What is backing, and why does it matter?

The backing of your mat is the underside of the mat – the side facing the floor that people don’t usually see.  Even though backing isn’t usually visible, it’s actually a very important part of how well your mat works and how long it lasts.  It’s one thing to be told the difference between the different types of backing available on entrance matting – and an entirely different thing to know what that difference actually means!

There are two typical categories of backing for commercial entrance mats: vinyl backing, and rubber backing.  They’ve each got their strengths and weaknesses, as you can see here:

In many light- or medium-duty applications, mats with a rubber backing are “good enough” – these types of mats wear out because the backing will begin to break down and disintegrate before the face side of the matting is completely worn through.  Latex rubber gel-foam backing provides reasonable performance at a more affordable price point, and is available on entry-level entrance matting.  Latex gel-foam will ‘crumb’ more quickly and under lighter traffic loads than homogeneous rubber backing, and won’t last as long.

Heavy-duty applications should use vinyl backed matting, however.  Vinyl-backing is stronger, more flexible, and more durable than rubber – and will last longer and work harder.  When you’re looking for mats that will go the distance and provide good service for the next 3,  5, or even 10 years, it’s a good idea to look at vinyl-backed mats, like our Grizzly FX or Sunbear matting products.  On average, vinyl-backed mats may cost a bit more up front than a rubber-backed equivalent, but over the long run they end up costing less due to their longer service lifespan.

The backing of your entrance mat is only one of the criteria you should use when selecting the right mat for your application.  The face style and construction method, the material type, and even the cosmetic appearance should all factor into your decision-making process.  Get in touch with us today and we’d be happy to help you choose the right mats for your needs!