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The Ultimate Entrance Matting Buyers GuideWaterhog Plus Entrance Mat Close Up

There are many different types of entrance matting products out there and trawling through them all, researching all of the different features and benefits of each product, can take up far too much of your valuable time. That’s why we’ve put together the entrance matting buyer’s guide to demystify the process and to help you choose the right mats for your entrances.

This is a comprehensive guide, so we’ve divided it into sections to hopefully make it easier to digest. Of course we understand that, despite our best efforts, sometimes you can’t beat talking to someone. So, if at any stage you want some more help, bear in mind you can always speak to one of our mat specialists by calling 0800 1 80 40 24, or by using the Live Chat button on our Mats4U website during normal UK office opening times.

If you prefer, you can download a PDF of the guide here: Click to download file


SECTION A: What should entrance matting do?

SECTION B: Outdoor, Indoor or Covered Outdoor?

SECTION C: What size of entrance mat do I need for it to be effective?

SECTION D: How dry, wet or muddy is the entrance area?

SECTION E: The various types of entrance matting

SECTION F: Entrance mat Aesthetics

SECTION G: Cleaning and maintaining entrance mats

SECTION H: The 3 mat entrance system

SECTION I: How long will my mat last?

SECTION J: Entrance matting and DDA regulations

SECTION K: What to do next

SECTION A: What should entrance matting do?

For an entrance mat to be effective it needs to do the following 4 things:

  • Prevent dirt and moisture coming into the building

    Entrance matting needs to scrape footwear to remove dirt and mop up moisture to leave footwear dry.

  • Hold onto dirt and moisture until it can be cleaned

    An entrance should collect the dirt and moisture it removes and store it within the mat until it can be cleaned away at a later time.

  • Stop dirt and moisture being tracked off the mat

    As subsequent traffic passes over the mat, an entrance mat should prevent any collected dirt and moisture being transported off the mat.

  • Provide a safe walking surface

    The mat should not cause slips, trips or falls and should allow a smooth transition onto, over and off the mat.

Mat with Autumn Leaves


SECTION B: Outdoor, Indoor or Covered Outdoor?

The environment in which you place an entrance mat will determine the type of mat you should buy. A mat designed to soak up water should not be placed outside, because your visitors will end up walking over something resembling a damp sponge when the weather is wet. Likewise, an all rubber scraper mat will do very little to remove fine dirt and moisture if used indoors.

Outdoor Entrance Mat:

Your outdoor entrance mat needs to be constructed out of a material which is resistant to all types of weather and will remain effective in various weather. This mat is your first line of defence so it needs to be able to remove heavy dirt, mud, sand and grit. The mat should be drainable, allowing water to flow away from the surface of the mat and not be held on the mat.

An all rubber mat with raised scraper nubs and drainage holes is usually the preferred choice for an outdoor entrance mat. Rubber is very durable and will not crack, split or curl whatever the weather throws at it.

Click here to view our range of Outdoor Entrance Mats

Outdoor Entrance Mats 

Outdoor Rubber Scraper Entrance Mat

Indoor Entrance Mat:

This is your main entrance mat, it needs to be able to stop both the dirt and water getting into your building. This mat needs to do the majority of the work, or it may have to do all of the work if this is your only mat.

Even though we recommend having more than one entrance mat (see our 3 mat entrance system in section H later), we know that the majority of people only have one entrance mat in place. If this is you, then make sure you invest in one that will perform well. It is a false economy to have a cheaper, less effective mat, because you’ll end up paying more in cleaning costs, replacing damaged floors and carpets and an increased risk of slips and falls.

It’s best to choose an indoor entrance mat with raised sections to wipe and scrape footwear and it should have a fabric top which is able to soak up and contain moisture. You may need to regularly clean this mat, so that it doesn’t become saturated with dirt and water. So we advise you to check that the mat is easy to clean.

Click here to view our range of Indoor Entrance Mats

 Indoor Entrance Mat

Indoor Entrance Mat

Covered Outdoor Entrance Mat:

You may have a covered outdoor area that requires a mat, for instance underneath a canopy. The area may be near total or only partially covered, or perhaps it is only exposed to the elements if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. In such a situation it may be difficult to decide if an outdoor entrance mat or indoor entrance mat is best.

