Glenn Rasin

By: Glenn Rasin on December 9th, 2019

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Commercial Floor Mats 101: What are the Different Types of Floor Mats & Where to Use Them

Commercial floor mats are placed both inside and outside of your facility to protect your floors and your occupants. 

Floor mats are used in many different types of facilities including schools, hospitals, and retail stores to prevent slip, trip, and fall accidents. 

They are also used to protect the floors from abrasive soils, liquids, and harsh chemical compounds, like ice melt or oils from being tracked throughout your facility.  

Understanding the importance of mats throughout your business is important for preventing slip and fall injuries and keeping your facility looking its best. Not all mats perform the same and each type has its respective use. 

A proper matting program will greatly impact how cleaning is performed within your facility and how much it costs your facility. 

You may look at the cost of a matting program and dismiss it because of the upfront investment. But, the reality is that commercial floor matting can actually save you money in labor and floor maintenance costs over time. 

Without a proper matting program your staff will end up spending more time and money on soil removal procedures like vacuuming or removing scratches from your floor finish.

90% of soil in any given building is “tracked in” from outside and 85-90% of the dirt from outdoors can be stopped from entering your building with proper entry matting. The best way to ensure you have a clean facility is to prevent soil from entering into it.

At the entryway, mats are the first line of defense for your facility's floors

But mats are not limited to entryways. Commercial floor mats should also be placed in areas throughout your facility that are prone to spills or slippery areas. Some spill-prone areas where slips and falls are a high risk include the cafeteria or break room where there are self-serve soda machines and sinks, or in commercial kitchens where there is oil and grease.

Choosing the best mat for your facility based on location and application can be confusing. In this article, we review the different types of mats and where each is used to help you better protect your facility. 

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Types of Commercial Floor Mats

Entrance Mats 

Entrance mats are the first line of defense in a soil control program. 

Where to Use: 

Entry matting should be placed both inside and outside the building entryway. A visitor should be able to take about 8 to 10 steps on the entry matting before reaching your unprotected floor. This typically calls for about 15 feet of matting outside and an additional 15 feet inside your building.

Features: 

They are commonly made from nylon, polypropylene, olefin, vinyl or a blend of fabrics.

Entrance Mats

Commercial entrance mats have some pattern such as a raised “waffle”, “diamond ridge”, or “ribbed” feature to improve dirt collection from shoes. 

Entrance mats will have a “water dam” border to retain moisture and keep floors dry. 

They have either vinyl or rubber backing to prevent mat movement on carpeted and hard floors. Rubber backing also provides resistance to grease, oils, abrasive soils, and other liquids.

Pro Tip: Entry mats have a limit to the amount of dirt that they can hold. Mats that are too full are not effective at removing dirt from guest’s shoes and allow for the soil to be tracked beyond the entrance of your facility.

Scraper Mats

Scraper MatScraper mats are heavy-duty mats that are typically made from rubber.

Where to Use: 

Scraper mats are typically placed outside of a facility’s entrance.

They should also be used if your facility has a vestibule or air gap.

Features: 

Rubber floor mats typically have raised surfaces or “fingers”  to help “scrape” dirt, moisture, and other debris off of shoes.

Scraper mats absorb some moisture. Their surface also provides increased traction when wet to minimize the risk of falls.

They are not typically affected by grease or oil, helping to protect guests from slippery hard floor surfaces.

Equipped with rubber or vinyl backing these mats provide added slip resistance. The backing can be smooth for hard floors or cleated for added gripping strength when placed on carpeted floors. 

Wiper Mats

Wiper MatWiper mats are made from tough fabrics such as olefin and microfiber.

Where to Use: 

Wiper floor mats are typically used in conjunction with scraper mats for best results. They should be placed just inside the entryway to your facility.

Features: 

They are designed to absorb water and trap small dirt and dust particles.

Wiper mats will have a vinyl or rubber backing to help secure the mat to the floor to prevent the mat from moving and creating its own slip and fall hazard.

Anti-Fatigue Mats

Anti-Fatigue

These mats are designed to reduce the stress on your staff’s feet and legs when standing in the same position or area for long periods of time. They feature a layered design and core to enable controlled compression during use. The mats are “squishy” and as they are stepped on they compress to help stimulate the muscles of the feet, legs, and lower back.

Where to Use: 

Anit-fatigue floor mats are ideal for areas in your facility where employees are expected to work on their feet for extended periods of time. 

Some examples include: 

  • Restaurant Kitchens 
  • Laboratories
  • Workspaces 
  • Behind Retail Counters 
  • School Cafeterias

These commercial mats can be used in wet and dry areas to provide increased traction for employees. 

Features: 

Anti-fatigue mats promote better weight distribution and lessen the impact on feet and legs, promoting better circulation. By reducing worker fatigue, you are increasing worker productivity and lowering your labor costs. 

Oil Absorbent Mats

Absorbent MatAs the name suggests, these mats are built to contain oil and grease to prevent slips and falls.

Where to Use: 

Oil absorbent mats are best used in facilities where oil or grease is present. 

They can be used in commercial garages or warehouses where machinery can leak oil or gas.  

These mats can also be found in commercial kitchens.

Features:

Depending on your floor type, oils and grease can damage or stain floors if not contained. 

Commonly made from cotton pile and a rubber base, oil absorbent floor mats trap and prevent slippery oils and grease from being tracked throughout your facility. 

These mats are typically gray or black in color to mask leaks or spills. They can tolerate liquids including oil, coolants, grease, and water.  

They have a rubber backing and border for grease and oil control. 

Drainage Mats

Drainage MatDrainage mats feature holes or slots to let liquids easily pass through.

Where to Use:

These commercial mats are found in: 

  • Restaurant Bars
  • Food Processing Facilities 
  • Commercial Kitchens

Features: 

Drainage mats channel water down to the floor, keeping the mat mostly dry. This is critical in areas where workers need increased slip and fall protection. 

Pro Tip: Some drainage mats can be purchased with anti-fatigue properties.


Final Thoughts

Utilizing the right floor mat in each area or areas of your facility will reduce the amount of dirt entering your facility, help protect your floors from damage, and lower the number of slip, trip, and fall accidents. 

Without the proper matting system, your guests can track abrasive soils or liquids inside of your facility causing damage, increasing the likelihood of slip & fall accidents, and increasing your cleaning expenses. 

Commercial floor mats will also help keep the interior floors clean and dry, lowering the number of times you will need to perform restorative maintenance procedures, like stripping and refinishing your hard floors or performing carpet extraction on carpeted floors. 

To help you better understand each type of commercial mat we put together a quick reference guide.

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About Glenn Rasin

Glenn Rasin is the Chemical Specialist for EBP Supply Solutions and Lead Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He is an ISSA CMI-certified trainer, with over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.