A hand cuts a mat with a Stanley knife. The blog header reads How to Cut a Mat.
By Matly
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How to cut a mat

Step-by-step instructions to tackle each mat material.

If you’re trying your hand at installing your own entrance mat, you’ve probably realised by now that there is more to it than just sticking the mat in the floor. Get one step wrong and you’ll have to start again, so you need to make sure you know what you’re doing throughout.

Learning how to cut a mat sounds easy, but it is one of the most common installation steps that people mess up at. Wrong measurements, untidy edges and broken mats are just a few of the problems that occur when you get this crucial step wrong.


Safety First

Before you start, remember PPE. We recommend wearing cut resistant gloves and safety glasses at a minimum. The gloves are to protect your fingers from the cutting apparatus – which needs to be extremely sharp. The safety glasses protect your eyes from shrapnel.

The easiest way to explain how to cut a mat is to group them by material, as some require more specialist cutting than others. The main mat materials are coir, rubber and plastic. If you want advice about cutting another material, our matxperts are always happy to give it.

Most mats are cut from the top-down, meaning the mat is placed down as it is meant to be used. Placing a piece of material, such as an old piece of carpet, down underneath the mat you’re cutting can prevent you from damaging the surface you are cutting on.

To cut a mat, you will need:

  • Marker: a biro works fine
  • Tape measure: to make sure you cut your mat the right size
  • Ruler or another straight edge: to mark your mat accurately
  • Sharp knife: we highly recommend a Stanley knife


How to cut coir matting

Coir is one of the more complicated mats to cut because it almost always has another material as its backing. That is not true for traditional coir mats, which are woven to need no backing at all.

Because they are made of 100% coir fibres, traditional coir mats cannot be cut. So, we are focussing on PVC-backed coir mats for these instructions.

  1. Place it: To cut coir matting, you need to cut from the back. Place it upside down on a flat surface so the PVC backing is facing up.
  2. Measure it: Measure the exact size mat you need using a ruler or a
  3. Mark it: Mark your measurements onto the PVC backing. We sometimes just use biro but anything you have on hand will work. Make sure you get your measurements down correctly here or you will be in big trouble later.
  4. Score it: Make small incisions using your knife. Don’t press too hard, just score it 2 or 3 times until you have penetrated the PVC backing.
  5. Peel it: Peel away the offcut to reveal your straight edge.
  6. Repeat: Repeat on the other edges.


How to cut rubber gym mats

Rubber mats are used in a variety of applications, but cutting rubber gym mats is one of the questions we get the most on this topic. To cut rubber gym mats, make sure you use a very sharp knife and score a few more times than with other materials.

  1. Place it: Remembering to place your protective layer is most important when cutting rubber mats. Place a carpet offcut or similar item onto the floor or surface you are cutting onto and put your rubber gym mat on top. With rubber, you want to cut from the top down.
  2. Measure it: As you would with coir, measure out your desired mat.
  3. Mark it: Mark your measurements.
  4. Score it: Make small incisions with your knife. With rubber, you will need to score 5 times before you can cut through properly.
  5. Cut it: Once the rubber has started to split, cut firmly down to your protective layer.
  6. Repeat: Now, do the other edges.


How to cut a plastic chair mat

To cut a plastic chair mat, you will need a few additional tools. A heat gun is used to make the plastic easier to cut, but a hairdryer also works well. To make incisions, a jigsaw with a plastic cutting blade is best because it has finer teeth.

There are 2 methods for cutting a plastic chair mat:

Method 1

  1. Place it: Place it the right way up on your surface.
  2. Measure it: Measure out your markings precisely as with other mats.
  3. Mark it: Mark your measurements on the top side of the mat.
  4. Heat it: Heat a small area of the mat with your paint stripping or another heat gun. This makes the material soft enough to get a clean cut. Work on sections of around 40cm at a time to prevent the plastic from cooling down before you get to it.
  5. Score it: With heated plastic, you will need to score your chair mat around 4 times to cut right through.
  6. Repeat: Repeat this process on the other edges.

Method 2

  1. Place it: Place it the right way up on your surface.
  2. Measure it: Measure out your markings precisely as with other mats.
  3. Mark it: Mark your perfect mat.
  4. Score it: With medium pressure, score along the marking 4(ish) times. You do not need to heat the mat using this method.
  5. Bend it: Fold the mat back on itself along the line you have scored. Keep folding and unfolding until the mat cracks. This will provide a smooth, straight line.
  6. Repeat: Repeat this process on the other edges.


Cutting mats: more complicated than you thought?

Depending on the material you are using, cutting a mat can be tricky. Make sure you have the right materials on hand before you start because it might be hard to pause midway through. Go slowly and practise on a scrap piece first if you can.

If you want to leave it to the experts, we offer installation and measuring services alongside all our products. Our custom size matting is available to give you the best quality mats in the most convenient way possible.

For more information or to request a sample, feel free to reach out to the matxperts in the chat function below. You can also call us on 1300 628 746.

2 years ago