For many years the needs of people with disabilities were not considered when designing public spaces. However, all that changed in 1990 when the ADA (Americans with disability act) law was passed. The ADA stipulates minimum accessibility standards for people with disability that must be met when constructing new buildings and other public spaces. One of the notable elements is truncated domes.

What are truncated dome mats?

Truncated dome mats are a distinctive surface feature applied on walking surfaces to warn pedestrians of hazards. Many people have seen them in public places, but they have no idea what they mean or why they are there. In simple words, truncated domes are mats with raised 3D bumps to notify a visually impaired person that they are about to walk into a public space, so they should be wary of vehicles.

Types of truncated dome mats

When building, you have several options when it comes to truncated dome mats. Two of the most popular options include hard plastic truncated domes usually cast on the surface and soft glue truncated dome mats usually applied on the surface. There is also a third type involving masonry paving stone but more pricey than the others.

Cast in placemats

Many builders prefer cast-in-place truncated dome mats because they are easy to apply, and you can quickly install them in fresh concrete. In locations prone to winter snow, these mats can be recessed to prevent further damage to the plows. However, some truncated dome mats manufacturers have an easy to remove and install version.

They are also extremely hard and durable because they are made from a rigid material that resists damage. But even though these mats are stable, there are some drawbacks you need to know. Over time they can warp and bend due to water and sun exposure damage hence a raised edge, and that can lead to trip hazards and potentially costly lawsuits when not repaired immediately.

Another drawback of the cast-in-place mats is that they tend to fade over time due to sun exposure affecting the aesthetics of the area. Most of them cannot be painted over, so you may have to replace them.

Glue down mats

You may also have the choice of using glue-down mats. They are also durable and sturdy and provide several benefits over the cast in placemats. A great benefit of glue-down mats is that they are long-lasting and have a lower maintenance cost. They are usually manufactured with a woven rubber material which can be painted or repaired when damaged; therefore, discoloration is not a problem.

The mat’s surface remains well bonded despite water and sun exposure, and the original paint material can be used to reseal the mat repeatedly. Glue-down mats are also easier to install and have no downtime meaning people can walk on them immediately after installation. However, they cost more than the cast-in-mats.

The takeaway

Whatever truncated dome mats you choose, ensure they are made of high-quality materials and choose an experienced company to install them on your property.