Should my entrance mat be recessed?
The ultimate guide to when (and when not) to use a recessed entrance mat.
If you are installing new entrance matting, you want to get it right. Once you choose your type, size and design, there is still one more thing you need to consider: recessed or loose laid?
The difference is huge. A loose laid mat is – as the name suggests – lays loose on the floor while a recessed entrance mat is lowered to be level with the floor. There are pros and cons to both arrangements, but the main benefit of a recess is safety.
The best option for you depends on various factors, but first we need to understand the benefits of using a recessed mat over a non-recessed one.
How do recessed floor mats work?
When a mat is recessed, it is lowered into a well that is cut into the ground. The mat and the well (recess) are the same size, making the mat seem like just another part of the floor. The mat recess contains the mat and holds it in place.
Mat recesses are popular for public spaces, schools and commercial buildings, to name a few. While the Building Standards of Australia do not explicitly require entrance matting to be recessed, it does need to offer slip protection.
Who needs recessed entrance mats?
To decide whether to recess your entrance mat, consider the following:
- Location: Will it be used inside or out? A mat that will be used outside is more likely to be moved by the elements. It is also more likely that outside matting will be stolen or damaged.
- Water: If you anticipate your mat to get very wet (if your building is in a rainy climate, for example) then a mat recess can help you handle this.
- Traffic: The more people that walk over a mat each day, the more beneficial a mat recess will be. If only one person walks over a mat each day, the cost of installing a recess might outweigh the cost of educating that one person.
- Mat type: Some mats benefit from being recessed more than others. Aluminium mats almost always need to be recessed, whereas rubber-backed mats offer some slip resistance on their own.
- Setting: If the people walking over the mat are accident-prone or likely to be in a hurry, it might be best to go for a recess. Schools, transport hubs and public buildings are some places where mat recesses are commonly used.
Benefits of a recessed floor mat:
They reduce slips, trips and falls
The main reason that people choose to recess their entrance mat is for safety. Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of workplace injury and can cost businesses and individuals thousands.
By containing the mat, a recess stops it from slipping on the floor below, as well as creating friction between the foot and the surface of the mat. By continuing the ground at the same level, the mats also do not create the trip hazard a raised mat would.
If you do have a loose laid mat, you can still protect your people from slips, trips and falls, but you need some different methods. For more information on keeping your mat in place, check out this article on how to stop them from moving around.
They contain dirt and water
Dirt and water removal is the second most common reason for people to install an entrance mat – after health and safety. When you fit your mat into a recess, you reinforce its ability to hold the removed substances in its structure.
While our loose-laid scraper mats can hold up to 7 litres of water per square metre, a mat recess increases the amount of dust and debris that can be hidden out of sight.
It is still easy to clean a recessed mat, though, just use a vacuum to remove the contained dirt. But make sure it’s dry first! We do recommend taking your mat out of its recess every so often to increase its lifespan. Check out more tips on how to extend the life of your mat.
They prevent your mat from shedding
This one only really applies to coir door mats. Coir matting tends to shed because it is a natural product made from coconut fibres. When laid loose, coir mats create a lot of mess that needs to be swept up.
By fitting a coir mat into a recess, you can reduce your time spent cleaning and improve the look of your entrance. A mat recess contains the fibres that fall off your mat and keeps them at the edges until you get a chance to collect them.
Make sure you do collect the fibres if you are fitting a coir mat into a recess because, after a while, they could spill over onto the floor. Also, having loose fibres on the structure of your mat might prevent it from doing its job properly.
They protect the edges of your mat
By lowering your mat to ground level and reducing slips, trips and falls, a recess can also extend the life of your mat by preventing damage to its edges.
For aluminium mats, exposed edges are a particular safety hazard. If the edges of a mat made of aluminium bend even slightly, the entrance has a piece of metal sticking up out the ground. This is dangerous for obvious reasons but is remedied by recessing the mat.
It is possible to reinforce the edges of a loose laid mat – with ramped edges or a safety border – but it is not as effective over time. Fitting your mat into a recess is by far the best way to protect both its edges and the people who step over it.
Are recessed entrance mats worth it?
If you are managing a large, public or commercial building, you should probably think about fitting your entrance matting into a recess. It goes without saying that the safety of your people is paramount, but it also doesn’t hurt that they help with the cleaning too.
If you would like to get a more personalised idea of the types of matting best suited to your building, feel free to reach out to the team. Our friendly and helpful matxperts are always on hand to help you out with your mat-related inquiries.
Call us on 1300 628 746 or reach out using the chat function in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.