The Neighborhood: Doormats 101

Outdoor Doormats

The 411 On All Things Doormats

Our Intro to Let You Know

Hey there friends, and welcome back to The Neighborhood, our series of guides, articles, and resources dedicated to all things doormats and floor coverings. We’re going to continue our discussion on doormats, and today we’re going to focus exclusively on outdoor doormats. If you’re interested, you can see a more robust discussion about doormats in our article Doormats: The Ultimate Guide to Find the Right Doormat for You.

Image of outdoor doormats being made at one of Matterly's Georgia factories.

We like to start all of our pieces by telling you a little bit about who we are and what we do. At Matterly, our history is deeply rooted in matting and floor coverings; like 6 decades deep. From where we sit as we type out this article, a quick walk through one set of doors leads out to a manufacturing plant floor where thousands of floor mats are made every day. We’re making rubber, we’re extruding fibers, we’re printing on textiles, and it’s all being done right here in America.

Alright, enough of that; let’s talk about outdoor doormats!

It All Starts Just Outside the Door

Your home's first impression begins at the doorstep, and choosing the right outdoor doormat ensures your welcome is both inviting and enduring. As seasons change, so do the demands on your entryway, making the selection of an all-weather doormat a strategic decision. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the features and benefits, constructions, locations, uses, and sustainability options for outdoor doormats. Whether you're searching for heavy-duty door mats outside or a luxury front door mat, we've got you covered with insights tailored to elevate your entryway experience.

 

Colorful doormats like this Neighburly Colorful Tulips will liven up any front door, especially with a sweet pup waiting on you too!

 

 More than Just a Mat – Why Outdoor Mats Matter

Outdoor doormats offer more than just a clean entryway; they provide a range of benefits that enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of your home. Delve into the multitude of advantages that outdoor doormats bring to your space.

A Safer Approach

Never judge a book by the cover, and the same goes for a doormat. Just because it’s a great-looking doormat, one of its main functions is to enhance safety at your front door. How so? Well, quality outdoor doormats provide traction and moisture control, which are common factors in slips around the front door. High-traction mats, particularly those endowed with rubber backing, establish a more secure surface, which can help reduce the risk of accidents during inclement weather.

Outside to Inside Floor Protection

WaterHog Luxe In Vein all-weather outdoor doormat shown in double door size.

You love the floors inside your home, and quite frankly they are an investment, and outdoor doormats are the first line of protection for your indoor floors. Outdoor doormats shield your interior floors from dirt, moisture, and debris; like those pesky little pebbles that get stuck in the bottom of your shoe and then proceed to scratch your floors. By capturing contaminants at the entrance, these mats contribute to the longevity and cleanliness of your indoor flooring.

Lower Maintenance

As much as we all love constantly sweeping and vacuuming, a quality doormat at your doors will actually save you time. The dirt and moisture control features of outdoor doormats contribute to an overall reduction in maintenance. By thwarting the tracking of dirt and moisture indoors, these mats alleviate the burden of constant cleaning and upkeep.

All About the Curb Appeal

You want a good-looking outdoor doormat, right?! Beyond their practical role, outdoor door mats play a pivotal part in enhancing the curb appeal of your home. A thoughtfully chosen and stylish doormat serves as a welcoming statement, setting a positive tone for both visitors and passersby.

Weathering the Elements

A quality outdoor door mat will stand up to the harsh conditions that come with the changing of the season. Outdoor doormats, equipped with all-weather capabilities, exhibit resilience in the face of diverse weather conditions. From scorching sun to pouring rain and snow, gritty sand and dirt, these mats stand steadfast, maintaining their functionality and appearance.

Make it Uniquely Yours

Elevate the look and feel of your front porch with a personalized doormat. Outdoor doormats provide a customizable element to your entrance, serving as an expression of your personal style. Personalized doormats with monograms, unique designs, or welcoming messages impart a distinctive touch to your home.

Monogrammed Initial Doormat - Pink Green White Black shown at front door

Features That Matter - Crafting the Ideal Outdoor Doormat

Not many things around your home have a tougher job than your doormat. Outdoor doormats play a crucial role in welcoming guests while enduring the challenges of various weather conditions. When seeking the ideal outdoor doormat, it's essential to delve into features that truly matter, ensuring both durability and functionality.

