Cost Considerations in Entrance Matting
One of the largest sources of interior degradation in hotels and restaurants is caused by soil and moisture carried into your establishment by footwear. 85% of dirt and moisture enters a building this way, equating to around 0.58g per person on a dry day, multiplied up to 10 times in wet conditions. Without adequate matting, 42% of a floor’s finish can be removed within the first six feet of an entrance after only 1,500 people have walked in.
In addition to wear and tear, dirt and moisture on floors increase the risk of slips and falls and consequential compensation costs as well as resulting escalating cleaning bills.
Entrance matting systems are not only the most effective way of removing dirt before it enters buildings but also perform a variety of value adding functions. In particular, entrance matting which has been selected to meet specified criteria, such as the building’s location, the level and type of traffic through or the local weather, will reduce the risks of falls and accident litigation. The systems lower the cleaning requirements resulting in reduced through-life costs.
Entrance matting normally consists of two ’zones’ – a scraper matting system and a secondary zone of moisture-grabbing matting. The scraper system removes, hides and retains dirt, preventing soil tracking while maintaining the appearance of the entrance. The secondary zone takes off moisture and finer soil and conceals this to prevent tracking into the building.
Scraper systems need also to be easy to maintain, and the usual choice is between natural fibres, cut pile fibres and dedicated scraping systems. Natural fibres such as coir or cocoa matting have semi-open single point bristles. Cut pile fibre consists of tightly packed vertical pile brush, while dedicated scraping systems consist of an open structure with continuous filament loops or scraping peaks.
In the secondary zone, specifiers can choose from three types of material: nylon – with its excellent resistance to abrasive wear, crushing and stains; wool mixes - which retain their appearance better but offer limited wear resistance; or polypropylene - which is cheaper but offers limited scope for styling, has lower pile recovery and often attracts oily soil.
Choosing the most cost-effective option
The savings to be made from the cost of cleaning alone should be a major factor in choosing entrance matting which will stop dirt and moisture ingress. With underspecified or inferior entrance matting it could cost up to £500 to remove just 1kg of tracked in dirt. As an example, in the case of a building with a daily footfall of 1,000 people who could bring in up to 5.8 kg of tracked in dirt every day, the cost of removing this dirt could be as high as £2,900.
Another important factor affecting the selection process is one of early replacement. In addition to causing an escalation in cleaning costs, inferior or underspecified matting is likely to need earlier replacement than more effective matting and this should be factored into the whole life costs. The durability of matting is affected by such things as the strength of the fibre anchorage and pile depth – greater being better. Also, the general construction of the mat is an important consideration. For instance, dual fibre loop pile, as opposed to the cut pile of a traditional carpet, is more effective at channelling dirt and moisture and this aids the longevity of the matting.
While on the subject of entrance matting construction, well known brands are not always the best choice. One of the best known products on the market has a construction based on rubber with ’tufts’ of infill. This particular product is known in the industry to last a long time. Unfortunately, due to its nature it wears very quickly and, while the product in place lasts a long time, the fact that it is rubber means there is no water absorption whatsoever.
An entrance mat’s dirt and water trapping capabilities are vital when it comes to avoiding the re-tracking problem found with many traditional cut pile mats. If the soil sits on top of the matting, on a rainy day the re-tracking problem is a major issue with degradation of the flooring through the walking in of grit. The associated cost resulting from this degradation, together with the expense of additional cleaning to remove this grit, must be taken into account.
Rent or buy?
The answer to the rent or buy question is one of simple maths. A typical rental mat of a popular size of around 0.9 x 1.5m is likely to cost the user around £2.75 per mat per week. As a comparison, entrance matting such as 3M’s Aqua 8500, would cost around £100 for a similar size mat and this would last approximately five years, equating to a substantial saving after the first year.
One final point is that matting will only perform as well as it is maintained. A simple cleaning regime, based on routine cleaning with periodic deep cleaning, will ensure optimal performance.