can prevent slips and falls, while also helping to keep the building clean.
Businesses can incur significant financial losses and productivity setbacks due to accidents and injuries resulting from slips and falls. Additionally, cleaning a building is a time-consuming and expensive process, so reducing the amount of dirt that enters the building through the use of entrance mats can help minimize the amount of cleaning needed.
What are the Key Characteristics of an Effective Entrance Mat?
To be effective, an entrance mat should possess the following four features:
- Prevent the ingress of dirt and moisture into the building
- Retain dirt and moisture on the mat until it can be cleaned
- Prevent the tracking of dirt and moisture off the mat
- Provide a safe and secure walking surface
Where will the Entrance Mat be Used?
Entrance Mats have different features depending on where they are to be placed. They are made from different materials which have an impact on performance. For instance, mats designed to dry footwear are not suitable for outdoor use since they may become saturated with water when it rains. On the other hand, outdoor scraper mats are not effective in removing fine dirt and dust.
Outdoor Entrance Mat:
When placing entrance mats outdoors, they need to be durable and effective in all weather conditions. Typically made of rubber or PVC, outdoor entrance mats rarely have any fabric. Their main function is to remove dirt, mud, salt, sand, and grit.
The ideal choice of outdoor entrance mat will depend on the type of dirt that you need it to remove. Areas with heavy mud will require a scraper mat with a large raised tread. Areas with lots of rain will require a mat with holes, allowing water to flow away from the surface of the mat.
It’s important to consider the type of traffic that enters the entrance. For example, if there are wheelchair users or pushchairs, bevelled edges or low-profile mats are a better choice. If people are wearing high heels, the holes in the mat should not be big enough to cause a tripping hazard.
Typically, an all-rubber mat with raised scraper nubs and drainage holes is the preferred choice for an outdoor entrance mat. Rubber is a durable material that can withstand any weather condition without cracking, splitting, or curling.
Indoor Entrance Mat:
Indoor entrance mats are often the only mats used in buildings, so it’s crucial to choose effective ones. These mats should be able to dry moisture and remove dirt, requiring a mat with both scraping and mopping or wicking action.
Typically, indoor entrance mats feature coarse fibres or a scraping tread profile to remove dirt, and a fabric top to facilitate drying. They should filter dirt away from the walking surface, preventing it from being tracked off the mat by subsequent foot traffic.
As these mats need to retain dirt and moisture, it’s important to choose a mat that is easy to clean and quick to dry. Mats made of man-made fibres, such as nylon, PET, polypropylene, or microfibre, are a good choice.
Choosing Mats for Partially Covered Outdoor Entrances:
Choosing the right mat for a partially covered entrance can be challenging since it needs to withstand all weather conditions and effectively remove all types of dirt. The choice of mat will depend on how exposed the entrance is to the elements and the type of dirt commonly tracked into the building.
A rubber-backed mat is an ideal choice as it can resist all weather conditions and temperatures, and is less prone to splitting, cracking or curling compared to PVC mats. However, it may still be necessary to opt for a mat with drainage holes or a bi-level fabric mat that can quickly dry to avoid becoming waterlogged during rainfall. If selecting a fabric mat, ensure that it is UV-resistant and less likely to discolor when exposed to sunlight.
The mat should possess scraper properties to remove heavy dirt and be easy to clean or hose down when needed.
What Size of Entrance Mat do I need for it to be Effective?
Getting the correct size of matting for your needs usually depends on:
- The number of visitors
- The amount of dirt and moisture and type of dirt that is tracked in
- What size matting you can physically fit into your entrance area
As a guide, to remove enough soil and keep floors safe, The Carpet and Rug Institute recommend a minimum of 12 to 15 feet of entrance matting is used for an office building. 20 or 25 feet is recommended for a grocery store or hospital. (Source: Carpet & Rug Institute).
However, in the UK, many building entrances tend to have mats that are 3×5 or 4×6 feet in size. While these sizes may offer a wider choice of colours and styles, they are often insufficient to do a good job in a retail environment. Wet floor signs placed after the mats, are frequently the sign of ineffective mats. They are too small to remove all of the dirt and moisture and so it finds its way onto the surrounding floors.
Unfortunately this ‘one size fits all approach’ is ineffective. As we’ve learned from the Carpet & Rug Institute, these standard sizes are nowhere near enough to do a good job. It’s important to remember that the larger the mat, the more effective it will be in removing dirt and water.
While obstacles may prevent the use of recommended length matting, purchasing the largest mat that will fit your entrance will increase the chances of people stepping on the mat multiple times and giving it the best chance to perform its function. Avoid purchasing a mat based on looks alone.
