So how can we help facilities make the best choice of entrance mat size for their building? We need to consider the two major factors. First of all, is the entrance a high (500+ people) or low traffic (100-200 people) entrance? Secondly, what are the general weather conditions for this location? Cold and snowy like Minneapolis? Or hot and wet like Miami?
The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends a minimum of 12 to 15 feet of coverage to remove 90% of tracked in soil! A major grocery store chain’s insurance provider recommended a minimum of 23 to 25 feet to remove the majority of moisture entering their facilities. In either case, the recommendation was far more than what is typically used.
Many times facilities select entry mats without much thought to the size they really need to effectively stop soil and moisture from entering the building. 3′ x 5′ and 4′ x 6′ size mats are most often seen in use and thought to be large enough to do a difficult job. They are often installed horizontally, which places either 3’ or 4’ of walking surface for each of these sizes. A 3’ x 5’ or 4’ x 6’ entrance mat placed horizontally can be walked over in one stride and only one foot will make contact with the surface of the mat!
We also see facilities choose an entrance mat similar to the size already in use, which may be too small. The correct amount of matting needed to effectively control tracked in dirt at the front door is more often under applied.
Incoming visitors feet should make three contacts with the surface of the mat with each foot to effectively remove 85 – 90% of the debris on the bottom of shoes. The average persons stride is 2.5’ per step. To accomplish the three contact goal a minimum of 12 – 15 feet of matting is needed. Facilities can achieve maximum coverage by starting outside the entrance with an aggressive scrapper entrance mat and continuing inside with an interior wiping mat. It’s simple, three contacts per foot with scrape and dry performance. The sizes of these mats could vary depending on the available area but should measure collectively a minimum of 12 – 15 linear feet.
One way to determine if the current coverage is sufficient is to look beyond the interior end of the mat. If there is excess soil, moisture, or wear, it is a good bet that there isn’t enough coverage for the conditions the product is being subject to. Remember it is always better to have too much entrance mat coverage than not enough. Each linear foot of mat applied can save you hundreds of dollars in maintenance costs per year!