Home Office Flooring Suggestions

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Home Office Flooring Suggestions

Postby rockabilly » Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:25 pm

I just moved in last week to my 1st MCM in Denver (yay!). My first project after getting unpacked is to replace the carpeting in the downstairs home office with something I can roll my office chair on. My first thought was wood flooring, but given this is a bottom floor of a split level and is about 4 ft below ground level, others have suggested putting in something a bit more water resistant.

Yesterday I pulled up the carpet to see what was under it. I discovered 8 inch chocolate brown tiles under the flooring. A neighbor suspects they might be asbestos tiles and I have no idea if this is so. I've done a bit of research over the last couple days and most place and folks I talk to say to leave the tile if its intact (which it is). so, I'm looking at putting a new surface over the top of the existing 8 inch tiles.

I like the tile surface under the carpet, however, the color doesn't go well with my office furnature which is black, pewter metal everywhere, white and red (from a logo sign I have). I'd like to stay in this color gamut and am looking for solutions. My thought right now is to get some sort of non-ceramic tile flooring similar to what is there now but not linoleum sticky tiles. I was thinking maybe gray, charcoal gray, or some sort of tarrazo design with gray, black & white combos. I've also considered the checker board pattern of alternating black and white tiles. anyway, before making a bad investment, I thought I'd seek advice from this board. thanks so much in advance

Pic of office before I bought the house (not my furniture)
Image

Pic of the brown tiles in the office closet
Image
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Postby egads » Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:55 pm

They are asbestos. Not much asbestos, but it is part of their composition.
I like them just the way they are, but they may not be in that good of condition in person. If they are well adhered you can go over them with new VCT. (Vinyl Composition Tile) I have friends with a sub-level room and they used FLOR carpet squares. Keeping black VCT looking good is a real PITA. I know, it's everywhere in my house.

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Postby rockabilly » Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:47 pm

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Postby rockland » Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:23 pm

i would stay away from checkerboard blk&wht. very diner 50's.
congrats on the move by the way!
i like the tiles existing. and they pose no hazard unless you sand them and
create dust.(still is creepy)
i prefer, at the moment, flor tiles. 2 ft carpet squares. but you can't
'scateboard' around in your chair. that was a blast in my old loft. but
my office now is too small...
(nice office you have! and lots of space and built-ins.)
as i've said before, neutral classic floor choices are best. a big investment.
and hardest to change. neutral meaning 5 on the grey scale. not dark or
white. seems to be easier to clean. or need for cleaning. and your existing
floors have that neutral tone. though dated and may not fit your modern
needs now, you may regret later changing them. at least flor tiles are
easily changed around. and are actually protecting the tiles below...
and!!! you may want to see how any moisture affects the below grade
area. i often like to lay projects out on the floor. carpet tiles are a nice
background for that.
or throw down a firm area rug for a while.
and settle in with your furniture. soon you will know what will fit.
if the tiles are popping up and cracking, that's a renovation. it they are
in good shape, use funiture and accessories and you may
end up liking them.

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Postby rockabilly » Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:44 pm

great advice! I agree on the color suggestion after thinking about it... it will save me from a major change down the road if I change my mind. I do feel I require a surface I can somewhat easily roll my chair on. I don't have to be able to skate across the room, but I do want to be able to stand up and have the chair automatically roll back with just the slight pressure of standing up. I do use three computers at once, so I like to roll between them with little effort. Do you think the carpet tiles you are recommending would work well enough for that?

tomorrow in daylight I'll take a couple more pictures for this post: my company logo for colors, desks, computers and related accessories for color schemes.

again, thanks so much in advance for all the advice!
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Postby rockland » Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:32 pm

my flor tiles are pretty firm, and they have a heavy duty rubber backing.
my chair scoots. (pretty good wheels). but would never fly and hit the back wall! i'm less agressive now also. i do miss the skate board feeling, but i did get nervous about changing too much and dealing with other things.
we had a small flood. only maybe a 3 gal. situation, but it made me pause
about flooring. and we have alot of rain storms. have never watered the
lawn in a year, and never will. (working on ground cover options). it is
still green but hate maintenance options. (neighbor uses leaf blower almost
daily!!!)not sure why...
just check your moisture world before you commit....

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Postby egads » Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:39 pm

My VCT is just standard Armstrong Excelon. Got it from Home Depot for $.62 a tile. I just thought of something. It's possible that tile you have is rubber. If it is, save it at all costs. You can kind of the by how cold and hard it is. do tell us what kind of shape it's in. How was the carpet laid over it? If the tack strip comes up without breaking up the tiles it probably is rubber.