We recommend you buy an entrance mat which is quick drying, one that remains effective in all temperatures and one that will remove heavy dirt, mud, sand and grit. You need a rubber backed mat that will not rot, crack, split or curl in varying temperatures.

A ‘bi-level mat’, i.e. one with an upper level to scrape / wipe and a lower level for the dirt to fall to, will be ideal. Look for a mat with raised scraper nubs to remove the heavy dirt that this mat will be faced with.

Click here to view our range of mats suitable for partially covered entrances


SECTION C: What size of entrance mat do I need for it to be effective?

The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends a minimum of 12-15 feet (3.6 – 4.5m) of entrance matting to remove 90% of tracked in soil. An insurance provider for a regional grocery store chain, recommended a minimum of 22-25 feet (6.7 – 7.6m) to stop most of the moisture entering their facilities.

The majority of entrances we come across do not have anywhere near this amount of entrance matting. In fact the most popular entrance mat size purchased in the UK are 3x5 and 4x6 foot mats. You can often judge if your current mat is the right length or not by looking a little beyond the edge of the mat. If you can see soil, moisture or damage to the floor at the end of the mat, then you can assume that the coverage is not right for the circumstances.

It’s fair to say that not all entrances can accommodate such a long length of matting, there may be obstacles preventing this from being possible, for example. However we know that many people purchase a mat size based on looks alone and this is the pitfall that you need to avoid.

To remove the most amount of dirt and water, we recommend that you buy the largest mat that you can for your entrance. People do not wipe their feet, so you want people to take as many steps on your matting as possible.

Entrance Mat used in shopping centre 

Entrance mats used in combination in a shopping centre


There are more factors that you need to consider when deciding on the size of matting you need, including:

  1. Is this a busy entrance?
  2. Do push chairs, trollies or buggies come through this entrance?
  3. Is the entrance and area outside generally wet?
  4. Do people walk through your entrance and away in multiple directions?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you are going to need more matting in place for it to be as effective.

To help you increase the length of your matting, you can use more than one entrance mat. For example you can use an outdoor entrance mat, combined with an indoor entrance mat and a final finishing mat. The most effective entry mat systems will have more than one type of mat in place, so consider this as best practise. See SECTION H of this guide to learn about our recommendations for a 3 mat entry system.

If you are really restricted in the length of matting you can purchase, then get the biggest mat that will fit and ensure you get the best quality entrance matting you can. This will ensure you have mats which will do the best job possible within the constraints. You can also place more mats around your building after the entrance. These will help to mop up any dirt and moisture that your entrance mat couldn’t remove, as people make their way around your building.

 Interior Entrance mats to remove moisture

Interior Entrance mats placed around building to remove more dirt and moisture


SECTION D: How dry, wet or muddy is the entrance area?


Dry area entrance mats

Dryer areas will generally have finer dirt and dust to cope with. You should look for an entrance mat that is able to remove fine dirt and hold onto it, such as a mat with a tighter fibre face. Choose a cotton mat or a mat with a twisted nylon fibre, which will scrape footwear and then move the dirt to the foot of the mat where it can be contained. Otherwise the dirt will sit on top and be tracked in as more people walk over it.

Effective dust control mats help improve the air quality in your building. Poor air quality can cause and negatively affect those with respiratory problems.

View our selection of Dust Control Entrance Mats here


 Entrance Mat collecting sand

Sand collected in the lower level of a bi-level mat


Wet area entrance mats

Ensure the mat has good absorbency properties. You may need a longer length of matting if the area is particularly wet. Cotton mats are very absorbent, but they are slow to dry.

You need to consider if you have a low foot traffic or high foot traffic wet entrance area. If the area isn’t very busy, a cotton mat may be ideal, because it will have time to dry. If there is a lot of traffic, then the mat will become overloaded in wet weather and will not be able to contain the water. You will end up having to replace and clean the mat more often for it to remain effective. For busier areas, look for a mat constructed mainly with nylon.