Quality & Durability

Looking for an outdoor doormat that will last years, not months? The key is finding a doormat that’s crafted from high-quality materials to ensure durability.

Exterior mats made with materials like heavy-duty rubber, recycled PET, silver ion fibers, and nylon are known for their ability to withstand the test of time and heavy foot traffic.

Coco mats will continuously shed fibers due to loose construction.Doormats made with coco fibers, vinyl, or latex have a shorter lifetime due to shedding (material loss) and material breakdown but are often sold at a lower price point.

All-Weather, All the Time

Do you live in an area that runs the gamut of harsh weather conditions? Opt for doormats with all-weather capabilities, designed to resist the impact of changing weather conditions.

Explore door mat options made specifically with weather resistance in mind. Outdoor door mats that feature tightly woven materials, closed-cell fibers, or those featuring rubber backing are most effective at handling inclement weather and harsh climates.

Dirt & Moisture Control

The best outdoor doormats excel when it comes to dirt and moisture control capabilities. The construction method and materials used will dictate the effectiveness of your doormat.

Look for mats with scraper elements, raised patterns, or water-resistant materials to ensure efficient trapping of dirt and prevention of moisture tracking indoors. Closed cell fiber mats, including those that utilize PET and polypropylene, are best for moisture control as they trap and dissipate water (not absorb), which leads to better moisture containment and faster drying times.

 High-Traction – Outdoor

The mark of an effective all-weather outdoor doormat is its ability to provide traction, especially during wet and inclement weather.

Rubber-backed doormats, featuring textured surfaces, provide superior traction even during inclement weather, minimizing the risk of slips. Rubber excels at gripping most surfaces, even in wet conditions, and when combined with a textured surface, you have a high-quality outdoor door mat.

It has to Fit – Choose the Right Size Doormat

Don’t check all the boxes above only to forget about the size of your doormat! If you’re looking for a large outdoor doormat for double doors, don’t settle for an undersized doormat at your local hardware store. Smaller doormats will not provide the coverage needed for larger doors, and oversized doormats may not fit smaller outdoor entryways.

Ensure you buy the right doormat for your doors by measuring your door and paying close attention to the stated size by the manufacturer. The ideal width of a doormat will be a minimum of 90% width as wide as your door, so if you have a 3-foot-wide door, you’ll want your doormat to be at least 32.5 inches in width. Also, be mindful that many doormats have a size variance related to their stated size; for instance, here at Matterly, we have a variance of 3%.

Larger doormats like this Neighburly Escher Monogrammed double door doormat enhance the look of larger doors with sidelights and double doors.  

Find the Right Profile – Outdoor Doormat Thickness

Few things are more annoying than having your front door snag or catch the bottom of your front door. It defeats the purpose of a doormat in the first place if you can’t even open your door.

A lower profile mat may be a better fit for your home depending on your door swing height, so make sure to measure before you buy. Thicker mats may prohibit a door from opening smoothly, especially thick coco mats. Lower profile doormats also promote easier transition for those who use walking aids and/or wheelchairs than thicker mats.

By considering these refined features, you not only ensure the practicality of your outdoor doormat but also elevate your entrance with a touch of quality, style, and lasting durability.

Constructing Resilience - Materials and Build of Outdoor Doormats

The construction of outdoor doormats plays a pivotal role in determining their durability, functionality, and overall performance. Explore the diverse materials and builds that contribute to the resilience of outdoor doormats. We’re partial to rubber and closed-cell fibers like PET, but below is a list of materials commonly found in outdoor doormats.

Heavy-Duty Rubber

All Matterly doormats feature a durable rubber backing.

Rubber is an ideal material choice for outdoor door mats due to its durability. Capable of withstanding constant foot traffic and exposure to extreme elements, rubber also provides excellent traction. Quality rubber will lay flat, resist curling, and will not rot. Rubber-backed mats are typically more expensive than vinyl or PVC due to its longevity and quality.

Lightweight PVC

A cost-effective alternative to rubber, PVC is often paired with coir fibers to create a low-cost and lightweight doormat solution. PVC is a water-resistant material, but it does not perform well in extreme cold and heat. It has a much shorter lifespan than rubber and is susceptible to cracking and curling.

Natural Coir

Coir, derived from coconut fibers, is a natural fiber that is often paired with vinyl for a cost-effective matting solution. Coir mats are constructed with a coarse texture, ideal for scraping off dirt and moisture from footwear. Coco mats absorb water and take longer to dry out than PET or polypropylene. Known as an eco-friendly option, imported coir mats will also shed its fibers resulting in a shorter life cycle because of their loose construction.

Durable Recycled PET

Recycled PET is a versatile and weather-resistant closed-cell fiber, ideal for doormats and outdoor settings due to their ability to effectively wipe and scrape. Unlike nylon and coir fibers that absorb moisture, closed-cell fibers dissipate moisture, which is a fancy way of saying it traps and spreads water between fibers resulting in a much faster drying time. PET fibers also perform better in colder climates compared to coir and polypropylene. Also an eco-friendly option, PET fibers are made from recycled plastics and have a very long life cycle.

Quality Polypropylene

Polypropylene is another versatile closed-cell fiber that is commonly used in outdoor applications. Similar to PET, polypropylene does well in adverse weather conditions and has a long lifespan. It is more rigid than PVC and PET. Polypropylene works best for wiper and scraper mats as it dissipates water like PET fibers.

Classic Nylon

Nylon is still commonly found in floor mats due to its resilient properties. Nylon is a hygroscopic fiber which means it will absorb and hold water. It will not dry as fast as PET or polypropylene, but it will dry faster than coir. Nylon has a shorter lifespan than PET but will outlast coir fiber.

If you’re serious about finding the best doormat for your home, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with the materials used in the doormats you are considering. Understanding the materials and construction of outdoor doormats allows you to make an informed choice based on your specific needs, weather conditions, and aesthetic preferences.

Rubber backed mats like this WaterHog Luxe are excellent outdoor doormats due to the durability of rubber.

All About the Location – Placing Your Outdoor Doormat Strategically.

Outdoor door mats are known for their versatility and ability to provide functionality in a variety of spaces around your home. Strategic placement is pivotal to the effectiveness of outdoor doormats, ensuring they fulfill their intended purpose.

Front Door Entry Mat

The most popular location for an outdoor doormat is right at the front door. Place a durable and welcoming doormat at the front door entrance, creating a warm and inviting space for guests. Opt for a size that complements the scale of your front door area, providing ample coverage for foot traffic.

Back Door Outdoor Rug

Extend the benefits to all entrances by placing an outdoor rug at the back door. Whether you have sliding doors, screen doors, or a traditional back door, choose an outdoor mat with weather-resistant features like heavy-duty rubber backing, especially if the back entrance is frequently used.

Outdoor Wet Areas

Durable All-Weather WaterHog Luxe outdoor doormat placed at the backdoor during snow and rainy weather.

Outdoor doormats are great tools to address areas that are subject to high amounts of rain and snow. Focus on areas prone to wetness, such as the patio or deck. Find an outdoor mat that utilizes water-resistant materials like recycled PET or polypropylene to aid in providing traction in these potentially slippery zones. Outdoor doormats are great solutions in carports, garages, and pool areas.

Heavy Traffic Needs Heavy Duty

Prioritize heavy-duty mats in areas with intensive use, like the mudroom, front door, and garage door. Choose mats that can withstand the demands of heavy foot traffic without compromising their effectiveness. Rubber-backed mats are an ideal choice for a heavy-duty outdoor mat.

Guardians Against the Elements - Outdoor Doormats and Weather Challenges

Outdoor doormats serve as formidable guardians against the unpredictable forces of nature. Tailored to combat specific weather challenges, these mats play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and safety of your entryway. Explore how outdoor doormats excel in the face of rain, dirt, mud, sand, and snow.c

Rain-Resistant Doormats

Designed to wipe the moisture from the bottom of your shoes, the best outdoor doormat for rain is crafted from materials that resist saturation and are typically made from closed-cell fibers like PET polyester and polypropylene. Their ability to catch and contain water and moisture help create a dry and secure entrance even during downpours.

Dirt-Defying Mats

Outdoor doormats act as the first line of defense against dirt, effectively trapping and preventing it from entering your home. Bi-level mats are the best door mats for trapping dirt. They work great for dirt by scraping via a rough texture top level and filtering to a lower level that effectively traps the dirt. Mats with coarse textures like PET and coir excel in defying dirt and maintaining the cleanliness of your indoor spaces. Our WaterHog Luxe mats are examples of a bi-level mat.

