Walk Off Carpet Systems – Extend Your Flooring Investment While Managing Risk

It’s almost that time of year again. Inclement weather can wreak havoc with your flooring investment. Walk off carpet tile systems provide an aesthetically pleasing solution which protects visitors from slips and falls, while lowering maintenance costs and extending your long-term flooring investment.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour (OMA) website slips, trips and falls are among the leading causes of injuries resulting in workers missing time at work in Ontario. Among the common workplace hazards cited, include:

  • slippery surfaces (oily or greasy, etc.)
  • seasonal slip, trip and fall hazards (snow and ice)
  • spills of wet or dry substances
  • changes in walkway levels and slopes
  • unsecured mats

Slips and falls can be costly. Commercial property and casualty insurer CNA  identifies lack of slip resistance as the number one cause of slip and fall accidents.  According to CNA Claim data in a recent article published on reducing slips and falls in financial institutions, “40 percent of slip and fall claims occur mainly on entry flooring. Make sure building entrances are visible and free from obstacles. Water should quickly drain away from pedestrian areas to keep feet dry when entering the building. Snow/ice management is also important.”

walk off entry matting minimizes risk

Photo credit: Unsplash – Sean Pollock

The article goes on to say that, “Mats can also help trap outside walkway dirt and water before they reach your floors and create a possible exposure. To be most effective, purchase floor mats with slip resistant backing and beveled edges. Position the mats flat on the floor and ensure they are cleaned on a regular basis. Lastly, floor mats should cover an area for people to take three to four strides, approximately six to eight feet, before coming into contact with the flooring underneath.”

Why Install A Walk Off Carpet Tile System?

Walk off carpet tile systems vary in design and materials but are generally a carpeted rubber-backed matting system which consists of carpet tiles which have coarse fibers that “scrape” dirt off shoes and carpet also can absorb soil particles and are adhered directly to the interior entrance area of a building (see image below).  They are a better alternative to unsecured mats because they are not only safe, they also protect your long-term flooring investment through providing a soil and moisture capture/barrier. Over time heavy traffic, combined with soil or debris brought indoors can affect and remove a finish from an installed floor or damage carpet life.

“Soil and moisture are the main causes of premature wear and eventual replacement of the installed floor,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fishing Commercial Flooring.  “These types of systems also help building operators avoid the liability of slip and fall incidents caused by slippery entryways in their facilities by providing the higher traction, moisture-absorbing technology.”

walk off entry matting systems Toronto

Why traditional matting systems can pose a problem. Photo credit: Unsplash – Pawan Kawan

Traditional matting systems when combined with hard surface flooring can pose a slip hazard when wet or soiled with debris that is tracked into a building. Area mats and runner matting systems can bunch or ripple.

A Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) article states,  “Many facilities still view matting as merely a way to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. While that is one of their key benefits, effective matting systems also keep as much as 80 percent of moisture and soil from entering a facility.”

Keeping It Clean

As walk off carpet tile systems are effective in their ability to “wipe/scrape” dirt, debris and moisture from shoes, this is a key benefit to mitigating trips and falls as dirt and debris does not reattach to footwear and become tracked into the interior of the building. Click here for a recent article where we featured on a walk off carpet tile matting system called Tough Stuff from manufacturer the Mohawk Group.

According to the Continuing Education Centre, Architecture and Construction :

  • The estimated cost of finding and removing a pound of dirt from a building is $600. (ISSA)
  • One square yard of carpet can accumulate one pound of dirt in a week- twice that in inclement weather.
  • 70 to 80 percent of dust, grime, and dirt in a building are tracked in from the outside on people’s feet permanently damaging floors and carpets. (Institute of Industrial Launderers)
  • Fifteen feet of effective, high-performance matting can trap and hold as much as 75 percent of this soil at the door; 30 feet can remove as much as 100 percent. (ISSA)
walk off entry carpet reduced maintenance costs

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Tuff Stuff Walk Off Entry Carpet System

Walk Off Entry Carpet Systems Lower Maintenance Fees and Protect Your Investment

From a facilities manager perspective walk off systems will save money in maintenance fees as they are easier to clean and maintain. By reducing the amount of dirt and debris tracked into a building floors and carpets will stay cleaner for longer periods of time, needing less care contributing to reduced use of cleaning chemicals. For general maintenance, the modular systems can be easily cleaned by vacuuming. If a specific area becomes damaged, individual tiles can simply be swapped out or repaired.