For areas that are particularly wet, or when it snows, we recommend you use a bi-level mat with a dam system. Mats with a dam system have raised rubber edges to contain liquid on the mat and prevent it spilling off the edge. A bi-level mat will allow the water to fall to the lower level, whilst people walk on the upper level and not through the water itself.

In very wet areas you may need a finishing mat after your bi-level entrance mat to help with the drying process.


Muddy area entrance mats

Where heavy dirt and mud is an issue, we suggest you combine an outdoor mat with an indoor bi-level entrance mat.  The outdoor mat should have reinforced raised scraper nubs with drainage holes. This will remove heavy dirt and mud and allow it to fall to a lower level where it will not be tracked into the building. The indoor bi-level mat should also have raised scraper nubs to remove the dirt and collect it in the lower level of the mat. It will need a quick drying fabric face which dries footwear or wheeled traffic.

We recommended placing an additional finishing mat after the bi-level mat to remove any finer dirt left and to mop up any remaining moisture.

Cleaning your entrance mats in a muddy area will need to be frequent, so choose mats which are simple to clean with a hose or pressure washer and are quick drying. Some mats are labelled as launderable, but if you have a large sized mat you will need to go to a commercial laundry to get the mat cleaned. You may need to use a carpet extraction machine instead. See the cleaning and maintenance of entrance mats in section G of this guide.

 Entrance Mats for mud

SECTION E: The various types of Entrance Matting

Rubber Backed or Vinyl Backed Entrance Mats:

You can get some very cheap entrance mats on the market nowadays and these normally come with a PVC / Vinyl backing. The more expensive mats tend to come with a rubber backing. There is a reason for the price differential.

PVC / Vinyl mats are not as durable and are more liable to split, crack or curl up at the edges with use. They tend to move around on the floor more too, especially smaller mats on hard floors.

Rubber has a natural grip to it, which means that rubber backed mats are less likely to move from where they are placed. Rubber is more flexible and will return back to its original state if folded or curled up. It has more give, so is less likely to split or crack. This is why the higher quality mats tends to be made with a rubber backing.

If you have a very low traffic entrance and are happy to replace your mats more frequently, then cheaper vinyl backed mats may be suitable for you. Bear in mind that it may be a false economy buying a cheaper mat. Replacement costs potentially outweigh the benefits of buying a better quality mat which will last a lot longer and do a better job.

We recommend you choose a rubber backed entrance mat for a better quality product if your budget allows.

 Cracked Cheap vinyl backed mat

Cheap vinyl mats can crack at the edges

Vitrile rubber / Hybrid mats

We have noticed mats constructed with a mixture of vinyl and rubber coming onto the market recently. Vitrile (a mix of nitrile rubber and vinyl) is one example. You need to look at the specifications of such products and see how much rubber content is used in the making of the mat. The quality may be compromised as a result. If in any doubt about the quality always ask for a sample of the mat. You will then be able to see, feel and test it out for yourself.

Bi-level and flat entrance mats

The most effective entrance mats at stopping dirt and water have a bi-level construction. This is because the upper surface scrapes and wipes footwear, and the lower level collects the dirt and moisture for later removal by cleaning. These mats stop dirt and water tracking off the mat as more people pass over the mat, due to the fact they are walking above the dirt and water, rather than through it.

 Bi-level Entrance Mat 

Bi-level mats tend have a ribbed construction or use raised nubs to create the two levels. Bi-level mats constructed with a rubber reinforced raised section, rather than the raised sections being created through additional fabric, maintain their raised construction and therefore remain more effective for a longer period of time.

Single level mats are often better at drying.  This is due to the fact that more of the mat is in contact with the shoe, or wheel, as it passes over the mat. If you choose a single level mat, then choose one with a twisted nylon pile. This helps dirt and water filter to the bottom of the mat, so it is less likely to be tracked off. Twisted nylon also helps the pile ‘bounce-back’, which means the mat is less likely to crush down over time and become less effective.