Mud-Blocking Surfaces

For floors, there’s not much worse than mud or clay being tracked in through your front or back door. In rainy or wet conditions, outdoor doormats with mud-blocking surfaces prove invaluable. These mats feature designs and textures that prevent mud from being tracked indoors, keeping your floors pristine. Rubber-backed outdoor mats combined with PET or polypropylene surfaces work best in these conditions.

Sand-Resistant Mats

Is there anything harder to keep from tracking in your home than sand? For homes located in sandy areas or near beaches, sand-resistant outdoor doormats are essential. Like we discussed for dirt, bi-level mats work great for sand by scraping via a rough scraping top level and filtering to a lower level that effectively traps the sand. This type of construction is geared towards preventing the fine grains of sand from being carried indoors. WaterHog mats are great examples of bi-level mats.

Snow-Crushing Doormats

Winter brings its own set of challenges, and outdoor doormats designed to catch snow and ice excel in these conditions. These mats often feature raised patterns or materials that effectively capture and melt snow, preventing it from being tracked inside. Rubber-backed mats with closed-cell fibers like PET are ideal for winter settings.

As guardians against the elements, outdoor doormats prove their versatility in various weather conditions, ensuring a clean and safe entryway year-round.

Sustainability in Every Step - Eco-Friendly Outdoor Doormats

We all want to do better when it comes to the environment, and if sustainability is important to you, there are eco-friendly options for you. As environmental consciousness continues to shape consumer choices, the demand for eco-friendly outdoor doormats has seen a significant rise. Embrace sustainability in every step with these environmentally conscious doormat options.

Recycled Rubber Backed Mats

There are many quality outdoor mats that feature recycled rubber, mainly in the rubber backing. These mats contribute to waste reduction while offering durability and functionality. Repurposing rubber helps minimize the environmental impact, making these mats an eco-conscious choice. The Matterly WaterHog and Neighburly collection of mats feature 20% recycled rubber content.

Recycled PET Outdoor Mats

Outdoor mats made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) showcase a commitment to recycling plastic waste and prove to be very durable over time. These mats contribute to reducing plastic pollution while providing a durable and weather-resistant solution. The Matterly WaterHog and Neighburly collections feature 90% and 80% recycled PET respectively.

Natural Fiber Blend Mats

Imported outdoor doormats crafted from a blend of natural fibers like jute, coir, and sisal are popular low-cost options. This combination offers an eco-friendly option with a diverse texture, effectively trapping dirt and moisture.

Full disclosure: coir and coco mats are our biggest competitors when it comes to doormats. While we believe our mats are so much better with regards to performance, style, and durability, we know many people love and adore coco mats and we respect that.

Domestic vs Imported

It’s important to consider the supply chain if environmental impact is an important factor to you. The farther a doormat has to travel to get to you, the less environmentally friendly it actually is. Imported mats often travel thousands of miles via trucks, ships, and rail that have large carbon footprints. And that’s just to get it to a warehouse in the United States.

Carbon Offset

Environmental impact is not limited to the materials used in making your doormat, more companies are utilizing carbon offset programs to help reduce their environmental impact. Check with your doormat manufacturer to see what environmentally-friendly programs they are actively participating in. Here’s a link to the environmental initiatives that Matterly is currently supporting = We Are Committed.

Matterly utilizes recycled materials throughout our collections and actively participate in programs to reduce our carbon footprint.

Alright let’s wrap this up

Outdoor doormats aren’t just about keeping things tidy; they're about giving your place a vibe. Choosing between PET, coir, or rubber; figuring out where to put it – it all plays a part in telling your home's story.

Outdoor doormats are the unsung heroes of the front porch, providing much needed traction, protecting your floors, and adding a dash of personality. Rain or shine, they've got your entrance covered.

And hey, with sustainability in mind, there are eco-friendly options available– it’s good to consider the materials and processes used that won't harm the planet. Don’t be afraid to ask your doormat company what they’re doing to address their environmental impact. It's not just a mat; it's a statement about your values.

So, when you're picking out your outdoor doormat, remember, it's not just an accessory. It’s a legit tool and statement you’ll want to be proud to showcase at your front door.

A quality outdoor doormat is a great tool to guard your home against the dirt and debris that kids and pets love to track in.

December 07, 2023 — Bobby DeBardeleben