A Specifier’s Guide to Entrance Matting – Know the facts!

Do you know the two types of entrance matting typically used in a commercial setting? Or the different elements that must be considered when specifying secondary entrance matting within a building? Entrance matting is often a neglected area of flooring installation. However, by including it in the specification of your floor coverings, you can protect and prolong the lifespan of flooring further in the building, reducing repair and maintenance and creating a better environment for the end user.

The two types of entrance matting:

You may not think entrance matting is the most attractive concept, but it is a simple yet effective way to maintain carpet within a property, particularly in buildings that may experience a higher than average footfall, such as offices, retail outlets and hotels.

There are typically two types of entrance matting used in commercial settings – primary and secondary.

So, what’s the difference between the two types?

Primary entrance matting – generally used externally. The use of primary entrance matting outside the main entrance of a building helps to reduce the amount of dirt and moisture that is transferred inside, whilst also increasing the effectiveness of secondary matting.

Secondary entrance matting – generally used internally and usually consists of two functional materials: an absorber yarn and a scraper yarn. As their names suggest, the scraper yarn removes any debris from footwear and the absorber yarn absorbs any liquid from the shoe that might be brought in from the outside.

Did you know?

Studies show that more than 70% of dirt and moisture in buildings is tracked in by pedestrian and wheeled traffic. This is something that can be significantly reduced through the use of entrance matting, meaning floor coverings remain in better condition for longer.

This is great news to property owners who will have to spend less time and money cleaning, refurbishing and replacing floor coverings that have been damaged through the traipsing of dirt throughout the property. Another benefit to entrance matting is that it will only need replacing every three to 10 years because it’s generally hardwearing and durable.

As well as providing protection to floor coverings further within the building, it provides significant health and safety benefits to those using the building. Entrance matting reduces the amount of liquid brought into a building from outside, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

What is entrance matting made from?

Entrance matting can be made from a range of materials that all provide similar results, but each has its own benefits and preferred specification:

Nylon

Even though it has a higher total cost than other materials, nylon is the preferred material of choice for many commercial sector buildings. It has the ability to combine high density scraper yarn with a higher level of absorbency.

Polypropylene

If you don’t choose to install nylon, polypropylene is a good alternative and works particularly well when specified in leisure settings, such as golf clubs, because it is easy to clean. Polypropylene remains absorbent whilst providing high levels of scraping due to its abrasive quality.

Coir, cotton and microfibre

Due to their high levels of absorbency, these materials are all generally best specified within a domestic setting. However, they are unable to prevent damage to floor coverings further into the building because of their lower ability to scrape debris from the shoe. Coir, which is made from the shell of coconuts, shouldn’t be used in a commercial setting due to its inability to work well with wheelchairs.

Specifying the correct entrance matting is extremely important. If specified in too small quantities, entrance matting, in particular secondary, can fail. Secondary entrance matting needs to be installed in large enough quantities to sufficiently clean the footwear of those entering the building. But how much product is enough?

An independent study, conducted by the Health and Safety Laboratory and the Entrance Flooring Systems Association, looked into this and came up with some conclusive results.  If the traffic experienced within the building is less than 80 people per hour, three to four meters is recommended. As the predicted footfall increases, so does the amount of entrance matting required:

  • Under 80 people per hour – three to four meters
  • 80 – 400 people per hour – six to seven meters
  • >800 people per hour – eight to 10 meters

When the product needs to be installed in such high quantities, the responsibility is on manufacturers to create secondary entrance matting that looks aesthetically pleasing enough to be installed throughout an entire room. Incorporating a range of colours, styles and piles will mean that buildings do not need to sacrifice their interior design for functionality.