Many times facilities select mats for their entrances without much thought to the size they really need to effectively stop soil & moisture from entering the building. Because 3'x5' and 4'x6' size mats are most often seen in use. Facilities will select one of these smaller mat sizes based on this observation. We also see facilities choose a size similar to the one already in use, which may be too small as well.
So how can we help facilities make the best choice of mat size for their entrances? The first thing we must do is make sure the sales person is trained and able to do a facility survey to determine what the needs are for each entryway. Then we must consider other factors. Is the entrance a high/low traffic entrance? Does the entrance have an outside cover? Do carts and buggies come in this entrance? Is this a snowy area? Rainy? Dry?
These are a few of the considerations that need to be addressed when deciding how much matting coverage is needed.
The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends a minimum of 12 to 15 feet of coverage to remove 90% of tracked in soil. While a regional grocery store chain's insurance provider recommended a minimum of 23 to 25 feet to remove the majority of moisture entering their facilities. In both cases, the recommendation was much longer that 5 or 6 feet.
Facilities can achieve maximum coverage by utilizing a three mat system that includes an outside scrapper mat, vestibule wipe/scrape mat, and an interior wiping/finishing mat to collect the moisture and soil not stopped by the first two mats. The sizes of these mats could vary depending on the available area but should measure collectively a minimum of 15 feet.
One way to determine if the current coverage is sufficient is to look beyond the end of the mat. If there is excess soil, moisture, or wear, it is a good bet that there isn't enough coverage for the conditions. Remember it is always better to have too much coverage than not enough.