The U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system for new and existing buildings encourages building owners to earn credits for meeting certain housekeeping criteria. Strategies include the creation and maintenance of entrance systems and mats that prevent particles from entering the building.
Recommendations include a minimum of 10 to 12 feet of quality matting at entrances. At the heart of an entrance system is prevention of contaminants from entering a building.
An entrance mat should do the following four things:
- Stop soil and water at the door. The most effective mats provide a combination of scraping and wiping to stop the maximum amount of contaminants.
- Store soil and water for removal. The most effective entrance mats are designed to provide a place for soil and water to go to for storage. It is important that the storage be designed for maximum holding and ease of removal when the mat is cleaned.
- Minimize tracking of soil and water. Minimizing tracking is best accomplished by a bi-level construction that provides an upper surface for walking and a lower area where soil and water are stored until removed by cleaning. The key to performance is the depth of the construction.
- Provide a safe surface. The mat should be slip-resistant to prevent it from moving on the floor when it is walked on. Also any water on the mat should be contained in a reservoir below the traffic surface to prevent slipping on flooring surface adjacent to the mat. Some mats have cleated surfaces on the bottom that further enhance non-skid properties and allow moisture to dry from underneath the mat.
Entrance mats may also be scraper mats that provide the first line of defense against soil. Scraper mats should always be used with other entrance mats that will provide wiping properties to remove fine soil and water from feet.
Stopping contaminants at the door not only reduces cleaning labor costs and reduces wear on floor surfaces; it also substantially reduces the need for cleaning chemicals that might be harmful to building occupants and the environment.
Larry Arnold is director of the Technical/Environmental Programs, The Andersen Company, Dalton, GA.