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Mats explained in 3 paragraphs
Article - commercial and industrial matting types and features

Mats for Dummies
or
How to find the right mat when you do not know what you are looking for.


Example – you need a mat for your wine cellar as you have some expensive bottles of wine and you want a mat there that would reduce chance of breaking a bottle if it happens to fall on the floor. Think of soft, and look at categories. Three somewhat fit the description – Childcare, Sports, Anti-fatigue. Now you have narrowed down the selection to choose from. Say you need to cover 500 square feet of space but you are concerned you will chose the wrong product.  It is better to buy a small piece or request samples before you make a decision involving such a large purchase.
Mats in the industry can be put in 3 categories:
1. Commercial – mats that have carpet like look but have vinyl or rubber backing (example – mats by the entrance to an office.)
2. Industrial – mats that usually serve anti-fatigue, slip resistant and surface protection purposes (example – thick mats with big holes in a restaurant kitchen or thick solid soft mats under cashiers’ feet in your local grocery store).
3. Everything else – mats that are none of the above or a little bit of both. In that case look at our categories by application (categories listed on the left). Browse our Specialty Mats section. Think of where else the mat you are looking for can be used.


Choosing commercial mats:

Rule of thumb – the sole of a shoe has to touch a mat 3 times to get most of the dirt off of it so it is recommended to have mats that are 6 feet or longer.

Things to look for:
1. Yarn - the more ounces of yarn per square yard – the better the moisture retention and durability.
2. Surface - a smooth surface is easy to vacuum. An uneven surface will better scrub the soles, but you need a good vacuum to suck the chips and sand from those ridges. If the mat you purchase is not gigantic simply pick it up and shake debris out.
3. Borders
  • Fabric covered borders – look nice but if exposed to rolling carts or heavy traffic, they will be the first ones to give
  • Flat borders – most common
  • Raised borders – borders that are higher than the rest of the mat. Very nice in areas where it snows. Borders do not let water flow off the mat so they must be drained regularly so a puddle does not form.
  • Heat sealed – mat edge is melted to prevent fraying. It would be best to get some edging where mat edge is visible.
  • 4. Backing (material) – vinyl is an inexpensive, popular, and often good option. Go for more expensive rubber backing if you have to roll the mat fairly often and especially if it will be in climate zone where temperatures are freezing or below (when cold vinyl is brittle).
    5. Backing (surface texture) – a smooth surface is recommended when placing a  mat on a hard surface. If you are placing the mat on a carpet, look for backing with nibs that will reduce mat movement.
    6. Thickness – make sure the mat you chose is not too high to interfere with smooth opening and closing of door. Commercial mats range in thickness between Ό and ½ of an inch. Most popular thickness – 3/8 of an inch.
    7. Size – most commercial mats come in standard widths of 3, 4 and 6 feet. Standard sizes are the most popular sizes (usually up to 10 feet in length) that manufacturers keep ready for immediate shipping. Custom sizes are cut from rolls and borders are attached to cut ends. On some items width can be adjusted too, but you will have to pay for full width plus cutting fee. For example, if you need a 5 x 10 feet mat, you will be charged for 6 x 10 plus cutting charge for 10 foot side. Lengths in fractions of a foot can be done (in 1 inch increments) but you will be charged for a full foot. For example, 6 x 22 feet and 2 inches will be considered  6 x 23 feet for billing purposes. There are very few mats that are wider than 6 feet. If you need a wider mat, you may want to consider carpet tiles. If you need a wide but short mat (say 10 x 4) keep in mind that you can order 4 x 10 and simply put it sideways.
    8. Price – prices range anywhere from $3 to $25 per square foot. Most popular mats are between $5 and $9/sf.
    9. Color – colors you see may deviate from actual depending on the light when pictures were taken and your computer screen setup. If color is crucial, ask for samples or order a small mat, but please be aware that there is a restocking fee for returned items.

     

    Choosing Industrial mats:
    First of all you have to decide what is the most important:
        a) anti-fatigue
        b) slip resistance
        c) surface protection

    Industrial mats are most of the time a combination of two or all three features above.

  • Anti-fatigue mats – usually a layer of vinyl bonded to a spongy backing. Thickness usually ranges from 3/8 to 1 inch. Used wherever fatigue relief is needed (barbers, cashiers, factory workers, assembly line…)
  • Slip resistance - mats that have some texture on the surface or (for ultimate slip resistance) in addition to non slip surface are coated with abrasive material that is similar to coarse sand paper. The most common anti-slip mat is a rubber mat with big holes in it (ones that are used in restaurant kitchens).
  • Surface protection – usually solid rubber or vinyl mats. Thin mats are ok when protecting surfaces from moisture or dirt but if you may have heavy objects falling or cart traffic – you may want to look for something 1/4" or thicker
    Things to look for:
    1. Size – Keep in mind that some thick mats weight 2 lbs. or more per square foot so if you occasionally need to move the mat around – make sure it is manageable weight. Look for interlocking 3x3 or 3x5 tiles. If you will be rolling things over the mat or it will be placed on an uneven surface, you may have to have it in one piece as tiles may come apart under heavier loads or when placed on uneven surfaces.
    2. Edge (ramp) – Some mats are available with ramped edges.  This is helpful to create a smooth transition for carts and foot traffic going on and off the mat.
  • 3. Chemicals – Water, alcohol, salt and sugar are the most common substances coming in contact with most anti-fatigue mats. If you are not sure of a mat's tolerance email us what chemicals are present at your location and we will help you chose a mat.
    4. Color – Workplace safety laws may require you to have colored mats. Make sure to check if there are any requirements that have to be met before buying a mat.


    Understanding Specialty Mats:

    Mats in this category run the gamut from snowy sidewalks to surgery operating rooms.

    1. Anti-static mats - Used in front of copy machines or in manufacturing facilities where high-tech circuitry needs protection from static electricity.
    2. Insulated Nonconductive mats - Insulate workers, protecting from deadly shocks generated by high voltage equipment.. They are often used near fuse boxes, transformers and high-voltage boxes.
    3. Autoclavable mats - Used in highly sterile environments such as operating rooms these mats can be heated to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for sterilization purposes.
    4. Heated Snow Melt mats - Electric mats that melt snow and ice before it can accumulate for safer, cleaner walkways.