Mats are not only essential but imperative for an acid-stained concrete floor with an exterior entrance. Sand, dirt, leaves, twigs; pieces of stone, plastic, wood and metal; along with moisture and outdoor contaminants, such as deicers, anti-freeze, fertilizer and oil pose an ongoing , significant threat of scuffing, gouges, and other related damage to an acid-stained or decorative concrete floor, no matter how durable the sealer. Mats should be used both inside and outside exterior entrances. Studies show that a good matting system will reduce dirt accumulation on your floor by 85% or more, and is an easy way to simplify and reduce the maintenance required for your floor.
The best mats to use outside are those made of rope, hemp, or other heavy absorbent synthetic or natural fabric that has a high friction open surface designed to knock grit particles off of shoes and trap them. Inside, more densely fabricated mats, such as soft, shag carpets are than effective for removing any remaining moisture and debris on footwear. Whatever mat you choose, it should have a solid backing so that it is easy to shake out. This backing should be of a good quality nitrile rubber or vinyl so that the mat does not stick to the floor, or leach plasticizers that can stain it. Rubber mats can be cleaned in a washer and dryer. Vinyl mats need to be hosed off and allowed to air dry.
For high traffic entryways, the standard is to use at least 15 feet of matting. This allows each foot of visitors, guests or customers to touch the matting at least 3 times and is proven to be the most effective in removing the majority of incoming dirt and moisture. Some flooring companies even recommend a more intricate matting system called, “Scrape, Scrub, and Wipe”. This system basically consists of a series of three mats, in sequence, beginning outdoors and continuing into the interior, where the first mat is one constructed of heavy fabric intended to remove large pieces of debris stuck in the bottom of people’s shoes; the second mat is composed of a lesser coarse material that helps break the bond between dried dirt and the bottom of shoes; and the third and last mat is designed specifically for “wiping”, that is removing moisture and liquid residue or chemicals.