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COBA Flooring explains why higher levels of pedestrian traffic requires careful design

DANNI Cooke, business director of entrance matting manufacturer, COBA Flooring, has explained why higher levels of pedestrian traffic requires careful design.

‘Since the reopening of non-essential retail in the UK back in April, traffic has thankfully grown solidly towards more normal levels,’ she says. ‘While neither footfall or sales are yet at pre-Covid-19 volumes, it’s a positive sign and a potential life-raft for the industry, following an unpredictable prior 12 months.

‘According to the Springboard Index, footfall saw an improvement in the second half of July as the last government restrictions were lifted. On ‘Freedom Day’ itself on 19 July footfall was 16.5% higher than the same day the week before.’

Despite this more recent positive news there has clearly been much turbulence in the retail sector over the past 18 months, with many locations closing or changing hands. However, as with any recovery, we can surely expect some redevelopment on the high street as confidence builds, says Danni. The OECD is predicting the UK to see its fastest growth since World War 2, with 7.1% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022.

‘As retail brands gather themselves and take a fresh look at their offering, opportunities will arise to construct and refurb those busy entrances that provide that vital first impression. And as we head towards autumn once more, entrance mats do the ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of providing increased safety for pedestrians and protecting interior floor surfaces.’

Minimal maintenance
Danni points out that if a retail entrance looks untidy and isn’t well maintained, it can leave people with a negative experience of the retailer’s brand.

‘Regular cleaning and maintenance will help to prolong the life of the entrance matting, reducing the need for expensive full replacements. However, where cleaning services have been reduced due to cost or staffing issues relating to Covid-19, you can help stay on top of the dirt and moisture by opting for an open surface construction mat.

‘Entrance matting systems with an open surface allows dirt and debris to be collected beneath the area that people walk on. This helps maintain the appearance of the mat surface for longer, whilst also reducing the risk of slips and trip hazards caused by debris on the surface.’

Material choices
Natural materials are few and far between when it comes to the mats used in retail and shopping centres, Danni says. ‘Given the high levels of footfall, the traditional materials of Cotton and Coir simply aren’t up to the job. Coir is also generally recommended against for public entrances due to accessibility – rolling a wheelchair over this material can feel like traversing sand.

‘There are three main materials used in high end matting systems and they are vinyl, polypropylene, and nylon. Vinyl ribbed material is great for external mats where moisture needs to be removed, whereas the two carpet materials are great for capturing dust and absorbing moisture from footwear. For very busy entrances such as in shopping centres then nylon is usually the best choice primarily for its durability.

‘You’ll no doubt be familiar now with the name ECONYL, which is a nylon textile that’s been made from old finishing nets and other recovered waste polyamide. COBA Flooring’s Alba carpet inserts are made from ECONYL, which means this manmade choice is better for the environment that it may seem at first glance. ECONYL also performs exactly the same as brand new nylon but is more sustainable and helps clean up our oceans.’

Straightforward installations
When it comes to installations in retail, speed is key, Danni continues. ‘Downtime is usually not an option for most stores, and this means a quick install and usually out of hours. Within our range, we have several quick and easy-to-install entrance matting systems, which will reduce the need for closing.

‘And to make the whole refurbishment process seamless, we offer a full supply and installation service. This ensures that the best product is specified and installed correctly to a high standard, providing product longevity. Our installations team are also well versed in evening or early morning projects, which can often eliminate disruption completely.

‘Our install team is trained to install off-the-shelf and bespoke products. They have years of experience with COBA products, and so know them inside out. Once we’ve completed the install we’ll also clear up and dispose of any waste, leaving you to admire your new flooring installation.’

Easy install matting
Danni says COBA’s Premier range of ‘easy install’ entrance tiles is ideal for when a quick turnaround is required. ‘The tiles in the range are hard-wearing and effective at removing moisture and debris from shoes and wheeled traffic. Premier FastTrack is the latest addition to our Premier range. These easy-install entrance tiles are ideal for recessed mat wells or can be laid to the floor surface with ramped edging.’

No adhesive is required for installation, creating less mess and faster installation, Danni adds. ‘The installation guidelines are even conveniently situated on the back of the box, in easy-to-follow steps. Premier FastTrack is ideal for retail entrance matting refurbishment, it not only looks great but performs to a high standard too. The tiles are available in convenient packs of 8 to cover 1sq m. For your next retail project, please don’t delay in contacting our entrance matting experts. They’ll be able to recommend the ideal solution to suit your client’s location and budget.’
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