Matting - taking a proactive approach

9th of February 2023
Matting - taking a proactive approach
Matting - taking a proactive approach

As Europe continues through winter Lee Fox, director of global business development and key accounts for Kleen-Tex, discusses how cleaning professionals can mitigate dirt and debris entering their premises by installing dedicated matting systems.

Weather experts are predicting that Europe’s upcoming winter season will be influenced by La Niña, where unusually low ocean temperatures expand across the Equatorial Pacific, creating an ocean-atmospheric feedback system that can impact temperatures and snowfall patterns. Locations across Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy and the Balkans will potentially receive more frequent rain and wind-driven events than other parts of the continent, in addition to heavy rain.

With 70 per cent of all dirt entering a building brought in by foot and wheeled traffic, and tracked-in moisture being the prime cause of accidental slips and falls on hard floor coverings, adequate floor maintenance and protection should be the starting point for all cleaning professionals’ winter maintenance plans.

The level of dirt, dust and moisture entering and travelling around a building can be successfully reduced by installing a range of floor matting systems throughout key areas. As a minimum of five metres of continuous matting should be installed to effectively minimise the amount of debris and moisture, a three-stage approach should be undertaken.

Laying the groundwork

The first zone that should be addressed is the outdoor entrance, as this provides a primary level of defence against rough grit, dirt, grease and initial moisture. Cleaning management teams should install durable weather proof floor matting that is greater than 1.2 metres in length, so that visitors make contact with both feet when entering the building to remove the highest possible levels of dirt and moisture.

For wheelchair traffic, the dimensions of the matting should be large enough for the wheels to turn twice before making contact with the flooring installed underneath. In the UK it’s also crucial to ensure the matting is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and BS 8300: 2009+A1:2010, which includes having a slip-resistant surface and firm top layer.

For busy entrances that experience high levels of traffic, fitted entrance systems that are constructed of 90 per cent recycled anodised aluminium should be considered. This is because they are considerably stronger than PVC, rubber and wired alternatives, ensuring the highest standards of both hygiene and longevity, as the rigid bases will perform for up to 40 years.

The addition of replaceable, yet high performance, polypropylene, nylon, natural coir, or rubber infills that are supplied with a 10-year guarantee consistently removes foot-borne dirt and moisture, whilst simultaneously providing the highest standards of aesthetics.

For applications where recessed entrance systems may not be suitable, the installation of solid rubber-backed mats provide an effective option, as the 100 per cent polypropylene surface can hold up to 4.5 litres of water per square metre for the highest standards of performance and functionality.

An inside job

Once the exterior entrance area has been addressed, cleaning professionals should then consider what floor matting solutions are required for the indoor entrance. This is particularly crucial for commercial buildings, which often feature hard flooring materials that are susceptible to scratches and staining. Smooth types of flooring materials, such as hardwood or tiles, also present potential slip and trip hazards if moisture is allowed into the building.

It is therefore essential that the correct floor matting system is specified to successfully alleviate these risks, by removing dirt from shoes before occupants step inside. Due to the nature of internal matting, there are a wide range of options to choose from, with different constructions and materials providing greater moisture resistance or inherent quick drying properties, whilst others products may feature heavy duty fibres for optimum durability.

Whilst suitable for exterior applications, aluminium fitted matting systems can also be installed inside the interior entrance of a building to deliver superior performance.

If management teams are looking for replaceable floor matting options that don’t require fixed installation, they should consider mats that are constructed from high-twist nylon fibres and combined with a nitrile rubber backing for unrivalled slip resistance.

Other considerations

In order to successfully mitigate the level of dirt and moisture entering the building, mats that feature pile heights of up to 9 mm, pile weights of 800 grams per square metre and dirt absorption of 950 grams per square metre should be considered. To support ongoing maintenance routines, users should choose mats that can be easily scraped or wiped and can be washed and tumble dried up to 60°C.

Whilst entrance matting may be the primary focus for professionals when creating winter maintenance plans, it is important to consider matting systems for additional areas of a building. By installing floor matting throughout the reception - in addition to communal spaces that present themselves as key transfer zones - such as lift lobbies, individuals can ensure that all areas of the building are adequately protected.

Floor mats that have a high capacity for dirt capture, whilst also offering enhanced levels of aesthetics, are a suitable choice for a diverse range of interior applications.

With 40 per cent of a commercial cleaning budget typically spent on floor maintenance, by installing a dedicated combination of interior and exterior systems throughout key areas of a building, management teams can successfully reduce cleaning maintenance requirements this winter, whilst simultaneously optimising safety and long-term flooring durability.


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