Guest Column: Matting- The last step in the installation process

Home Columns Guest Column: Matting- The last step in the installation process

March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19

By Adam Strizzi

We hear it all too often in the professional cleaning industry: A building manager has a new floor covering installed (invariably carpeting right off the lobby floor), which after a couple of months looks just as bad as the carpet he recently replaced. Carpet cleaning technicians are brought in after about the third month and they tell the building manager that some of the spots in the new carpet are now permanent. A “permanent” spot is actually a stain, meaning it has discolored the carpet fibers and cannot be removed.

This is a real predicament for the building manager, the owner of the building and potentially the installer as well. For new product to already be permanently soiled in just a few short months is costly and burdensome. But what we find also occurs in situations like this is the building manager/owner looks to blame someone or something, and usually the fingers point to two culprits: the carpet or the carpet installer.

In reality, neither is likely to blame in such situations. Most carpet manufacturers now make quality products designed to last for years. And while many carpet problems can be tied to installation, fast soiling is not one of them.

However, the installer should not feel like he is out of the woods quite yet. The installer is likely the last person to “touch” the new floor and because of this, his last step is to advise the client on effective ways to protect the floor. Leave the actual cleaning to the professionals; we’re talking about protection. Without question, the most effective way to protect floors is with a high-performance mat.

Several years ago when the first spaces were designated LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), facilities could earn at least one credit if they had an effective, high-performance matting system installed. Today that credit has been eliminated. In its place, the USGBC now requires that an effective matting system be installed at all building entries in order for a facility to even be considered for certification. Very simply, mats keep soil and moisture outside, preventing as much as 80% of it from being walked into a facility.

The correct way to install mats

Hopefully flooring installers and retailers realize the important role mats play and that it serves all parties involved if they take a few minutes to discuss the benefits of mats with their customers.

Retailers and installers should become familiar with the “rule of 15s.” This refers to the installation of 15 feet of entry matting, but the 15 feet of matting must provide a combination of scraping and wiping mats. To do this, we install three types of mats, all 5 feet each: scraper mats directly outside a facility to scrape off larger debris; scraper/wipers installed in a vestibule between two sets of doors to further scrape and begin wiping shoe bottoms; wiper mats installed directly on lobby floors to wipe off all remaining soil and moisture.

More matting pointers

Retailers and installers should also know that some mats, such as certain scraper mats, are bi-level. What this means is that the upper “walking” surface of the mat stays clean while the lower surfaces collect soil and moisture. The purpose here is to remove the contaminants from shoe bottoms and keep them from reattaching to someone else’s shoes.

Recommending bi-level matting is strongly encouraged in areas where there is excessive rain, ice or snow. We should also suggest that your customers purchase matting from manufacturers that have been in the matting industry for some time.

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