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Postby 5280mod » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:31 pm

I love my FLOR carpet tiles and they have a "working class" line that would suit your purpose. It is nice in the winter time to have something a little warmer on the floor in a below grade room.

The other nice thing is that you can change the look of the room just by changing a few tiles.

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Postby jkc » Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:23 am

Flor would work well & as previous posters have said it can easily be changed/removed & dried if flooding ever becomes a problem being below grade.

The tiles are all fairly low pile & some really low pile so would allow you to push back on your chair as you described.

Would recommend that you get samples though as their color's look very different in reality.

Also what sort of heat do you have? Some of their tiles aren't suitable for radiant (not many, but the outdoor ones & some of the more industrial ones - call them).

Flor also has a limited line selling out of Lowes - which is cheaper & has the advantage that if you can get to a Lowes you can see it in person.

Good luck!

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Postby rockabilly » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:26 pm

great ideas. I'll head over to Lowes this evening and check out these carpet tiles. I'll make a final decision this week and hopefully do the install over the weekend!

here are a few more pics as requested.

Tiles where the carpet tack strips are nailed... they have sort of shattered at those points (I'm guessing this means they are not rubber)

http://www.rocketeermedia.com/MCM/crackedtile.jpg

The second image is over my logo sign that I'm hanging one wall of the office which I'll be basing most of the office colors on: black, white and accent red. my office equipment is all black and pewter metal (wire mesh stuff from officedepot/max). so, my plan was to paint the walls a light gray similar to the pewter (but non metalic eggshell), and then do the door jambs, baseboards and trim in gloss white. also planning on painting the built in case & shelves in gloss white. I'm running black stripes along the back of the wall behind the logo to match my business card and website. that leave the floor. I wanted a little more contrast from the light gray walls, but something neutral, so I'm leaning toward a 60% or so gray, not too dark but darker than the walls.

http://www.rocketeermedia.com/MCM/logosm.jpg

anyway, thanks again for all the excellent advice and steering me away from some bad choices I might regret later!
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Postby rockland » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:47 pm

oh, good call egads. tiles are breaking...
tricky. all the cracked bit can be cleaned up, but may want a small fill of
top-n-bond, to level the missing sections along the wall. pretty east dyi.
especially if you go with FLOR. but if an asbestos issue is there, not an
expert. but when you do clean up, keep it moist with a garden sprayer,
cheap HD version. that keeps the dust down. and it can be sealed. looks
like a perfect office for the flor carpet tiles. you could get three grey
scale colors, neutral. and a box of red. so just 25% is random red.
really random. it's great fun. seems to fit the logo style. toss them around
or shuffle the deck and let chance take over.three reds side by side?
thats ok. you can always change it...with tecky furniture, wire and steel.
the floor should be warm and gentle. and carpet tiles are still industrial
teck, and, and, a sound absorber! your gonna have fun i can tell...

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Postby egads » Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:31 pm

You can use a product like Fixall to fill the broken parts in order to install new flooring. That would be dense enough to hold up to traffic and still removeable should you or someone else want to get down to concrete in the future. The asbestos in floor tile is not that dangerious. It would be if you wanted to remove it. Or abrade it in any way. But vacuuming up the bits around the edges is OK.

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Postby rockland » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:36 pm

and they do look like the 9" tiles . some of those are not at all asbestos.
i have a few i never used and are clear of it. i clear the air with a mist
of water, big stainless hudson sprayers, in any dusty situation. so just a
thought. keeps the air quality clean. or a bit more clean and clear than most work situations.
and the alternative filler idea is good.
just passing on some ideas for interior sanding situations. misting the air,
draws the dust particles down and out of anyone not familiar with what
you are doing. keeps it from traveling to other part of the home. just a
mist, and sweeps up easily while damp.

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Postby rockabilly » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:50 pm

I just got back from Lowes--they only had 3 shades of tan in the FLOR tiles--not really colors that work with my office. I'll have to check tomorrow and make some calls to see if anyone else in denver carries them.

I'm doing 270 sq ft. so it looks like about $4/sq ft for FLOR. the VCT is about .60/sq ft on special at Lowes right now. so, I'm looking at about $160 vs $1000--a big difference in cost. Lowes is getting bunches of samples of different types of VCT so I can look them over. After I find a local dealer with FLOR samples I'll be able to figure out if the cost diff is worth it.

I bought more paint tonight... painting the next two days before the new floor goes in ;)
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Postby jkc » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:14 am

If the Lowes patterns don't work for you then I think you may have to buy directly from Flor - not sure that they have local dealers - though they do have designs sold with Design within reach (but I recall those being more expensive than normal Flor).

