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Benefits of High-Performance Matting Systems
By: Adam Strizzi

Your congregation may be costing you about $37,440 a year in cleanup costs, all of which could be eliminated easily and at minimal expense.

According to ISSA, the worldwide cleaning association, if, over a 20-day period, 1,000 people enter a building where no entry or floor matting is installed, they will track in about 24 pounds of soil.

It costs, according to the study, about $600 to remove one pound of soil, which amounts to a staggering $14,400 just in this 20-day time period. Breaking this down further, over a 20-day period, this amounts to $720 per day. So, if we are calculating just Sundays, that’s a good $37,440 in cleanup costs per year. 

And if your church has midweek gatherings, classes, or other activities, those numbers—and that cleanup cost—could jump significantly.

However, and fortunately, these costs can be reduced dramatically if church administrators install high-performance matting systems at all key church entries. While the stats vary, 70 percent to as much as 80 percent of all moisture, soil, and contaminants on shoe bottoms can be stopped at the door with an effective, high-performance matting system.

Before we look into this further, let’s clarify what we mean by “high-performance.” A high-performance mat typically is a mat purchased from a janitorial distributor or online dealer. These are not rental mats. They are called high-performance for a couple of reasons including the fact that they last longer.

Whereas a rental mat will likely last less than a year—sometimes only four to six months—a high-performance mat typically is under warranty for a year or several years.

And while you may think this life span issue is a problem only for the rental agency—after all, your church does not own the mat—there is more to it than that. Although some rental mats can be recycled, far too many end up in landfills, making them less than environmentally friendly.

The other key benefit of high-performance mats is that, because they are made of higher-quality materials and engineered for superior performance, they tend to be far more effective at capturing and trapping soil and moisture.

It’s All in the Footwork
Several years ago, the American Institute of Architects conducted a study attempting to identify how many feet of matting are necessary to capture a certain percentage of soils at a typical commercial facility.

They found the following:

* Five feet of matting will capture 33 percent of walked-in debris.
* Ten feet will capture 52 percent.
* Fifteen to 25 feet can capture as much as 100 percent of soil on a building user’s shoe bottoms, completely preventing the soil from entering the facility.

This information is important to know to identify how many feet of matting are necessary for effective soil control. Many commercial facilities, including churches, may have a small three-foot-by-five-foot mat installed at building entries and believe that is sufficient. This size mat is minimally effective at best, whether it is a rental or high-performance mat.

Some matting manufacturers have “The Rule of 15s.” As we’ll discuss in greater detail, this refers to 15 feet of matting—three different types of mats, each five feet long.

However, for those churches adhering to a green cleaning strategy or seeking LEED certification, the recommended amount of matting is 20 feet. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

This indicates just how important mats are to building cleanliness. In order for a facility to be LEED-certified, an effective matting system must be installed. The reasoning behind this is that with 20 feet of matting, less soil is walked in; less soil translates into the use of fewer cleaning solutions; and when fewer chemicals are used in cleaning, the result is that cleaning has a reduced impact on health and the environment—the goal of green cleaning.

What’s Needed at the Door
We already know we need to select 15 to 20 feet of high-performance mats. Now we need to discuss the three types of mats necessary:

* Scraper mats are placed outside of a facility. These mats aggressively scrape dirt, debris, and snow from shoes and trap it beneath the mat’s surface. They are typically five feet in length and can effectively trap as much as 50 percent of the soil and moisture found on shoes.

* Wiper/scraper mats also are about five feet in length, are typically found directly inside a facility, and help remove soil and moisture not captured by the outdoor scrapers. Often, buildings with a double-door entry system will place wiper/scraper mats in the vestibule area between the two sets of doors.

* A wiper mat is the last member of the matting team. Wiper mats also are about five feet long. They help ensure that the first step taken off the high-performance matting system and onto the facility’s hard-surface floor or carpeting is clean, dry, and soil free.

One final item to discuss is what to look for in a mat manufacturer. In the United States, there are mat manufacturers that have been in business for decades and others that seem to have popped up overnight.

So, here are my suggestions for purchasing any matting system:

* Look for a mat manufacturer that has been in business for several years. At least one is more than 60 years old.

* Look for manufacturers that have patented their technologies. This indicates they have an active research and development team looking for new ways to make mats more effective.

* Higher-quality, long-lasting mats will have warranties for as long as six years. They may cost a bit more initially, but in the long term they are a cost savings and are much more effective.

* Select the three types of mats we discussed earlier from the same manufacturer. Often these matting systems have a synergy and are designed to work together.

An effective matting system installed at your church can help keep your building cleaner and healthier and reduce janitorial costs.

But do not overlook maintaining the mats. They should be vacuumed frequently and cleaned every few months. The cleaner they are, the harder they will work for you.

Adam Strizzi is marketing manager for Crown Matting Technologies, one of the oldest and largest mat manufacturers in the U.S., www.crown-mats.com.

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