Factoring in the above, we recommend you buy the largest mat that will practically fit into your entrance area. This way, people will step on the mat multiple times, allowing it to perform its function to the fullest.
Additional factors to consider when deciding on the size of matting you need, include:
- Is this a busy entrance?
- Do push chairs, trollies, buggies or wheelchairs come through this entrance?
- Is the entrance outside exposed to wet weather?
- Do people walk through your entrance and away in multiple directions?
Answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above? You are going to need more matting in place for it to be as effective.
To increase the length of your entrance matting, you can utilize multiple mats in different areas. For example, combining an outdoor entrance mat with an indoor entrance mat and a finishing mat can create an effective entry mat system. In fact, having more than one type of mat in place is considered best practice. For more information on using mats in combination with each other, please see “The 3 Zone Entrance Mat System” section of this guide.
Another way to increase matting is to place mats in high-traffic areas such as corridors, reception areas, and elevators. Matting floor tiles can also be used instead of carpet in rooms to remove dirt and water from footwear and contain it in a controlled area that can be easily cleaned.
What is the Quantity and Type of the dirt that is brought in through the Entrance?
Entrance Mats for Dry Areas
In the UK, dry entrance areas are less common due to the wet weather, but they can be found within larger buildings. These areas typically deal with fine dirt and dust, rather than moisture or mud. To effectively remove this type of dirt, you can use entrance mats with a dense fibre designed to trap and hold onto the fine particles.
Cotton mats or microfibre mats with a twisted fibre face are good options as they can effectively scrape footwear and transition the dirt to the foot of the mat, where it is retained until later cleaned. This is in contrast to mats which allow dirt to sit on top of the mat, which will result in it being tracked off the mat as more people walk over it.
Effective dust control mats can also improve the air quality in your building, which is especially important for those with respiratory problems.
Entrance Mats for Wet Areas
It’s important to choose a mat with good absorbency properties when dealing with wet areas. If your entrance area is particularly wet, you may need a longer mat. Cotton mats and microfibre mats are both highly absorbent and recommended for wet areas, but you need to consider the level of foot traffic in the area.
For low-traffic areas, cotton mats are ideal because they have time to dry between usage. However, for high-traffic areas, cotton mats may become overloaded in wet weather and unable to contain the water, resulting in a wet floor around the mat and a risk of slips and floor damage.
For busy areas, we recommend mats made of man-made materials like nylon that allow moisture to evaporate more quickly than cotton. In very busy areas, such as retail stores, you may also consider placing overhead heaters at the entrance to speed up the drying process.
For areas that are particularly wet or snowy, a bi-level mat with a dam system is recommended. Mats with a dam system have raised rubber edges that contain the liquid on the mat to prevent it from spilling off the edge and causing slips or floor damage. Bi-level mats allow water to fall to the lower level while people walk on the upper level, minimizing the risk of overloading.
In very wet areas, a finishing mat may be needed after the bi-level entrance mat to aid in the drying process. See our recommendations for “The 3 Zone Entrance Mat System” later in this guide.
Entrance Mats for Heavy Dirt & Mud Areas
Entrance areas with heavy dirt and mud are among the most difficult places to keep clean. To tackle this challenge, you will need mats with a robust scraping action and the ability to retain the removed mud to prevent it from being tracked off the mat as more people step on it. Bi-level mats are best suited for this purpose. The top surface scrapes away the mud, while the lower surface collects and stores it away from the walking surface.
To effectively manage heavy dirt and mud, it is recommended to use an outdoor entrance mat in conjunction with your indoor mat (again refer to “The 3 Zone Entrance Mat System“). The outdoor mat should have large scraper nubs and flow-through holes, allowing rain, dirt, and mud to fall through the mat where it can be cleaned away. The outdoor mat should also be weather-resistant and easy to clean, so a rubber mat is an ideal choice for an outdoor mat.
In muddy areas, it is crucial to clean your entrance mats frequently and it would also help to regularly clean the outdoor area of dirt and mud too. Choose mats that are easy to clean with a hose or pressure washer. Please see the cleaning and maintenance section of our guide for further details.
Which Entrance Mat Material Should I Choose?
Rubber Backed or Vinyl Backed Entrance Mats:
Entrance mats come in a wide range of prices to suit different budgets, with the backing material being a key factor in the overall cost. Cheaper mats often have a PVC or vinyl backing, while higher-priced mats generally feature a rubber backing.
Mats with a PVC/vinyl backing are less durable and more prone to splitting, cracking, or curling at the edges over time. They also tend to move around on the floor more, particularly smaller mats on hard floors, so may require taping or gluing to stay in place.
Rubber-backed mats, on the other hand, tend to stay in place better due to rubber’s natural grip on surfaces. They are also more flexible, making them less likely to split, crack, or curl and, as a result, longer-lasting and safer to use.
If you have a low-traffic entrance area or are willing to replace the mats more frequently, vinyl-backed mats may be suitable for your needs. However, keep in mind that buying a cheaper mat may not be cost-effective in the long run, as replacement costs could eventually outweigh the benefits of buying a higher quality mat. We recommend choosing a rubber-backed entrance mat if your budget allows for a better quality product.
Hybrid Material Mats
Mats labelled as “rubber-backed” may still contain a mixture of materials, which may or may not include rubber. Vitrile is sometimes used, which is a mix of rubber and PVC vinyl. These mats may be suitable for your needs and can be less expensive, but the durability will not be the same as a pure nitrile rubber backed mat.
To ensure you are getting a good quality mat, it’s recommended to check the specifications data to see exactly what materials have been used in manufacture. Additionally, you may want to request a sample of the mat to test it out for yourself and determine its quality before making a purchase.
Mats made of Cotton vs Man-Made Fibres
Cotton is a highly absorbent natural fibre, making it an excellent choice for drying mats. It’s also machine-washable, which makes it a great option for home use. However, cotton mats have a downside – they dry very slowly. The fibres retain water and don’t allow for quick evaporation, making them less suitable for busy commercial entrances. They can become saturated and ineffective at stopping moisture and dirt.
Nylon, Polypropylene and PET mats are generally less absorbent than cotton but are still effective at removing water. They dry far more quickly, making them a better choice for busy commercial entrances.
Microfibre is highly absorbent, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic, wet entrance areas. Some rubber-backed microfibre mats are machine-washable, providing the best of both worlds: effective and easy to clean.
Coir / Coconut Entrance Mats
In general, we do not recommend using coir or coconut matting for commercial entrance mats. However, they are still a popular choice for businesses to place in mat wells because they are easy to cut to size and have a natural look.
The downside of coir mats is that they wear down more quickly compared to other mat materials, especially in busy entrances that need to handle a lot of water and dirt. This results in an unsightly worn path appearance down the centre of the mat.
Entrance Mat Construction Choices
Bi-level vs Single Level Entrance Mats
Bi-level mats have two distinct levels, an upper and a lower level, while single level mats have a flat surface like typical carpeted top mats. This difference in construction has a noticeable effect on performance. Mats with a ribbed or raised nub construction are bi-level mats, but better quality mats use reinforced raised sections made of rubber, metal, or PVC to resist weight and prevent crushing. This makes the bi-level construction more durable over time.
Bi-level mats are more effective than single level mats at removing and holding onto dirt and water, as they have an upper level that can scrape and wipe off dirt and water, which falls into the lower level where it is collected and stored. The lower level sits below shoe level, preventing the dirt from being walked through and tracked off the mat as subsequent people pass over it.
While single level mats are more commonly used in UK entrances and are generally what customers expect to see in an entrance mat, they are generally not as effective as bi-level mats at removing and holding onto dirt.
However, they have more surface area contact with footwear, allowing them to mop up moisture well, as long as they are made of absorbent material. If they become saturated with too much moisture, they become less effective at removing or holding onto moisture.
Scraper or Dryer Entrance Mats
Mats designed for scraping generally have either a raised nub profile, making them bi-level, as previously discussed, or hard filaments in the mat face that scrape footwear aggressively.
For effective dirt removal, bi-level scraper mats are generally the best choice since they can efficiently remove and retain the dirt.
When it comes to drying, mats made of cotton or microfiber are typically the most effective due to their excellent absorption properties. For a generally wet entrance area that requires less dirt removal, a single-level mat is a good option. However, for extremely wet areas or those with a lot of dirt and mud, a bi-level mat with a dam to contain the water is recommended.
For even better performance, a bi-level mat can be paired with a single-level mat laid after it to scrape and dry traffic effectively (see our 3 Zone Entrance Matting Section).
Loose Lay Entrance Mats
The term “loose lay” refers to mats that are not fixed or permanently installed, but rather laid down on top of the floor and can be easily removed for cleaning, storage, or replacement. They can be used independently or in combination with other matting systems, offering a flexible and convenient solution.
However, one downside of using loose lay mats is that they are more prone to move or shift underfoot, which can increase the risk of slips and falls. To minimize this risk, we recommend the following when selecting a loose lay mat:
- Choose a mat with a non-slip backing, such as rubber.
- Select a larger and heavier mat, as it is less likely to move.
- Ensure that the mat covers the entire area where people will walk, reducing the likelihood of tripping on the edges of the mat.
Entrance Mat Tiles and Modular System Entrance Mats
Modular tiles can be a great solution for entrance mats, especially for areas that require custom sizes or shapes that are not suited to standard mats. They can also be cut to fit into mat wells, around obstacles, or for a wall-to-wall finish.
One of the biggest advantages of modular tiles is that if a part of the matting system becomes damaged, individual tiles can be easily replaced, rather than replacing the entire system. Additionally, some modular systems can be lifted and rearranged to meet changing needs.
If the tiles are designed to be loose-laid (placed on top of the floor), bevelled edges can be added to reduce trips and allow for the smooth transition of wheeled traffic over the mat. Some systems even come with edge and corner tiles that have pre-made edges for this purpose. If the tiles are placed in a mat well or wall to wall, then edges are not necessary, and the tiles can be cut flush to the edge.
Modular mat systems are especially useful in high-traffic areas, such as large shopping centres, train stations, and public buildings. These mats are fixed in place, cover large areas easily, and can handle foot and wheeled traffic moving in different directions.
Entrance Well / Recess Mats
In high traffic entrance areas, entrance wells or recesses are commonly used to reduce trip hazards associated with mats placed on top of the floor. When properly installed, these wells sit level with the surrounding floor.
For entrance wells, modular mats are an ideal choice as they can be cut to fit into the well perfectly. Alternatively, made-to-measure mats can be used, but accurate measurement is crucial as not all wells are perfectly rectangular. To ensure a perfect fit, we recommend buying an oversize mat and trimming it to size on-site.
The depth of the well is also an important consideration. Most UK mat wells are traditionally 17mm deep, which is deeper than most mats. Mat wells of shallower depths are now becoming more common, which highlights the importance of accurately measuring all aspects of a mat well. To ensure that the mat sits level with the surrounding floor, the depth of the well may need to be reduced which can be achieved by filling it with screed or by using marine plywood cut to size. The mat can then be placed on top of the wood. Due to the work involved, it is more difficult, and consequently more expensive, to deepen an existing mat well.
Metal Entrance Mat Systems
Metal entrance matting systems are a popular choice for busy areas like shopping centres, train stations, and public buildings due to their durability and toughness. They can be customised to fit any size or shape of the entrance area.
However, the major downside of metal entrance mats is their high cost compared to other types of matting systems. Professional installation is usually required, and the fabric between the ridges must be periodically replaced. This fabric can wear down faster than the metal, leading to a slip hazard if not replaced. Additionally, metal mats can be slippery in wet conditions.
As a result, many new projects tend to choose less expensive and easier-to-install PVC/rubber modular tiles. However, if the appearance of the mat is a top priority and there is a budget available, metal entrance mats are an excellent choice. It’s important to monitor the fabric for wear and tear and replace it promptly to ensure safe use.
Entrance Mat Aesthetics
The entrance of a building is often the first impression visitors have of your establishment, which emphasises the significance of having visually appealing entrance mats. The appearance of your mats can convey a lot about your brand and contribute to the added value that sets you apart from competitors.
Mats now come in a variety of styles, colours, and patterns, with the option to customise and print any design onto them. Thus, the possibilities are endless and limited only by one’s imagination.
Logo mats are designed to feature your company’s logo, along with a welcoming message, tagline, or statement about your business. Modern technology allows for practically any image or message to be printed on a mat, so the possibilities are endless.
Printing technology for logo mats has advanced to enable complex logos and a wider range of colours. For exact colour requirements, Pantone colours can be matched, although an additional charge may apply.
To prevent the aesthetic of your logo mat from being compromised, we recommend placing at least one high-quality entrance mat in front of it, ideally two (refer to our 3 Zone Entrance Matting Section). This will remove most of the dirt and water and protect your logo from becoming dirty. Alternatively, consider placing your logo mat in other areas of your building, such as the reception or meeting room.
Shaped Entrance Mats
There are a variety of shaped mats available, both for aesthetic and practical reasons. Modular mat tiles can be cut and assembled to fit any desired shape, and some manufacturers offer loose-lay mats that can be custom-cut to fit your space. These mats often come with rubber borders all around the edges to prevent tripping hazards.
Circular and semi-circular mats are becoming increasingly popular, with circular mats being a requirement for revolving doors and semi-circular mats being practical in areas where people walk in different directions.
It is important to keep in mind that the primary function of an entrance mat is to provide safety and remove dirt and water, so the shape you choose should be practical for the direction of traffic. Most entrance mats are rectangular because they follow the path that people typically take.