Website is - you will want to check out samples though.

Flor will probably be more expensive, but it's awfully nice...

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Postby Futura Girl » Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:13 pm

stop! stop! stop!

that chocolate tile is gorgeous! everyone stop encouraging rockabilly from destroying his original tile!

office furniture will come and go - change the color and style of it BEFORE you change your floor. LIVE WITH IT A LITTLE LONGER BEFORE YOU MAKE A DECISION YOU MIGHT REGRET!

in my non-professional opinion, the danger of asbestos is very VERY debateable. i heard it from the horse's mouth: a big time floor tile dealer in the business for 50+ years who lived through the whole thing and said that it was a scam to get a superior product off the market so different glue companies could make more money. in a nutshell, they literally put rats in a box filled with enough solid particles that if it were grass particles - that might cause cancer, too! look into the research sometime.

1) those tiles are original and look to be in very good shape
2) they are a non-offensive neutral color.
3) difficult at best to find 8x8 tiles or 9x9 tiles anymore. only a few colors are even made now.
4) we actually paid our tile guy extra money to achieve that vintage 9x9 effect - why go through with that when you already have it?
5) why are we are always so ready to rip stuff out 'because it's old and not "perfectly perfect" and make everything look like a new Dwell house?
6) As Michael J. Nordan once said a little patina or wear in surfaces "tells the story of the house." he actually turned away work when i suggested we change out our original yellow 9x9 eichler tile... that's when i learned my lesson...
7) i am a HUGE proponent of VCT floors. have put them and sheet linoleum in several houses now to achieve that fabby vintage look (I have used Azrock, Armstrong and Mannigton - all are very good dependable products), BUT i have found that the tiles made today are not as dense and durable as the stuff they put in 30-50 years ago - so if you have it and it's in halfway liveable condition - KEEP it, because it WILL last another 50-100 years.

when you first get a house, the inclination is to make it your own right away. but i say please refrain from doing anything quickly and rash. live with the house a year or so and let IT tell you what IT wants. i hate to be crash, but this is a phrase i have heard used: don't piss all over it just to mark your territory.

once you tile over it - you will never ever ever ever get back the original. don't pave over paradise.

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Postby rockabilly » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:11 pm

after pulling the carpet up I have a nice wood carpet tack strip around the edges. unfortunately some places are rotted and about 4 or 5 tiles are broken or shattered at that point (see the photo link in my above post). other tiles, like those in the closet rooms and anywhere away from the carpet tack strips look in excellent condition.

that said, I guess I'd have three concerns:
1. tying to wrap my mind around chocolate brown tiles when company colors are black, white and red (well, those colors are my own choice... admittedly). I'm not opposed to brown, but just didn't think it fit into my color scheme *shrug
2. how to repair or replace the half dozen tiles which shattered edges. maybe just some sort of brown floor 'filler' which would fill 1 and 2 inch gaps much like 'grout' ??
3. there are small nail holes in some points in various tiles a foot or two in from the walls. not sure why, but it seems a regular pattern. guess I could fill those as well with some sort of chocolate filler material.

in the end, I didn't want to move all my office furniture in and hook up all my electronic equipment so then in a year pull it all apart to put in flooring. I figured doing it now might be easier so that I can keep it that way for many years to come... that was the plan anyway!

ps. thx for the strong words of advice; I'll keep that in mind as I'm painting walls and continuing my research.
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Postby Futura Girl » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:21 pm

yes, please take a pause for the cause...
you never know... as a creative person like yourself, you may start 3 or 4 more companies while you are living there and the new brand corporate colors may work for one of them!

we lost the entire perimeter of one room where the carpet nail tacks had shattered the original floor. luckily, we had extra tiles on hand and were able to replace the room perimeter with the same tile.

the interesting thing though is, that even though these were the exact same tile and age, after 40 years of being covered by carpet the tile under carpet was a whole shade darker then what we replaced it with! so it actually looked like we put a contrasting lght color around the room.

you could take that concept a step further... find yourself a good tile contractor who is not afraid to do custom work. they're hard to find, but they're out there. ask all the tile/carpet stores in the older parts of town.
pick a contrasting color that will work with the brown and then have the cutter cut the 12x12 tiles down to match the old 8x8 grid and put a new perimeter in. you could probably do this yourself, if you have the time to learn how to deal with vct - it's not that hard, just time consuming. and will save you money from doing a whole floor.

also, if the color has never seen daylight - you may find it might mellow out a bit after a year... within about 2-3 years the carpet covered tile got closer in color to the lighter pre-exposed tile.

much much luck. and a big hearty congrats on your way cool home.

