Recessed and Loose Laid Mats September 9, 2016 – Posted in: Mats

Mat installations can be broadly divided into two categories, loose lay mats & recessed mats. Many times, architects will specify recess mats for high foot traffic areas & areas where trolleys will be used on a daily basis. The advantage of a recessed mat, is the surface of the mat is the same level as the floor, this increases the safety especially in public areas like shopping centres, airports etc. The depth of the mat recess can vary and should be specified by the architect, according to the type of mat that will be used. Some old recesses are very deep & should be screeded up to achieve a shallower depth, more suitable for modern matting. This work is best done overnight, so that the screed can dry hard by morning. We will often use a quick set additive in the mix, to speed up the process. Mats are normally rolled up for transport & storage, so make sure to lay the matting out flat overnight, so that when it is placed in the recess the edges do not curl up. Laying the mat out flat in the same area it will be fittied is recommended, this ensures that any minor shrinkage/expansion occurs overnight, during this time the mat will settle & acclimatise so that it is ready to be cut into the recess. A mat should never be take from a rolled up state, unrolled and immediately cut into a recess, it may look right at the time but gaps could appear over the following day as the mat acclimatises. Recess mats come from the factory slightly bigger than the actual recess size, this is so that the mat can be cut in on site to achieve a perfect fit.

Designa Mat offers two products that can be inserted into a 14mm deep recess, the Wayfarer Dirt Trap mat and the Designa Mat Recess Mat. The Wayfarer is made from vinyl loops, has a “noodle” like appearance and has a closed vinyl backing. Granular dirt and debris is captured beneath the surface of the open vinyl loop of the mat. The Wayfarer can also be edged and used in loose laid applications. The Wayfarer mat is cleaned by being shaken out, hosed off with a high pressure cleaner or simply with a hose gun with a focused spray to dislodge the dirt. It is best to hang the mat over a pole or wall and then wash the mat, as the dirty water will more easily drain off the mat and allow a faster drying time.

The Designa Mat Recess Mat is a modular product and is made up of PVC tiles with carpet strips in various finishes. These recess mats are extremely hard wearing and are most often used in areas with high foot and trolley traffic volumes. Small open slats in the mat allow for dirt and dust to fall through the mat into the recess, preventing it from blowing onto the adjacent flooring or being tracked into the building and keeping most of the dirt off the surface of the mat. The mat is cleaned by being lifted, the recess is then swept out or vacuumed.

Loose laid mats are placed directly onto the floor surface, be it tiles, laminate, concrete or carpet. Our rubber backed mats are available with two different backings, which backing should be used is determined by the kind of floor finish the mat will be laid on. A smooth rubber backing should be used on hard floor surfaces and a cleated rubber backing should be used on carpeted surfaces with a loop pile. The cleats consist of thousands of tiny rubber grippers that vastly increase the drag on the carpet, this helps to keep the mat in position. A cut pile carpet is problematic for any kind of mat, this is because the carpet pile tends to lean in a particular direction causing the mat to creep. A non-slip mesh underlay can be used on cut pile carpets to assist in keeping the mat in place but it should be accepted that the mat will have to regularly be dragged back into position.


These mats are usually between 3mm and 5mm thick and have rubber edging all around to prevent tripping and give a neat, finished appearance. Loose laid mats are offered in standard and custom sizes, allowing for sufficient coverage depending on the requirements in the specific area.