Wintertime In The City (and your vestibule!)
If you live in Maryland or the Virginia/DC area, no doubt you enjoyed the majestic 8–12-inch snowstorm to kick of the 2022 New Year. Also, no doubt, if you oversee maintenance/facilities at a public building you dreaded the cleanup afterwards. I can only imagine how daunting of a task this could be. I’m sure there are numerous things to take into consideration such as staffing logistics, financial implications, safety concerns, and the list goes on. Where does flooring fall on that list?
I had an appointment today; it was in a suite on the 3 rd floor of an office building. I was surprised to see the salt/snow melt tracked all the way to the 3 rd floor (see figure 2). All the way from the entrance sidewalk, through the vestibule double doors (entry mat), the lobby (tile), into the elevator (also tile), and onto the carpet outside of said elevator. It even continued through the corridor into the actual office suite. What a mess!! Someone inevitably was tasked with cleaning it up.
Figure 1 -Vestibule (example of an INSUFFICIENT entry system)
Figure 2 – 3rd Floor Outside Elevator
I know there is no way to control this issue 100%, but I can say for a certainty that the 10 or so feet of walk off mat material between the double entrance doors was not enough. The walk off mat, or entrance mat is very much the unsung hero of a commercial building. If instituted correctly, this can protect against liability from slips/falls, promote healthy indoor air quality & reduce maintenance costs. What is recommended when it comes to an entrance matting system? In order to remove 100% of debris from shoes, 30 feet of entry matting material is required. THIRTY FEET. According to the website matsinc.com “An entrance system of scraping and drying products will remove up to 10 times more dirt and moisture than a carpet mat alone”. They recommend a “Zone” system, comprised of 3 entry zones prior to “Zone 4” which is the Interior. Zone 1 being the Exterior: this area should have an aggressive scraping product. Zone 2 is the Vestibule: the area between the exterior and interior doors, this area should not only scrape off soil but also absorb moisture. And Zone 3 is the Lobby. A nylon or polypropylene roll good product could potentially be a good fit for this type of area. Please visit www.matsinc.com for additional information regarding their Zone system and their product offering. They are a great resource for all things entry ways.
There are many types of entrance matting material available these days. You have the ever-popular aluminum entrance grilles and grates and can come with or without fiber inserts, there are roll good products that can be permanently installed, carpet tiles, custom logo mats, walk-off mats and runners, along with many other specialty products. Each product having a specific type of area where it performs best. The specification of an entrance system should be specific to your building size and use, traffic patterns, the weather in your area, and your maintenance plans. Corridor Flooring Associates would be happy to help you choose a system that will properly suite your facility and prevent snow melt from being tracked throughout your entire building!
Figure 3 – Custom logo mat installed by Corridor Flooring Associates
Logo mats are one type of product that can be fun as well as functional and are entirely underused in my opinion. They can add an upgraded appearance to your lobby, as well as provide corporate branding, or wayfinding. School pride can be displayed with a logo mat brandishing your mascot. And in the new world of social distancing; custom logo mats can be made to denote the safe standing distance. The possibilities are endless.
In their maintenance instructions, commercial flooring manufacturers such as Tarkett, Mannington, and Shaw Contract all require entrance matting systems be utilized to both remove soil and absorb moisture, which in turn protects their products that are installed. It is very important to know what is required so that you are not jeopardizing your material warranty. This information can generally be found on the manufacturer’s website under “technical documents” and “maintenance instructions”. Please feel free to reach out to us if you need help finding or obtaining that information.
Whatever you choose to install in your entrance; another important step is maintaining that system. A heavily soiled, crushed and matted down entry mat cannot possibly be effective at removing soil from your shoes. Dirt and debris in your entry way will migrate throughout your space. You must keep this area clean. At certain times of the year (i.e.. Wintertime in Maryland), this may mean vacuuming this area several times a day and possibly even taking additional steps to remove the ice melt product.
Don’t be Figure 1 and 2. Be sure to choose an entrance system that protects the flooring in the remainder of your building, promotes healthy air quality and limits liabilities from falls! Corridor Flooring Associates is available as a resource to assist with this process.