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:24 am

oh - and same thing goes for the random broken tiles - just consider putting in a contrast color in those points.

you see that technique alot in the old armstrong book pictures.
we call them "pops"

in our current home (with new vct) we put 3 random green 'pop' tiles in the middle of our beige in our entry and 5 green pops in the middle of the kitchen.

with brown - you could go with turquoise pops - or maybe even red to match your logo!

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Postby rockland » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 am


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Postby rockabilly » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:52 am

alright alright already! LOL. you convinced me. I'll keep the tiles for now. I'm changing my wall color slightly to a more beige taupe color (gray/tan) which I had in my last house. I believe it will look much better with the brown floor tiles.

so, that said, what color should I paint the built in shelves and storage on the far wall? currently its a creamy light yellow (can't quite call it off white). I was thinking bright gloss white or a semi gloss black... or charcoal. I welcome advice from the experts... cause I'm sure you'll save me from fatal mistakes.

again, thanks for all the excellent advice!
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Postby rockland » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:44 pm

isn't it nice that we care?
when it comes to color choices, it tends to be a bit personal.
you know the stuff you have and what kind of crazy impact you want.
they are already painted, so you will not get screams from the
'save the wood people' (like me)...
it is a giant undertaking to paint built-ins. DIY that is. latex or any h20
paint needs lots of cure time. i like to give it a week, or at least a long
weekend. the surface area is grand. lots of sq footage. and without a good
cure, all the precious books will stick. even if dry to the touch. two thin
coats, though takes a bit more time, is a bit more durrable. the first coat
can be thinned a bit and applied with less precission.
in a year you may wonder why the color choice for the built-in mattered.
an off white, towards the warmer neutral may be safe. and all yourbooks
and stuff will tart it up and be the real personality of your room.
and does it really need painting?

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Postby rockabilly » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:19 am

thanks, its nice to have someone interested in giving great advice and allowing me to learn from the experience of others. I'm so glad to have the advice as my original plan when I bought the house was to put wood flooring in this area (which was carpet).

I finished pulling up the carpet tack strip yesterday. no matter how careful I was, every single tile broke which had a tack strip on it (sob!). the tiles in this area are about 3-4 inches wide with the exception of those between doorways which were full tiles.

looks like someone also used a staple gun every couple of feet thru the entire floor. I pulled out dozens of rusted staples which left small craters behind each one.

I also noticed three tiles look almost like they were melted which dozens of small ripples in them. not sure how that could happen. maybe the concrete under had a defect and major pressure over 50 years allowed the tile to be pressure set into the depression under, but it looks really strange.

I spoke with the Lowes floor tile expert, he recommended 'Henry Universal Patch & Skim Coat' if I want to try to fill holes and cracks in the tile. but at this point it looks like about 2/3 of the tiles will need repairs for crater holes and maybe 1/3 will need to be pulled and replaced.

Right now I'm going to focus on painting. I'm on my 3rd attempt at a main wall color (thank goodness I'm only buying quart samples!). I figure I can paint while I figure out what to do about the broken and damaged tiles.

at this point it appears I have these main choices:
1. cut custom 9" tiles to replace damaged ones doing the 'pop' color tile technique mentioned
2. somehow level the area with damaged tiles and put FLOR carpet over the top
3. put armstrong VCT over the top (the option some of you have discouraged)
4. demo existing tiles and replace with new VCT

I can provide more pictures if any of you feel they might help in figuring out what to do.
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Postby rockabilly » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:23 am

one other question:
whats the best way to remove the shattered areas? a shop vac would be fastest for pieces too small too small to pickup by hand, but I don't want to do anything stupid here. any thoughts?

Image
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Postby Miguel » Sun Jun 17, 2007 3:46 pm

Hi, Rock. My take is (the same as many other people that have done this):

Get a spray bottle filled with water with a little bit of dish washing detergent. Spray the areas where the tile is shattered until is fully wet. Then, scoop the pieces while spraying to ensure they remain wet into a doubled plastic bag with some water inside.

Just make sure when you do this, that you keep all the material wet, so that nothing will get airborne. As long as you do that, you're not placing yourself at risk.

If you decide to remove all the tile (assuming it comes out easily), I'd use the same principle. Ensure all the area is wet while you remove it to prevent tile fiber to go airborne. Once you remove the tile, you can use bean-e-doo to melt the mastic away. From my understanding, the mastic has a much larger compositional percentage of asbestos than the tile, but it's not friable (does not get airborne, unless it is scrapped/hammered). Bean-e-doo does work like magic... and everything is removed that way, while allowing piece of mind that no asbestos will be present).


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