Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flooring options for office and home

office flooring options interiors cabin canteen corridor
Many people don't give too much thought to floor spaces. But the type of flooring you have in your office will help prevent accidents and dangerous conditions, and will provide personnel safety. If you put in the right flooring in the beginning, it will also help you save on costs in the long run.

The reception area is the first space any visitor walks into and it leaves a lasting impression about your office. Architect and interior designer Ankur Yagnik, says, "it's best to go in for hard stones and natural stones like granite. Generally, marble is not recommended for the reception area, as it's a soft stone. However, if the reception area doesn't see too much traffic, like in a corporate office, then marble may be used." Marble varieties available in the market include both Indian and Italian varieties. If you are looking at other options, then certain sandstones like Jaisalmar yellow stone (a polished sandstone) and Baruda green (a natural stone) are also apt. Your next choice would be the use of vitrified tiles. While choosing the colours keep in mind the theme of the interiors and in case of high traffic areas, avoid dark colours.


Inside the office, the workstation area is where people spend most of their working time. Here again there are numerous options like carpets, vitrified tiles, vinyl and linoleum flooring. Carpet comes as a roll or tiles and it's especially useful for companies like call centres as it tends to absorb sound well. This is because it has a high acoustics absorbing power. In case it's a regular office, vitrified tiles or vinyl flooring can be used. "A popular product right now is linoleum," says Ankur. "It is 100 percent natural and recyclable. This type of flooring is making a comeback now."

Each of these types of flooring has different properties and is laid differently. So what you should choose will depend on factors like sound, aesthetics and maintenance. Does your office see a high level of sound activity? Do you want to have flooring that can be easily maintained? Does your office see little traffic? Carpets as stated earlier absorb sound well but linoleum and vinyl offer a range of colours that are not available in carpets. Maintaining a carpet is also more cumbersome as it has to be deep vacuumed at least once a week while vitrified tiles will do with a swabbing and wiping. On the other hand, vinyl and linoleum are more prone to stains and this could be a major negative.


Where cabins are concerned, any of the four types of flooring can be used based on the philosophy of the design. In India carpets are perceived as luxury and thus most companies opt for this as flooring for their cabins. It is, however, best for areas like conference rooms because of its acoustical properties.


What about the office cafe? The best flooring for this much-used area is vitrified tiles or other hard stones like granite. "Here, wet cleaning is done regularly during the day," explains Ankur. "Though some people use vinyl flooring in their cafeterias, as an architect I would not recommend it." As for recreational spaces at work, it depends on the kind of recreational activity. If there's a gym then sports matting should be used in the space where weights are used, and if there's a badminton court then laminated wooden flooring is apt. You can use vinyl flooring for the rest of the space.


Areas like the corridors see much higher traffic than the general work areas. Carpeting can be used for corridors but you should go in for a high-density specification, which again is available for other types of flooring too. This will wear better. Entrances to buildings are also being done in style and the walkways and pathways leading to the entrance also create an impression about your company. Flooring like flamed granite, sandblasted granite, and sandstone are some of the types of flooring that you can pick from for these areas. These are slip-resistant which is essential for external areas.

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