For information about entry matting system installation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Residential Meets Commercial Office Flooring Design

Flooring design represents the first step as many organizations continue to adopt a more residential style of workspace. The intent behind this trend? Boost employee morale and productivity through comfortable, open spaces that foster connection.

As a follow up to our previous blog in this series, we have seen a continued trend of organizations providing flexible hours and workspaces. The result has been more residential style flooring designs and office layouts which provide welcoming environments, while providing all of the amenities of home.

Toronto flooring examples Darwin Fisher

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

As a result, a large array of new materials and their application are giving way to the blurring boundaries between commercial and residential, beginning with flooring design.

Flooring Designs: More Choices Through Technological Advances

Advances in application technology have yielded cost savings for clients by imitating expensive design. This includes thin format porcelain panels that look like marble slabs, LVT with graining and texture to look and feel like real wood and rectangular porcelain tile with 3D design to look like a chevron pattern. All of these options are much more economical to purchase and install.

Toronto flooring contractor

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

New materials also offer bright, vibrant colours and more detail has become standard. Dull neutrals and unassuming colours are now replaced by energetic, creative selections to match the more informal furniture now being found in collective work areas and office entrances.

“We are definitely seeing a more home-like experience in the office,” says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “In order to retain and ensure employees are happy at work there is an influx of residential finishes and concepts being brought into the corporate environment. Modern offices are being built with collaboration, communication and modularity in mind to enhance productivity and employee satisfaction.”

Corporate designs are becoming multifunctional in nature and include smaller furniture footprints that can be easily rearranged. Plush, comfortable couches are more the norm and traditional cubicles are being replaced by open concept configurations and modular, movable furniture.

Commercial flooring examples Toronto

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

Quinn explains there is now a stronger focus on amenity areas, including increased opportunities for touchdowns as well as areas that are plug and play. Kitchens are becoming more residential with comfortable seating and gathering areas. There is also more attention focused on interfacing with outdoor areas.

Increased Employee Productivity

Blair Setford who is Director, Product Management, at a wealth management company in Mississauga, ON agrees. He enjoys his work environment because he is able to walk down the hall from his office, through the modular kitchen, and out onto the patio. Here the company often hosts corporate/department BBQs and events and provides outdoor tables, including high top seating for its employees and guests. When weather permits, internal meetings are held on the patio, depending on the time of year, and Setford feels these options make employees more productive.

Commercial flooring examples Toronto - Darwin Fisher

Photo credit: Blair Setford

“We like to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, “ says Setford. “Because we are in a suburban location we have to look for amenities to attract talented people to our location and that’s one way we can do it – our own patio.”

The office at Setford’s workplace is a mixture of carpet tile and laminate flooring design. The kitchen offers a foosball table plus a variety of different types of seating for employees. Often employees will congregate in the kitchen an enjoy a game of foosball, or two, at lunch or while having a meeting.

Darwin Fisher commercial flooring Toronto

Photo credit: Blair Setford

The blending of home and office flooring design has also been seen at Darwin Fisher. Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator sees a continuing pattern of more design resources being spent on accents and textures. There are a lot of accent colours, borders and feature within walls/floors in commercial projects, even in non-public spaces.

Flooring Design: A Variety of Finishes And Patterns

“We see more herringbone and chevron installation patterns of carpet, LVT and porcelain tiles that has been made possible with new product design technology. Floor and wall finishes are also now available in all shapes (hexagon, triangle, plank and tile) and sizes,” says Zhou.

This trend has showed no sign of slowing down as there is increased demand for softer, more tactile surfaces with varied patterns and textures. It has become more the norm for today’s more residentially-infused office designs take into account the entire experience. Customers, guests, employees and their comfort is now the focus on every aspect of the designed space.

For information on how to incorporate residential design into your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com