Cleaning and Maintaining Entrance Mats
To maintain their effectiveness, entrance mats should be regularly cleaned and inspected. Because they are meant to trap and hold onto dirt, it’s important to remove this dirt before the mat becomes saturated, as a saturated mat is no longer effective.
Many loose lay mats can be laundered, and if you have a large enough washing machine, cleaning them is easy. Otherwise, you may need to take the mat to a commercial laundry or use an alternate cleaning method.
It’s important to avoid using softener on entrance mats, as it can reduce their ability to absorb moisture, which is essential for an effective mat.
Most mats can be cleaned with a vacuum, similar to how you would clean a carpet. If the mat is wet, you’ll need a vacuum that can safely pick up water.
For spot cleaning or a deeper clean, a carpet extraction cleaner can be used, and you may need to use a chemical to remove stubborn stains.
Open surface mats that allow dirt and debris to fall through can be lifted or rolled up for cleaning beneath.
Exterior mats are typically easy to clean with a hose or pressure washer.
It’s important to regularly inspect mats for signs of wear and tear or damage, as they can pose a safety hazard if they become rippled, have lifted or cracked edges, or are worn down, reducing their ability to trap dirt and water and leading to slips and falls.
The 3 Zone Entrance Mat System
This guide has explored various types of entrance matting, each with its own unique functions and advantages. You can enhance the performance of these mats by combining them to create a matting system. When properly designed, zonal matting systems can be an effective way to prevent dirt and water from entering your building, while also improving safety.
We suggest using three zonal mats in combination with each other if possible, as outlined below:
The Outdoor Entrance Mat
The first line of defence against heavy dirt, mud, grit and sand, preventing it from entering the building. It needs to be able to withstand the weather and be designed with drainage holes to allow for proper drainage. A rubber scraper mat with drainage holes is a great choice for this purpose.
The Indoor Barrier Mat
The Indoor Barrier Mat is the first interior entrance mat that should both scrape and wipe feet. As this is typically the only entrance mat that people use, it will need to deal with all kinds of dirt and water. To effectively accomplish this task, we recommend using a bi-level entrance mat.
The Final Finishing Mat
The Final Finishing Mat is responsible for removing anything that the previous two mats were unable to stop, typically fine dust and some moisture on wet days. For this purpose, we recommend using a single level, tight pile mat made of cotton or microfibre. Placing a logo mat here is also an option.
How Long will my Entrance Mat Last?
Determining the lifespan of an entrance mat is challenging since it depends on various factors such as foot traffic, dirt and water accumulation, and maintenance. However, you can use product guarantees and customer reviews as a reference for choosing a long-lasting mat. To extend the life of your mat, consider the following suggestions:
- Opt for mats with rubber backing instead of PVC or vinyl.
- Choose mats made from synthetic materials rather than natural ones.
- Check the weight of pile in the face fabric of the mat, which suppliers typically list in their specifications, and choose a higher weight.
- Ensure that mats with raised profiles are reinforced to prevent them from flattening over time.
Entrance Mats Regulation and Law
When purchasing mats, businesses must ensure that they are suitable for wheelchairs and other wheeled traffic. This means that they should allow for safe and easy transitions onto, over, and off the mat. In case of an emergency, a wheelchair should be able to turn on the mat without difficulty during an evacuation.
However, some types of mats do not meet these regulations. It’s recommended that you take this into account when deciding which mat to use.
- Coir / Coconut mats have a deep pile that is difficult for wheelchairs to move over or turn around on.
- Ribbed and metal entrance matting systems need to have ridges narrow enough so as not to create a rut in which the wheels can become lodged.
- Mats with high, non-bevelled edges make it difficult for a wheelchair to move smoothly onto the mat.
- Wells and recesses need to be flush with the surrounding floor, so there is no ridge for wheelchairs to overcome.
Your Next Steps
This Entrance Mats Complete Guide has been created by Trusted Mats to provide an unbiased overview of the different options available in today’s market. With 20 years of experience supplying entrance mats to commercial and industrial properties throughout the UK, we hope that we have been able to share some of our knowledge with you and help you make an informed decision on which entrance mats to choose.
You can view the many entrance mats we sell in the Entrance Mats section of our website.
If you don’t want to go it alone, we are here to help. We want to ensure you get the right entrance mats for your premises. If you have any more questions, we encourage you to Contact Us, so that we are able to give you recommendations tailored to your individual requirements.
This guide is part of our Complete Guides to Mats series, which includes the following:
- Anti-Fatigue Mats Complete Guide
- Rubber Mats Complete Guide
- Retail Mats Complete Guide
- Coir Matting Ultimate Guide
- Chair Mats Best UK Chair Mats Guide
Copyright © Trusted Mats, All Rights Reserved