Importance of Entrance Matting Material
One of the most important things about trying to select the best entrance mat for a property, whether it’s a residential or commercial building is the material. This can have a huge impact on how durable, efficient, and cost-effective it is. To help you make the best choice, we are going to discuss in this guide the materials that are commonly used for entrance mats and why they are good options.
What Kind of Properties and Characteristics Do Different Entrance Mat Materials Have? While some materials used to make entrance mats are more effective at wicking away moisture than others, others are more crush resistant. Each material has different properties and characteristics that may not suit every application.
How Are They Manufactured?
A variety of different manufacturing methods are used to make entrance mats and these methods can have an impact on the overall performance and effectiveness of the mats. The most common manufacturing methods used include needle punch, weaving and tufting. You will find that rather than being made from just one material, some entrance mats are made from a combination so that they can benefit from a mixture of the properties provided by those materials. Some entrance mats even feature specific strips of materials, designed to collect, and wipe away moisture, brush dirt and debris away and scrape at dirt and debris.
Making Sure Your Entrance Mat is Fully Complaint
It is not just the materials and the properties they provide entrance mats with that you need to think about when making the right choice. There are also legalities to be aware of too. For example, entrance mats used in commercial buildings open to the public should be suitable for wheelchair use. This is outlined in the Equality Act 2010. That is why it is not ideal to use mats made from materials that are exceptionally soft or that have a very deep pile.
Generally, therefore most commercial building owners look to have recessed matting installed in the entrance so that it is flush with the surface of the floor. If it is not possible to have a recessed mat well, the alternative is mats that have bevelled, otherwise known as ramped, edges to help with wheelchair and buggy/pram access, while also reducing the number of trips and falls.
Although it is not exactly rocket science to understand the different materials used in entrance mats, there is more to the subject than meets the eye. That is why we have put together this guide.
The Most Common Materials Used in Entrance Matting
The most common entrance mats you will find on the market are made either solely of or a combination of natural rubber, microfibre, cotton, coir, polypropylene and nylon.
Nitrite Rubber/Natural Rubber
Rubber, most commonly nitrite rubber, is an ideal material for matting in outdoor entrances that experience a lot of heavy traffic. Compared to PVC alternatives, rubber entrance mats are less likely to crack and deteriorate easily. There are many design options for rubber matting to choose from, including mats with a textured, but solid surface and others with open holes. The opened holed variety makes for great dirt scrapers and allows any excess debris and water to fall through the holes to prevent it from becoming a tripping or slipping hazard.
Thanks to the grip rubber provide, rubber matting offers great non-slip properties. As they are also very heavy, they stay in place reasonably well, so are less likely to become a tripping hazard.
Rubber entrance mats are either made from natural rubber derived from the rubber tree or synthetic rubber known as Nitrite rubber. The advantage of nitrile rubber is that it has a longer lifespan, particularly when used in greasy or oily conditions and offers greater resistance to heat.
Natural Rubber on the other hand has greater flexibility than the synthetic option.
A synthetic material that is manufactured from fibres that are split so they are thinner than hair, microfibre is often used in matting. Although a range of different materials can be used to create microfibre, the most common form used in matting is a mixture of nylon and polypropylene. One of the biggest advantages of using microfibre is that it offers an exceptional level of absorbency due to its large surface area and design.
It has a star-shaped structure on a minuscule level that creates what is known as a capillary effect. This helps to trap dirt and moisture with amazing efficiency. Furthermore, because microfibre as a material is very fine, flexible, and soft, it can easily penetrate the hardest to reach areas on wheel treads and footwear that traditional materials can’t. Its ability to trap moisture and dirt is enhanced by the fact that a static charge is created when there is any movement across its surface that attracts debris and dirt, trapping it within the pile until it is cleaned away.
As if that wasn’t enough, another huge advantage of using microfibre is the material dries quickly. It is thought that it dries in approximately a third of the time cotton does.
Speaking of cotton, don’t easily dismiss cotton entrance matting. Cotton offers many great advantages, particularly when used in interior residential environments. Similarly, to towelling, cotton is known to be highly absorbent and fast drying. The downside is that although it is great for grease, oil, and general moisture, it is not so effective at collecting dry dirt and dust.
You will find that over time and because of usage that cotton tends to flatten. However, this can normally be resolved when it is washed.
Coir is a natural material that is derived from coconut shell husks. It has become a popular choice for entrance matting, in both commercial and residential properties, thanks to its coarse texture that makes it effective at brushing off dirt and debris. The downside of coir is that because it is not especially quick drying it can often become soiled, and it is not the most wheelchair or buggy friendly.
Made from a thermoplastic polymer, polypropylene fibres are a popular choice for entrance mats, thanks to the excellent scraping property of their abrasive surface. As well as being an exceptional dirt trapper, polypropylene mats are also more cost-effective to produce and tend to be more durable and versatile than nylon alternatives.
Polypropylene entrance mats are used most often within the leisure, hotels, hospitality, offices, and retail sectors.
A synthetic material that is often regarded as the best of the best, mats made from nylon often have a higher price tag than those made from other materials. There are various kinds of nylon, including polyamine, a popular material used in the manufacture of heavy-duty entrance mats. Nylon is especially popular in commercial use, like public transportation facilities and shopping centres where there is high traffic. It provides a soft and luxurious feel underfoot and is effective at scraping and brushing at dirt and debris. It is also incredibly resilient and crush resistant.
As it is also a hard material to impregnate, it offers greater stain and fade resistance than alternatives. Finally, as it offers fast-drying properties, it is especially effective in exterior entrance matting.
Most Popular Entrance Matting Backing Materials
In addition to the materials used for the top layers of entrance mats, it’s also important to familiarise yourself with those used in the backing. There are a few different options out there, including: