One Size Doesn't Fit All
By Mike Sharlow
SEPTEMBER 19, 2010
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Whether it is a hospital, airport, convention center or shopping mall, one thing many large facilities have in common is they often do not have enough matting or properly sized matting in place to effectively stop and hold soil and moisture.
Common matting is only typically available in 3-, 4- or 6-inch width and is often not the best choice when trying to protect larger areas.
Therefore, roll goods can often be the ideal choice for these large commercial facilities that receive lots of foot traffic.
Roll Goods Versus Mats
Roll goods are nothing more than oversized mats designed to protect large entrance areas and have the ability to remove more soil and moisture than smaller standard-size mats.
Roll goods are typically available in 6-foot widths and can be seamed together, creating a mat up to 12-feet wide and 50-feet long.
Other roll good products available will allow customers to cover areas up to 18-feet wide by 100-feet long.
Roll goods can be placed on the floor like traditional mats and can include logos or they can be permanently installed around columns or revolving doors, creating functionality and aesthetics.
The main problem with large facilities'' entrances is that people seldom walk straight ahead and always take the shortest path to their destination, says Gary Rubin, president of PCA Industrial and Paper Supplies Inc., located in Philadelphia.
When Rubin visits a facility, the first thing he does is observe the traffic coming into the building.
"This gives me a better idea for my recommendations and allows me to suggest alternatives," Rubin adds.
To effectively capture 85-95 percent of soil and moisture at the door, The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends a minimum of 8-10 footsteps on a mat before stepping off onto the floor in any direction.
"That typically represents at least a minimum of 12 feet of matting across large entrances," says Rubin.
An important consideration when choosing effective roll goods is that it should have a permanent bi-level surface to effectively hold and hide soil and moisture to prevent it from migrating further into the building; it should also be reinforced with rubber to prevent crushing.
Roll goods are heavier and less likely to move on the floor, creating a safer surface with less risk for tripping hazards compared to smaller mats.
The use of smaller mats creates more cleaning for the building service contractor (BSC) as a result of soil being tracked further into the building.
Also, facilities that use multiple small mats to cover large areas often create a tripping hazard, as mentioned, and expose the facility to a potential liability.
Environmental Responsibility And Savings
The use of green products continues to be an important consideration for many facilities; roll goods are no exception as manufacturers are now offering products that have carpet surfaces produced from plastic drink bottles and rubber backings from recycled car tires.
These practices reduce landfill waste by over 400 tons annually and also conserve the natural resources and energy that would normally be required for their production.
These types of mats are also a good choice for any green building program.
An ISSA study found that it costs several hundred dollars to find and remove one pound of dirt.
The BSC can also save 44 percent of its cleaning time simply by having the right size mats in the main entrance area.
Roll goods can also benefit BSCs as a result of having enough — and properly sized — matting in these high-traffic areas making their cleaning job easier, keeping their floors shiny longer and extending carpet cleaning or floor stripping cycles in other parts of the building.
Cleaning roll goods are easy for the BSC because they are typically treated just like carpet and cleaned "in place."
They should be vacuumed daily and water-extracted as needed to maintain a like-new appearance.
So, the next time you need to consider matting for your entrances, sometimes it''s better to think "outside" the box.
Mike Sharlow is region manager for The Andersen Company, manufacturer of high-performance matting. Their newest product, Waterhog Eco and Enviro Plus, features a 100 percent recycled PET Polyester carpet top reclaimed from plastic drink bottles and a rubber backings from 15-89 percent recycled rubber reclaimed from used car tires. Mike is an ISSA CIMS Certified I.C.E. and has 25 years of experience in the cleaning industry — 12 years as a BSC — and can be reached at email@example.com.