 Twisted Nylon Construction Entrance Mat

Twisted Nylon Mats help dirt filter to the base of the mat


Cotton vs Nylon / man-made fibres

Cotton mats are excellent at mopping up moisture and removing fine dirt and dust. The downside is that cotton takes a long time to dry. If you have a low traffic entrance area then a cotton mat may be suitable, but if you have a busier entrance, on wet days in particular, the mat will struggle to dry in time and will not be as effective.

Nylon mats are not quite as good at drying wet footwear, but they are very hardwearing and dry out quickly. As such, they are the preferred choice for busy entrance areas. You will need a larger nylon constructed mat to do the same amount of drying as cotton, but it is less likely to become overloaded with water over time.


Coir / Coconut Entrance Mats

We do not recommend using coir / coconut matting for entrance mats in general. They are a popular choice for placing in mat wells, because they are simple to cut to size and have a natural look which is appealing. However coir mats wear down quickly, particularly in busy entrances, which often results in an unsightly worn path appearance down the centre of the mat.

Coir is very difficult to clean and falls foul of recommendations in the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) as discussed later in Section J.

Coir Coconut Entrance Mats 

Coir / Coconut Entrance matting looks great, but can wear down very quickly

Scraper or Dryer Entrance Mats

Mats with raised nubs or raised profiles (bi-level) will tend to have more scraping properties than flat mats which tend to have more drying properties.

You can get scraper mats with harder filaments in the mat face, normally constructed from a dense nylon, which aggressively scrape footwear. These can prove to be very effective at removing dirt.

The best scraper mats are generally bi level. If the entrance area is particularly dirty, then combine the mat with an outdoor rubber scraper mat which will take off a lot of the heavy mud and dirt beforehand.

The best drying mats will often use cotton in their construction due to cotton’s excellent absorption abilities. If you have a generally wet entrance area, then a flat mat will be a good choice. However if the area gets extremely wet or there is a lot of dirt and mud, then a bi-level mat with a dam to contain the water should be your preferred choice. You can combine the bi-level mat with a finishing mat laid after it, which will help to dry traffic.

Rubber Scraper Entrance Mats

Rubber Entrance Mat



Loose lay mats

The most common type of mat is a loose lay mat. No installation required here, just roll the mat out and place it wherever you need it. Normally only available in standard set sizes, but nowadays suppliers will be able to make you a special size should you require. However this tends to come at an additional cost.

Ensure you get a loose lay mat with a good gripper backing, such as a rubber backing, especially if the mat is fairly small. This will help to ensure minimal mat movement as people travel over the mat.

Loose Lay Entrance Mat 

Loose Lay Entrance Mat


Entrance mat tiles and Modular system entrance mats

Tiled mats can be put together like a jigsaw to fit areas of any size or shape. They are the preferred choice if you have a very large entrance area to cover, or if there are obstacles in the way which would stop a complete mat being placed down.

They have a big advantage over other types of matting due to the fact that if a tile becomes damaged or worn, you can simply lift the individual tile and replace it without having to replace the whole system.

Some systems have bevelled edging which can be fixed around the edges to help reduce the likelihood of trips and falls and to help wheeled traffic pass smoothly over the mat. Without edging, tiles are designed to be placed flush to a wall or recessed into a mat well so that they are level with the surrounding floor.

Many large shopping centres, train stations and public buildings prefer to use modular system entrance mats over loose lay mats, because they can be fixed to the floor and used to cover large areas.

Modular Tiled Entrance Mats 

 Modular Tiled Entrance Mats fitted into a recess

Fixed mats

Mats may be fixed to the floor in a variety of ways. Special frames exist which are bolted or glued to the floor and the mat sits within the frame. Alternatively the mat itself may be glued, screwed or nailed to the floor.

If using glue, ensure that the glue is suitable for the material used in the mat. You also need to be aware of the damage you may do to the floor when it comes to removing or replacing the mat.

Entrance Mat fitted into a Frame

Entrance Mat fitted into a Frame 

Well mats / Recess mats

If you have a mat well, you need mats which can be made to measure or cut to size in order to fit within the well. Modular entrance mats / entrance mat tiles are a good choice for placing in mat wells because they are simple to cut to fit and install.

