What Fibre is Healthiest for Your Building?

Published Sep 3, 2015

Understanding how the materials used for entrance mats affect their performance is not ‘rocket science’, but it is a little more complex than first meets the eye. Here’s a brief look at the properties of three common fibres.

Entrance Matting is not there for decoration, although these days it can dramatically enhance your first impression. But it’s main job is to keep your building safe and clean.

There’s a number of variables in the manufacturing process, such as ‘tufting’, ‘weaving’ or ‘needle punch’. Some entrance matting is made from a combination of materials to give it a multi-action performance. You will notice that many entrance mats feature strips of different materials – some strips will scrape, some strips will brush, some strips will wipe moisture.

But a key contributor to the ‘performance’ of your entrance matting is the materials from which they’re made. Some fibres absorb moisture better than others, some wick away moisture more effectively and others have inherent quick drying properties. Some retain their structure making them more crush-resistant, while other materials are by their very composition, simply more durable.

If you’re specifying product, or you’re an architect or facilities manager, here’s a brief comparison to ensure you’re using the right material in your design.

The three most popular choices of fibre for entrance mats are:

1. Polyamide
The best choice for high-end or heavy-duty entrance matting is Polyamide synthetic fibre. Nylon, for example, is popular for areas such as shopping centres or public buildings where high levels of footfall are normal. It has a luxurious feel that ‘brushes and scrapes’ and is among the most resilient of all carpet materials with good crush resistant properties. It is hard to impregnate, so it’s more stain and fade resistant, making it easier to maintain that ‘as new’ condition. The other benefit of Polyamide entrance matting is its ability to dry quickly – there’s nothing worse or less effective than a soggy doormat!

2. Polypropylene
If you’re designing for dry dusty locations then Polypropylene is your best choice. It’s durable and normally offers a lower cost alternative to nylon entrance mats. The fibres are quite abrasive offering an effective scraping action, so it’s very popular when it comes to removing dry dirt (but less effective for moisture). Its versatility and durability makes it popular for retail, offices, hotels and leisure, and it’s frequently used for ‘zoned’ areas in longer lengths as dirt-barrier runners for maximum floor protection.

3. Coir
Coir is the traditional fibre for a door mat, which today has been surpassed by more modern materials for commercial entrance areas. It is a natural material derived from the husks of coconut shells, which being coarse to the touch gives Coir its bristly ‘brushing’ properties. Coir does not have the quickest of drying properties and is prone to soiling. While still popular for domestic use in its ‘door mat’ form, Coir does not comply with fire coding requirements for areas of 5m2 plus which rules it out of a lot of commercial applications.

So, if you know what to expect from your entrance matting system, it should be very easy for you to choose the best product for the job based on your need for absorbency, durability, and value for money.