Small Office Design: Use of Illusory and Shared Spaces

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6 Common Problems of Hardwood Floors in a House

A house with a hardwood floor is spectacular. The value of a house increases when we install a wooden floor. But, we see a lot of problems associated with hardwood floors. One can rectify all problems if one takes it one by one.

Excess wear/sanding blemishes

Wooden floors wear out but it takes time. Often, blemishes show up when you haven’t finished a floor well. Such as when you build up a finish too fast or when don’t do the sanding well, wear shows. If one doesn’t fine sand a floor, you see the finish at the bottom part of sanding grooves. Or, when you have too much foot traffic, top surface breaks down. It is usual to use 100 grit sandpaper for normal finishes. 

If you apply too many coats of finish without allowing time for it to dry, then time for full curing of this will take longer. By then, it will look as if it has aged 6-8 years. Wood needs much maintenance. Pet nails, grit, and furniture legs cause much wear on a wooden surface. Improper sandpaper can make unsightly scratches on a wood surface. To avoid such a problem, use 3M pads.

Buckling

When boards are not allowed to expand, they buckle. It begins when you let moisture seep into the board. At times, buckling is enough to lift a board off its subfloor. It can pop trim off a wall or even move door frames. If one has a damp basement, it can cause buckling through the floor. If you install it when it is too dry you might experience buckling during the damp season. Another instance might be if you have floods. For installations that you have glued down, using wrong size trowel could lead to an improper bond between boards with its subfloor.  A few buckled boards might get reinstalled but most of them have to get removed.

Cupping

This phenomenon occurs when a board has a wet bottom. Its top remains dry and this causes cupping. It can happen to any kind but it is more prevalent among broad boards. Instances of this happening occur when we install it on top of a wet basement. One could install a vapor retarder between boards and a subfloor. But, this is not a permanent solution. It is possible to correct these kinds of moisture issues. Once we do this, it lies flat. Some undergo permanent distortion and we can do nothing about it. When a floor is not lying flat, we must sand it. Even then, this issue gets corrected only if the difference in moisture content between a top and bottom layers is about 1% or lesser.

Peeling finish/debris in a finish

When prepping of a floor is not carried out well it might result in peeling of a finish. Use of high-grit paper and excessive sanding can render a surface so smooth that a finish doesn’t adhere to it. Other reasons include applying a top coat on one that is not yet dry. Or, insufficient cleaning between coats and incompatible finishes. A major cause for peeling is stain residue that we did not clean enough. If one does not remove any excess stain within three minutes it will make problems. One must also let it to dry well. You can fix peeling floors by sanding it down to bare wood to do finishing again. If you braid a floor and apply a coat, it will make it  look worse. If we don’t do resanding, oils and waxes will seep into a floor and prevent a finish from bonding well. 

If we do not take care, a wet finish will attract a lot of debris. Most of this is grit but it could also be animal hair, pet nails, and pieces of dirt that get blown by wind. One way to prevent such debris from ruining a finish is to clean a room before doing it. You can also remove a little dirt that sticks to a finish by allowing it to dry and sanding it.

Abnormal gaps/ Fractures

Small gaps between boards are reasonable. This might increase or disappear as temperature and humidity changes. A likely reason for this to happen is that we laid our boards when moisture content was high. When it dries, boards shrink and gaps become evident. Large gaps occur when we have hotspot defects. This is an environmental issue caused by heating and cooling ducts inside a house. 

Fractures are most often found in factory-made boards than anything else. When nailers do not have adapters, they crack. Use of board that has adapters for nailers stops this problem from happening. We should replace a board with a damaged edge. Also, if wood dried too fast in a kiln, it is prone to cracking. We can repair cracks with a repair kit. This has a colored marker and some finish material. It also has some filler that we use to fill in cracks and use a marker to color it to its correct shade. Then, we apply finish so we will have a uniform appearance.

Stains

We see some stains build up on a finish but we can remove it by using a wood floor cleaner. If a stain is a persistent type, then we must sand it out. Stains that are hard to remove are those that go deep into wood fibers. Pets can cause such stain but even water might be a reason. If boards are deeply stained, it is better to replace it. At times, a use of wood bleach is enough to remove stains. But, this method has its shortcomings. For one thing, if you use bleach, you have to bleach all areas of a floor. This is tedious work and might prove to be more difficult than removing and replacing a new board.

Taking care of hardwood floors is easy. But we have to attend to it often. This is more evident as time passes. If we leave our maintenance work to a professional, everything becomes easy.

Choose between Polished Concrete and Epoxy Resin Flooring

People do not consider the pros and cons of having the right tools and materials for doing construction work. Ordering material from a store online will suffice is what drives people. But, after material arrives and it lies unused in the garage floor because we have a stripper is missing or a surface level is not right. One vital thing we need when we begin is marking and measuring tools. It helps us get our right foot forward all the time. We pros insist on doing the marking with measurement first, then laying out our material. 

Why not hire professionals?

You know it is not that costly to hire a professional to do this work. When you consider you may not have all professional tools needed that you may have to buy ones that you do not have, it is wise to always check with professionals first. For the cost of buying new material, the time and effort you will spend doing the work, if you hire our professional floor installers, you can get this work done in quick time. 

Choose a type of surface first

First, we prepare an estimate for your house, warehouse, or shop floor calculate costs of material and labor. If this figure meets your approval, we go ahead with our work. Here, you have an important decision to make. A floor is usually of concrete so you can have it polished which is a wonderful thing or you can opt for epoxy flooring. Now, consider benefits of both flooring:

Epoxy surfaces

● Epoxy surfaces last a lifetime.

● We have many types of epoxy floors to choose from. 

● Epoxy flooring has a seamless design, unlike tiles. 

● It is impervious to chemical action, elements, impact, abrasion. 

● This makes an affordable cost-effective solution for your house. 

Concrete surfaces

●  harder than any type of flooring.

● It does not lift, flake, or peel. 

● It can take a higher abrasive force such as that of car tires. 

● Does not have any vapor pressure issues. 

Now, let us look at both these surfaces in detail. First, here is a polished concrete floor. 

Polished concrete floor

The main big advantage of this type of surface is that it is low cost so takes hardly any time at all. Our experts will help every step of this process. It is a single time application that lasts for a lifetime. We do not have any wear or fading so our maintenance cost is negligible.

1. No wear or fade.

2. No maintenance.

3. Single time process.

4. No initial costs.

5. Low downtime for completion of the process.

Next big advantage is that polished concrete reflects light so we have a lesser need to illuminate dark spaces. It suits a dust prone atmosphere because it is easy to clean or vacuum the place. We need not use urethane, waxes, or any topical coatings but retains its wonderful natural shine. Also, we need not use any odor applications because of its inert smell. 

Epoxy Resin Flooring

Epoxy resin surface is a protective type of flooring. It has a tough exterior so it is a choice of floor for both houses or industrial spaces. Moreover, it takes a high degree of shine that gives it a glossy appearance. 

● Epoxy makes concrete more durable. 

● It adds strength, it protects underlying concrete from grease, stains, moisture, cracks. 

● It is easy to lay - roll out an epoxy sheet on cement without glue or mortar. 

● It adds an anti-fatigue property to a floor. 

● A surface created is hard, fast bond with any surface beneath it. This is extremely durable and seamless. 

It resists scratches or peeling. Usually, it lasts a lifetime or longer. We can enhance looks of our interiors by choosing this option. 

Floor installation step by step

Installing a surface is a daunting task best left to professionals. Our regular  floor installers will do the needful for our house. We can choose between a polished concrete or a resin surface. Once we have approval for type and materials, we will do the floor installation for you. 

Epoxy Floors

 Epoxy resinous option, we have many layers of epoxy that are 2mm or more in depth. It has hardeners with resins that combine to react to make a strong chemical bond. 

1. Clean and vacuum a surface so we have no dust particles, loose leaves, or anything. 

2. If we see any cracks in the surface, fill it with putty first so it is level.

3. Use a scrub brush and heavy-duty degreaser to clear any dirt and oil stains.

4. Use concrete etch with citric acid to help create grooves for epoxy. 

5. Mix your epoxy chemicals apply it immediately with a 2” brush. 

6. To add chips, toss them on the surface after you have applied epoxy. 

Its seamless and high-shine looks increase an appeal value of a room. Combined with ease of maintenance, more people have taken to epoxy surfaces. One gallon will be enough for 200-250 square feet.