You can also buy mats made to measure for wells. We recommend buying mats which are slightly oversize, so that you trim them to fit when you install them in the well. This ensures a snug fit, but will also take into account any manufacturing size tolerances which are common with mats.

Mats wells / recesses come in various depths which you need to take into account to ensure the mat to lays level with the floor surrounding it. The most common depth for a mat well is 17mm, but most mats are not this deep so you will need to raise them up. You can reduce the depth of a mat well by one of two ways. You can either fill in the existing well to the desired height using a filler or floor screed.  Or, alternatively, a cheaper, easier method is to buy a piece of marine plywood of suitable thickness, cut to size, and placed in the well to achieve the required depth.

View our Mats for Wells / Recesses here

 Well Entrance Mat

Well / Recess Entrance Mat


Metal Entrance Mat Systems

There are many metal entrance mat systems on the market today and these are a popular choice for busy retail environments and public buildings. This is due to the fact that metal is very hard wearing and the mats are fixed to the floor and so are unlikely to move.

These mats can be very costly to install, but, once in place, can be very attractive and can be used in many different shapes and sizes.

The downside to metal entrance matting systems is that the non metal part of the system, the fabric sections, wear down over time and as they do so become lower than the metal ridges. This means that they become less effective at scraping and drying and can become slippery in wet weather.

Replacing these mats can be quite costly, when compared with the other mat options we have discussed above. As long as you keep a close eye on the wear and tear of the fabric sections on these systems and have the budget for higher replacement costs, metal entrance systems can be an effective and an undeniably attractive option.

Metal Entrance Mat System

Metal Entrance Mat System 


SECTION F: Entrance mat Aesthetics

You want your entrance mat to look good. It is one of the first things that your visitors will notice as they step foot through your entrance and it can make an impression on how they view your company or business.

Entrance mats nowadays come in a large variety of colours and sizes. You can also find entrance mats with different patterns, shapes and styles to compliment your look, brand or decor.

Logo mats

An increasingly popular choice of entrance mat is a logo mat.  Logo mats can be printed with your logo, sometimes accompanied with a welcome message or statement about your business. Practically any image or message can be printed on a mat nowadays, so it’s not all about branding.

Logo mats nowadays can accommodate more complex logos and offer even more colours as standard.

Although we think that all businesses should consider having a logo mat for their business, we do not recommend that you use a logo mat as your main entrance mat unless you are willing to clean and replace it often and you don’t mind people walking dirt over your logo.

You should place a good quality entrance mat in front of your logo mat to take off the majority of the dirt and water beforehand. Alternatively place your logo mat by your reception area instead.

View our range of Logo Mats here


Logo Entrance mats

Logo Entrance mats can improve the look of your entrance considerably


Shaped mats

Gone are the days where you have to stick with a square or rectangular mat. Semi circular and circular mats are more popular than ever. Circular mat systems are often fitted in frames around revolving doors.

Many shaped entrance mat areas are achieved by using modular mat systems to fit within a mat frame or recess. Some suppliers now offer loose lay entrance mats in custom shapes which can make an entrance area look more inviting.

Before deciding on choosing any old shape, you need to ensure that the entrance mat will be effective. You want people to take as many steps on the mat as possible so that it will remove the dirt and water coming into your building. Rectangular mats are ideal for this and this is why, despite the variety of shapes now on offer, they remain the most popular choice of entrance mat shape today.

 Circular Shaped Entrance Mat for Revolving Doors

Circular Shaped Entrance Mat for Revolving Doors


SECTION G: Cleaning and maintaining entrance mats

Look after your mats and clean them even more regularly than you do your carpets and floors. The reason for this is simple. They are removing and holding onto a lot of dirt and water, which will only be removed for good when it is cleaned away. So, ensure you have a regular cleaning programme in place for the mats. Fail to clean the mat and it will eventually become overloaded and will cease to be effective.

Many mats are launderable, so if you have a washing machine large enough to fit the mat in, you can clean it very easily. Otherwise you’re going to need to take the mat to a commercial laundry or use another method to keep it clean. Remember never use softener on a mat. Softener has a negative effect on a mat’s ability to absorb moisture.

