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Walk-Off Mats

It’s raining out and as business owners, what is one of the first things we do? The walk-off mats come out of the wood-work and get placed right at the store, restaurant, or office lobby entries. It is part of our linen service so what could be wrong with that? And since the floor gets slippery when wet you are doing the correct thing, no?

The problem is, that more often than not, they are trip hazards. If the mats were brand new the rubberized backing adheres to the floor pretty well. But typically within a few weeks it no longer sticks. When we walk across it and drag our toe, many times it will lift up. What this means is it is a tripping hazard for those who have mobility problems and it can be a barrier as well for those in a wheel chair since it will push up and make it extremely difficult for a wheelchair and its occupant to cross. And of course, these mats are placed right in our path of travel at doors.

So what do you do?

  • You can tape the edges securely to the floor. It looks tacky but works.
  • There are 2-sided tape-type products which stick to the back side of the mat and the floor which can be a solution and typically do not leave any residue.
  • A secured recessed mat works well and can also be a source of points when considering LEED requirements although this may be a more costly solution.
  • There are also products that can be applied to a hard floor surface to increase the co-efficient of friction to make the floors less slippery when wet although these coatings do wear off and would need to be reapplied as part of a maintenance schedule.

Do be aware that while the ADA and the California Building Codes do not specifically state anything concerning walk-off mats it is the issue about a firm and stable floor that you need to be concerned about. And both code and laws do go in depth on this particular topic.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer. It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect 2012

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