What’s in a Mat?

Proper matting can improve safety, cleanliness, and guest comfort

Businesses have many different types of floors. However, whether talking about an office building, restaurant, or retail store, there is one thing that most facility floors have in common: matting.

Matting placed at entrances and throughout many other areas of a building offer numerous advantages, including improved safety, cleanliness, and guest comfort, which in turn, benefits your brand’s image.

So what’s in a mat? And why are they made this way? It’s important to understand the numerous options, because mat composition, purpose, and placement will vary, depending on the facility.

Ideal Materials, Design, and Size

Mats need to be constructed from durable materials to withstand traffic and provide the most benefit. Some are made from 100 percent rubber, while other options include carpet mats with rubber backing. Rubber mats with antimicrobial additives provide additional protection against bacteria, mold, and biofilms. Some rubber mats may also be made from recycled rubber, which is an added bonus for facilities looking for a more sustainable mat.

The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that mats be made with beveled edges to minimize tripping and heel catching incidents. Durable materials also help prevent these accidents, because the mats will not tear as easily.

It’s also important to focus on size. Mats that are too small will not give you the coverage you desire. Alternatively, mats that are too large or too heavy may be difficult to roll, lift, or move.

Since many store-bought mats are not durable and rip easily, it’s important to discuss matting options with a commercial floor mat provider to find the most appropriate mats for your facility.

Essential Additions to Your Facility

According to the Institute of Industrial Launderers, 80 percent of dirt tracks into a building from outside. Thus, the use of mats is essential to capture dirt and liquids when people enter and walk through your building. Mats help maintain cleanliness, limit maintenance costs, and worker fatigue.

Consider placing mats in the following areas, depending on the type of facility you operate:

  • Entrances/lobbies: The bottoms of shoes can track in all types of mess, from wet mud and melting snow to gravel, salt, and sand. By trapping dirt and moisture at every building entrance and providing guests with a place to scrape their shoes, you can reduce the opportunity for these contaminants to track throughout your facility and damage valuable flooring assets.
  • High-traffic walkways: Some floors have to withstand a constant barrage of shuffling feet, rolling wheels, and heavy loads; this type of traffic can put mats to the test. High-traffic mats tend to have heavier rubber backing and are commonly seen in high-traffic areas, such as airport terminals of near elevator banks, to capture dirt.
  • Work and hostess stations/service counters: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the use of anti-fatigue mats in certain areas to improve employee comfort and productivity. These mats are specially designed and constructed to ease the physical strain that comes with long periods of standing on the job, and can help reduce stress that could lead to long-term injuries. These mats are often placed at reception, registration, check out, and customer service counters, as well as at work stations in manufacturing and distribution centers.
  • Kitchens/behind bars/gyms: These areas benefit from rubber drainage mats that have a nonslip surface; holes that allow liquids and dirt to easily pass through; and are oil, water, and grease-resistant. Durable but lightweight mats provide support for legs and feet for those who will be using them, including cooks, dishwashers, and bartenders.
  • Restrooms: Restroom mats improve image and enhance the restroom experience by eliminating puddles around urinals. Restroom mats also control odors and protect floors from damage associated with fluid from restroom drips and spills.

Making the Most of Your Mats

It’s important to properly care for mats to ensure they stand the test of time. Ignoring maintenance can affect the lifespan of mats and reduce their effectiveness at trapping dirt, limiting odors, and providing comfort.

Leave the removal and replacement of mats to a qualified service professional. Experienced professionals can determine the appropriate schedule for maintaining mats at your facility. For instance, a small office will need to replace matting less frequently than a busy restaurant or bar.

Protecting More Than Just Your Floor

Matting provides a wide range of benefits that keep facilities looking great and employees feeling great. Placing matting in key areas and maintaining it will also ensure high levels of cleanliness.

Posted On July 25, 2016

John Engel

Director of Marketing for Cintas' Facility Services Division

John Engel is director of marketing for Cintas’ Facility Services division. He has more than 12 years of industry experience and is responsible for product line management and development. For more information about facility services offerings from Cintas, visit


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