Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Trampled Underfoot

With floor care of any kind, effective matting should be more than just a maintenance remnant.

August 25, 2011

Often, facilities consider the application of floor matting for use only on hard floor surfaces — overlooking the importance of floor matting on carpeted surfaces.

Floor matting on carpeted surfaces plays an important role in keeping facilities' interiors cleaner.

Choosing The Proper Mat

The use of a permanent bi-level mat that effectively holds, hides and stores soil and moisture on hard floors will perform the same on commercial carpeted surfaces, preventing the soil and moisture from being tracked further into the building.

Consider these facts:Entrance Matting 2

  • Up to 80 percent of dust, grime and dirt in a building are tracked in from the outside on peoples' feet, permanently damaging floors and carpets
  • One square yard of carpet can accumulate one pound of dirt a week — twice that in inclement weather
  • It is estimated that the cost to find and remove a single pound of dirt from a building can run in excess of $600 dollars in cleaning costs
  • As few as 150 people entering a commercial building can track in one pound of dirt in a five-day workweek, costing over $30,000 dollars annually to remove.

This has a dramatic effect on improving indoor air quality and reducing carpet extraction frequencies, thereby saving labor and chemicals.

Another important consideration for use of high-performance matting on carpet is to prevent premature wear of the carpet fibers in high-traffic areas.

Customers can literally save thousands of dollars replacing carpet that is worn prematurely due to not using mats simply by using the proper type and length of floor matting in these areas.

Proper Length

Many facilities I visit are "under matted," meaning there simply is not enough length of matting in place to effectively capture soil and water.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends a minimum of 10 feet to 15 feet of matting before a person walks onto a carpeted or hard floor surface.

I recommend facilities use a minimum of 20 feet to effectively capture, hold and store up to 90 percent of the soil.

Walk Off MattingSeveral manufactures are now recommending three-mat systems: These high-performance matting systems include a scraper mat for use outdoors, a scraper/wiper mat for use indoors followed by a wiper/finishing mat.

Three-mat systems are very effective and can work equally well on carpet as well as hard floor surfaces.

Mats can also be color-coordinated to match a facility's décor and produced using recycled content, making them green friendly.

Consider Sustainable Matting

The use of eco-friendly materials in today's floor mats is different from the past.

Mats of the past consisted of face fabric fibers such as polypropylene or olefin and consisted primarily of vinyl backings.

While these materials are still available and used in mats today, many manufacturers are producing mats that contain recycled content from plastic reclaimed from drink bottles and backings from post-consumer recycled car tires, reducing landfill waste by over 400 tons annually.

For instance, it takes approximately 60 bottles to produce a three-foot by five-foot mat — and choosing green friendly matting does not have to cost more money either.

In fact, these mats are priced comparably to traditional mats produced with polypropylene and olefin, making the decision to purchase these products easy.

The benefit is that manufacturers can now produce products that are environmentally friendly, sustainable and are simply a more responsible choice as it conserves the natural resources and energy that would be required for their production.

Many manufacturers are also promoting recycling programs that allow customers to return to their old, worn-out, rubber-backed mats to the manufacturer.

The manufacturer, in turn, certifies that these mats won't go to a landfill and will be recycled for use in new mats, other products or for use as biofuel.

Cost ConsiderationsCalculator With Change

When choosing floor care products and equipment, cost is always an important consideration — floor mats are no different.

Facilities must take into consideration not only the initial cost of the mats, but also their return on investment.

For instance, a facility can purchase high-performance floor mats that will perform and last many years, saving them labor and materials by helping to extend their carpet cleaning cycles and the life of their tiled surfaces.

Or, they can purchase floor mats that will initially cost less but require more labor and materials, thereby costing more over time due to poor construction and ineffectiveness, which can also lead to the premature replacement of flooring surfaces.


Mike Sharlow is region manager for The Andersen Company, manufacturer of high-performance matting. Their newest products, Waterhog Eco and Enviro Plus, feature a 100 percent recycled polyester carpet reclaimed from plastic drink bottles and a rubber backing with up to 89 percent recycled rubber reclaimed from used tires. Sharlow is a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certified ISSA Cleaning Expert (ICE) with 27 years of experience in the cleaning industry — 12 years as a BSC. Sharlow can be reached at MSharlow@AndersenCo.com.