Should my doormat be inside or outside?
The best mats for inside and outside entrances.
If you are looking for ways to keep your floors clean, you have probably already decided to buy a doormat. In your research, you might have noticed that doormats can be roughly divided into two categories: inside and outside.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with the huge variety of doormats on the market. So, if you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself where you’re planning to use it.
Every application can be split into those two categories with a simple question: should a doormat be inside or outside? You might think we're being cheeky, but the honest answer is BOTH. You need a doormat inside and outside.
Why do you need a doormat outside?
Outdoor doormats are your first defence against wet, slippery floors.
Who knows what’s on the bottom of people’s shoes as they step into your workplace or, worse, home? Instead of finding out when you clean it up, outdoor doormats trap dirt and water at the door.
The main role of an outdoor doormat is to scrape shoes as they pass overhead. In residential buildings, people are likely to wipe their feet as they walk over a doormat, but it’s much less likely to happen in commercial buildings.
For that reason, commercial entrance mats tend to be longer: at least 8 steps is industry standard. That’s how many steps it takes to remove all the dirt from shoes worn by someone making no effort at all.
Why do you need a doormat inside?
Once you step over the threshold, indoor door mats do the critical final dry.
While your outside scraper has removed the big pieces of dirt, it has also stirred up the smaller ones. Your mat just inside the door takes over from there, removing those smaller particles and water droplets.
Indoor door mats need to be absorbent to make sure your floor stays dry. Making sure you choose a mat with the right level of absorbency for your application is crucial. Busy areas need a mat that can hold high volumes of water, such as the High Absorbent Reinforced Rubber Backed Mat.
If outdoor doormats were absorbent, they would quickly get sodden and be of no use. Indoor door mats act as the final step (literally) towards a safer, cleaner floor.
For more information about how scraper doormats work, check out
I’ve already bought my doormat, should it go inside or outside?
If you have a doormat already, but you aren’t sure where to put it, the material is the most important factor to consider. Generally, absorbent surfaces like fabric and carpet cannot go outside if they will get wet. Waterproof materials like rubber, on the other hand, can.
If your mat is made up of rubber and coir, the way that coir reacts to water can affect the entire mat, even though it is fine when used alone. When coir meets water, it expands, causing the rubber to bend out of shape, so coir mats with rubber backing can’t be used outside.
Aluminium should only be used inside because it does not offer slip resistance. Aluminium is completely waterproof, but it allows the water to pool on its surface. Slippery metallic surfaces are not safe in doorways, and we don’t often recommend aluminium for entrances.
Below we have listed some materials that work best in either setting. If your mat material is not included on this list, feel free to reach out to one of the team for a more personalised recommendation.
Inside doormats include:
- Carpet-surfaced entrance mats
- Coir mats with rubber backing
- Aluminium scrapers
Outside doormats include:
- Traditional coir mats
- Synthetic coir mats
- Rubber mats with holes
- Low profile scrapers with elevated grippers
- Drainable PVC mats
Can some mats be used inside and outside?
There are some inside-outside mats. If you do need to use one mat interchangeably, try to find a scraper that will allow water to pass through. It also needs to trap and hold dirt well enough to keep inside areas clean too.
It is important to note, if you use any mat in an area it isn’t designed for, that it might not be treated to deal with the elements. Outdoor mats are generally treated with UV-resistant chemicals to prevent them from becoming decayed or discoloured.
Inside mats may not be able to deal with large amounts of rain or snow. Coir is waterproof but does expand when sodden, so cannot be used outside when backed onto rubber or other waterproof materials that won’t change.
If your outside area is covered, and you are confident that your doormat won’t get wet, absorbent scrapers can work well. Porches and awnings are examples of areas that aren’t completely dry but might still benefit from a mat that dries shoes.
Inside mats and outside mats: what’s the difference?
The critical difference between inside and outside mats is the way they deal with water. Outside mats are likely to see higher volumes of water, so they need to be designed to allow it to pass through.
Indoor mats are likely to see smaller volumes of water, and they are also the last surface stood on before feet meet your floor. That means they need to absorb smaller amounts of water more reliably.
We always advise our customers to double up on entrance mats. You need something to remove and trap dirt outside, as well as something to dry shoes that later step on your floor. Inside and outside doormats work together to keep floors clean and safe.
For more information on picking the perfect entrance mat for your area, check out this article on designing a business' entranceway. If you want any advice about products and applications, reach out to the team who are always happy to help.