Polished concrete surfaces

Polished concrete gives a sophisticated look because it does away with imperfections. Though this process is simple, it is time-consuming. First, evaluate hardness of concrete. 

1. Clean surface, use detergent and warm water to make it super-clean. Use hydrogen peroxide for stains. 

2. Wear protective gear for eyes and hands.

3. Fill in cracks with concrete. 

4. Get a concrete grinder. A standard sander with 150 grit will do. For a highly polished appearance, use 800 grit. Also, note renting a grinder will be costly.

5. When you are halfway through, use a densifier. This chemical hardener will help solidify this concrete. 

6. Use a final grit of 1500 or 3000, vacuum the place. Apply two thin coats of concrete sealer.

Though it looks easy, there is much effort involved. Use professional help as this will solve your problem fast. 

Small Office Design: Use of Illusory and Shared Spaces

 Art is a concept, not an idea. So, if you are waiting for an idea, it will not work for you. It is better if you toe the line and use one of the conventional design ideas. Creating designs to suit your work is a cumulative effort - it adds up without integrating into the space utilization. When you add up all your ideas, you will need ten times the space that you actually have. Small offices do not have space, they need more functionality packed into a tiny space.  

Integrating Co-Working Spaces in Your Office

 

As said, small offices suffer due to limitations in the amount of space available. Co-working space is sharing space for more than one purpose. For instance, you have a dining room but the overflow of the room (it is not divided from the adjoining living room) allows us to use the space near our dining room as an extension of living room space. In small office building design, more things happen due to necessity than due to innovative thinking. It may be the space we use to drink tea or meditate. It may be a space another uses to walk around and think about his work. 

Understand Problems Due to Conventional Use

 

There are limitations to what one can do using conventional spaces. Here is a breakup of what it is:

  • Limitation due to sitting pose.
  • No intra-floor space.
  • Conventional desk space with storage. 

Adapting conventional methods limits space. We circumvent these by adding functionality to conventional modes. Sitting helps one stay awake. Leaning back helps one to sleep. A person able to sleep well is one that will work well. So, modern work tables do not emphasize sitting erect, it gives importance to your relaxed posture while working. A space for work is also a place for sleep. Integrating convention to suit convenience is the modern approach to office solutions. 

Use of mezzanine floor space to create office working areas is not only utilitarian but also modern. It does away with the convention of limiting the use of space for one specific use alone. The other big bugbear one has is with the way desk storage space is a four-layer chest-of-drawers that begin at the bottom near the floor and fills up to the top. Not that it is inconvenient, changing things up a bit will help move things faster. If you have a storage unit with elevated shelves and clear space at the bottom near the floor, it eliminates the need to keep bending over every time you needed something from the bottom. It changes the office space in a small but significant way - it speeds up operations because one can reach into the top drawers with more ease. 

Use of Non-Conventional Methods

 

 Use of seating methods 

 

Putting a chair in front of a desk and working is convention; it makes everything streamlined. One may not sleep in front of the desk - for one thing, it will put the worker to sleep. But, that is the future of things. A slumberette with the option of sitting upright is making its presence in many offices. People give equal importance to sleeping as to working. 

  

Space segmentation possible

It is possible to divide space into vertical units just as we do in a horizontal manner. In the sense, one can use a step across the length and breadth of the room so we get an additional seating space. 

Better Storage Spaces 

Putting things under the floor is practical. You get more space and you can access those things you put away under the floor.


Putting things under the floor is practical. You get more space and you can access those things you put away under the floor.

Use of Landing Space

 

When we have offices with more than one floor, it is often thought that landing spaces are taboo. No one can use them because people move up and down the stairway. True, people move but as long as there is space around the landing space, we can pull a table and chair in that space to use it as a convenient office space. Utility in an office building design is the way the individual function adds up to the entire whole. 

Illusion of No-Furniture

 

This is a modern concept begin actively use in many offices. The idea is similar to that of overlapping spaces only here we use glass to create the illusion. Glass tables and chairs make it appear as if the end of the office is at the walls itself instead of at the chair or table. While this is a good way to project “more space” without actually having it, it does not serve any functional end. We cannot move in two more tables because it seems like we have more space. In a cramped office, the use of glass furniture will serve to make the office look spacious. 

Office sharing is now possible - only you share it with yourself. You use spaces within the office confines to create new spaces. An office functions better with good integration of spaces.