You can clean most mats in the same way that you clean your carpets. Regular vacuuming will remove the majority of the dirt. If the mat is wet, then you need a vacuum cleaner that is able to pick up water safely.

You may also use a carpet extraction cleaner on your mats to remove stubborn soiling.

Exterior mats are usually easy to clean with a hose or pressure washer.

See our video on cleaning your entrance mats here

Cleaning your Entrance mats 

SECTION H: The 3 mat entrance system

3 stage Entrance Mat System

We believe the best way to keep dirt and water out of your property is to use the 3 mat entry system. This is because we know that different entrance mat types are better at doing different jobs, so if you combine them together they make a formidable barrier against dirt and water.

The 3 types of entrance mats we suggest you use are as follows:

The Outdoor Entrance Mat

Your first line of defence. The outdoor mat is designed to remove heavy dirt, mud, grit and sand before it has a chance to enter the building. A rubber scraper mat with drainage holes is a good choice.


The Indoor Barrier Mat

The second mat needs to both scrape and wipe feet to stop the majority of dirt and water being brought in from the outside. Bi-level entrance mats are the most effective here.


The Final Finishing Mat

The third and final mat is there to remove any fine dirt, dust and moisture that the first two mats couldn’t stop. The ideal mat here is a flat, drying mat made out of nylon or cotton.

Download our infographic on the 3 mat entry system here (PDF download)


SECTION I: How long will my mat last?Outdoor worn Entrance Mat

You want to know how long your entrance mat will remain effective for. In reality, there is no accurate measure, because it depends on so many factors such as how busy your entrance is, how much dirt and water it needs to remove and how well the mat is cleaned and maintained.

The best advice we can give is to look for product guarantees, speak to the supplier to get their advice and look for product reviews to see what customers like yourself think of the mat.

If you want your mat to remain effective for as long as possible then here are a few guidelines when choosing your mats:

  1. Choose rubber backed mats over PVC or vinyl.
  2. Look for a greater amount of pile used in the face fabric of the mat – many suppliers quote the weight of the face fabric in their specifications.
  3. If the mat has a raised profile then check that this is reinforced, otherwise it will crush down over time.


SECTION J: Entrance matting and DDA regulations

There are many regulations which cover entrance matting and you need to ensure you don’t fall foul of them. Businesses need to be aware of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005) and part M of the Building Regulations.

You should ensure that any mats you buy are wheelchair friendly, so that they allow the safe and smooth transition of a wheelchair onto, over and off a mat. If there is an emergency, a wheelchair needs to be able to easily turn on the mat in the case of an evacuation.

There are a few types of mats which do not comply with the regulations and we recommend that you factor this in when deciding on which mat is right for you.

  1. Coir / Coconut mats have a deep pile that is difficult for wheelchairs to move over or turn around on.
  2. Ribbed and metal entrance matting systems need to have ridges narrow enough so as not to create a rut in which the wheels can become lodged in.
  3. Mats with high, non-bevelled edges make it difficult for a wheelchair to move smoothly onto the mat.
  4. Wells and recesses need to be flush with the surrounding floor, so there is no ridge for wheelchairs to overcome.

 Worn Coir Edge

Worn edges in recesses can create ruts in which wheelchairs may become stuck




SECTION K: What to do next

Question Mark


This guide has been produced to give an unbiased overview of the different options of entrance matting that are available to you on the market today. Our company, Mats4U, has supplied entrance mats into commercial and industrial properties throughout the UK for the last 20 years. We hope that we have been able to pass some of our knowledge onto you and that you can now make an informed choice as to which entrance mats you need.

You can view the many entrance mats we sell on our Mats4U website at www.Mats4U.co.uk.

If you don’t want to go it alone, we are here to help and we want to ensure you get the right entrance mats for your premises. If you have any more questions, we encourage you to pick up the phone and speak to us, so that we are able to give you recommendations tailored to your individual requirements.

Call us on 0800 1 80 40 24 today.

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