How to choose and install matwell matting for the home

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( — September 15, 2021) —

Matwell matting is a common sight in industrial, commercial and leisure environments, but it’s also a great alternative to a classic loose-lay entrance mat in the home. A properly fitted matwell mat can be both stylish and safe — securing the mat to the floor means it can’t move about and become a trip hazard or look untidy.


What is matwell matting?


Matwell mats (also known as fitted door mats, recessed door mats or inset door mats) are designed to fit into a recess or be fixed into place covering a specific area — a hallway or porch, for example. Correct installation creates a flush finish with the surrounding floors, and makes for an extremely robust and stylish entranceway flooring.


The common types of matwell mats


As with any other flooring type, matwell mats can be found in a range of colours, styles, materials and pile depths. Two of the most popular types are:


Coir matwell mats


Coconut coir is the classic option, found in homes, pubs and historic or older buildings. It’s super hard-wearing, and can be easily cut into the perfect shape and size for any recess. This deep pile material is also a workhorse when it comes to cleaning mud, dirt and other debris from the soles of shoes, and is nicely absorbent for when it’s wet outside.


On the negative side, pushchairs, prams, wheelchairs and other wheeled traffic will struggle to move easily and smoothly over coir mats, due to that thick, coarse pile.


Traditionally available in coconut brown colour, modern variations include a range of colour options. Synthetic coir matting is available too, which has the same properties but uses man-made fibres.


Matwell tiles


The popular alternative to coir, matwell tiles are a frequent sight in high traffic areas, office buildings and public spaces. These tiles are usually very low profile, allowing for smooth movement of wheeled traffic and they’re also very durable, making them the perfect choice for if your home needs to provide easy access to wheelchairs or pushchairs.


While this kind of matting has great absorbency, it falls down when compared to coir for the ability to brush the soles of shoes clean. The nature of a tile-based flooring does allow for easy installation, replacement and repair though, because if a tile becomes particularly worn or damaged, you can replace it without having to get a whole new mat.


Matwell or loose-lay: which is best?


This depends largely on your space. If you have a recess already, then you’ll definitely want a matwell mat, to minimise the possibility of tripping over the uneven floor. The key benefits of a matwell mat is that it is a long-term solution — fixing the mat in place means that it can’t rotate or move underfoot, making it the safest option. It also can’t become furled or ‘bump up’ to present a trip hazard. Aesthetically, a well fitted matwell mat is the most stylish option, enhancing the appearance of the entrance to your home.


Loose lay entrance mats also have their benefits, though. The ability to move the mat easily for cleaning or maintenance, or if you need it elsewhere temporarily, can be helpful, particularly if your needs change throughout the year. They’re typically cheaper, and you don’t need any special skills or equipment to fit them — they just get placed down and that’s it. However, this freedom of positioning does increase the likelihood of the mat moving underfoot or rotating, which not only presents a slip and trip risk, but also makes the area look untidy.




You’ve decided to get a matwell mat. Next — it needs to be installed. If you decide to fit the mat yourself, don’t be too worried. It does require more work than a loose-lay mat, but the results far outweigh the difficulty.


Measure carefully: make sure that the recess (or area where you want to install the mat) is measured perfectly. Take measurements at each end of the position; in older buildings in particular you might find there are some odd angles and your mat needs to take account of these quirks.


Cut: mark your mat with the measurements and shape that you just took. You might want to turn the mat over for this — just be sure to flip the measurements so that when you install the mat it is the right way round. Cut the mat with a very sharp knife and a strong straight edge (ideally a fresh Stanley knife blade and a metal rule). Coir mats in particular will have tangled fibres on the topside, you’ll need to separate or sever those as well.


Tiles need a slightly different approach. Interlocking models will have a small but noticeable size change when they’re connected up, so be sure to take this into account when you’re measuring up and cutting and make sure you have some spare tiles in case of mistakes.


Position: clean the area thoroughly, and make sure that it is level. If it isn’t, or your recess is deeper than your matting, you can use standard carpet underlay or wooden boards to bring it flush with the surrounding.


Lay your matting into place (the right way up) and trim any bits that need it, then fix it into place. Be sure to remove any air bumps or creases before fixing. 

Vacuum: Give your new matwell mat a once over with a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose fibres, and you’re all finished. Your new mat should last for years, and provide an attractive and practical entrance flooring, keeping the rest of your home free from any rainwater and dirt tracked in by you, your family or guests.



Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge.