Construction Materials: Official Buildings

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Construction Materials: Official Buildings

Insights relating to the most common materials and material combinations used in indoor flat surfaces of commercial buildings and small offices include durability, aesthetics, affordability, maintenance, and style and design. Research shows that these are insights behind the purchasing decisions of indoor flat surface materials. Indoor flat surface materials covered in this research include wood, vinyl, stainless steel, aluminum, glass, rubber, among others. These materials are used in flooring, furniture, walls, handrails, and window frames. Research could not, however, uncover insights into the most common materials used in window sills.

1. Durability

Flooring

  • Vinyl flooring is considered a durable material for indoor use in commercial buildings. It is considered resilient and resistant to damage such as scratches and indentations.
  • Rubber flooring is considered more durable than vinyl flooring. It is resistant to wear and tear, stains, as well as water and heat damage.
  • Wood flooring is also considered durable, with the ability to withstand high traffic levels of use. The same is said to be true of quarry tile flooring.
  • Tile flooring is considered long-lasting due to its resistance to water and stains.
  • Carpet tile flooring is not considered durable as it is susceptible to stains and does not last long as other materials because of wear and tear.

Furniture

  • Solid wood furniture is considered longer lasting than furniture from manufactured wood.
  • Metal furniture, considered as the primary material for office furniture, is deemed durable, especially if the metal sheet used is thick. It is also resistant to denting.
  • Plastic furniture is not considered durable, cited by this article as lacking longevity.

Walls

  • Wooden walls are considered stable and environmentally maintainable.
  • Drywall is considered a standard interior wall material, but it is not durable as it is easily damaged by water and prone to scuffing.

Handrails

  • Stainless steel rails are considered the most corrosion-resistant material in the market, thus it may be assumed that they have components that are durable.
  • Wrought iron is considered one of the strongest materials used in handrails.
  • Aluminum rails are considered durable, while wrought iron rails are considered strong.
  • Tempered glass rails are considered more durable than wood, as it maintains its surface under extreme heat.
  • Wooden rails are easily prone to damage and susceptible to decay.

Window Frames

  • According to this article, aluminum frames are considered durable, as they do not warp in the heat and are considered strong.
  • Fiberglass frames are also considered durable, as they are resistant to air pollution and heat warping.
  • Wood clad frames combine the durability of other materials with the heat insulation of wood, thus this material combination may be construed as durable. Composite, another material combination used in window frames, is considered structurally sound and is said to surpass the thermal resistance of wood.

2. Aesthetics

Flooring

  • Wood flooring is considered aesthetically appealing, with a rich appearance. It is considered to elevate the feel of an office's interior design concept.
  • Carpet and tile flooring is also considered aesthetically appealing as it is available in a variety of colors and shapes which can be tweaked to meet design needs. They are also deemed to maintain their aesthetic qualities over time.
  • Terrazzo flooring is considered one of the most aesthetically versatile products available in the market. It gives commercial spaces such as airports and showrooms a chic look.
  • Epoxy flooring has also been identified as aesthetically appealing for retail spaces.

Furniture

Walls

  • The Architectural Digest considers acoustic tiles as "mod and cool looking".
  • Cinder blocks are said to lend an "industrial look" sophistication to interior walls.

Handrails

  • Glass handrails are considered aesthetically pleasing, as they enhance visibility.
  • Some wooden railings are considered as classic and elegant, offering a warm, natural look. The same may be said of wrought iron handrails, as they have been cited as an "elegant choice" by Archi Expo, an online exhibition platform for architecture and design.

Window Frames

3. Affordability

Flooring

  • Vinyl and laminate flooring are considered affordable flooring options available in the market.
  • Wood flooring is considered expensive as well as susceptible to water damage that may require sanding and refinishing, which may be considered additional costs. Terrazzo flooring is also considered expensive because of the initial installation costs.

Furniture

  • Plastic furniture is considered inexpensive in comparison to wood and metal furniture, the latter being considered the most expensive.

Walls

  • Drywall is considered easily available, affordable, and also easy to repair.
  • Plywood walls are considered inexpensive and considered a smart option for indoor uses such as shelving.
  • Glass walls are considered expensive because of the high upfront costs of installation.

Handrails

  • Wooden rails are considered an inexpensive option, with commonly used wood types including cypress, oak, maple, mahogany, and pine.
  • Wrought iron and glass are considered the more expensive materials used in handrails.

Window Frames

  • Vinyl and aluminum frames are regarded as affordable, while wood and fiberglass are considered more expensive materials for frames.

4. Maintenance

Flooring

  • According to this article, vinyl flooring is considered very low maintenance. Laminate flooring is also considered easy to clean and maintain.
  • Quarry tiles are also considered easy to maintain, as it is resistant to spills. It is considered the most common flooring material in commercial kitchens due to its resistance to grease build-up and food spills.
  • Carpet tile flooring is considered difficult to keep clean as it gets dirty quite easily and is susceptible to stains.

Walls

Handrails

  • Aluminum handrails are considered maintenance-free as it gives off a "clean appearance".
  • Wood rails are said to require frequent maintenance since they are easily prone to damage. Glass rails, on the other hand, must be frequently cleaned.

Window Frames

  • Vinyl, aluminum, wood clad, and composite window frames are considered low maintenance.
  • Wooden frames may require sanding, painting, and sealing, as this article advises that wooden frames are not frames that one can just "install and forget".

5. Style and Design

Flooring

  • Carpet tile and laminate flooring options are available in different colors and designs, thus they may be considered flexible to design.
  • Luxury vinyl flooring is said to have "endless design possibilities", thus it may be considered versatile in style and design.
  • Rubber flooring is considered utilitarian and considered to have a lack of design and finishing options. Quarry tiles are also not deemed to offer much "design versatility" as it values functionality over form.

Furniture

  • In this article, wood furniture is considered classy and attractive.
  • Plastic furniture is considered flexible, thus can be molded into various designs and styles. Metal is also considered flexible, thus can be reshaped into various designs as well.

Walls

Handrails

  • Wrought iron can be shaped into many handrail designs. Stainless steel rails are said to be available in different variations.

Window Frames

  • Vinyl window frames are said to be available in "limitless color options". On the other hand, wooden frames are considered traditionally accurate styling.


Emerging trends in construction materials used in indoor flat surfaces of commercial buildings and small buildings include warm metals, the resurgence of wood, and the residential aesthetic look.

Wood

  • Ambius, a global interior design, posits that wood is making a comeback, as more brands are focusing on sustainability. Millennial workers are regarded as the largest workforce in the US currently and it is important to them that the companies they work for have sustainability and environmentally friendly ideologies.
  • Ambius further posits that this drive has led to more sustainably sourced wood products featuring in office interior designs. Sustainability is no longer considered a goal, but the standard.
  • Wood is said to add warmth, biophilia, character, and lines in sterile workspaces. Commercial interior designs are progressing towards more organic designs with features such as prefabricated wood, reclaimed wood and even the use of old tree stumps as coffee tables.
  • Wood is also boats of creating natural accents that draw attention to important functional features. It is also considered to reduce noise pollution in workspaces and areas with high foot traffic.

Warm Metals

  • Gemma Gordon-Duff, an interior designer based in London, says that warm metals such as rose gold, brass, copper and gold have started featuring in office design trends. Decor Aid agrees as it posits that metals are boosting productivity and creativity, featuring in the best office designs of 2019.
  • Select Interiors predict that metals will be "all over" in 2020. They further assert that old gold and brass compliment and work well with each other. Gordon-Duff suggests pairing warm metals with raw materials such as wood and marble.
  • Decor Aid further posits that metals are great for small office designs as they create a wow factor in small spaces. For ultra-modern buildings, Decor Aid suggests the use of warm metals such as brass, gold, and bronze as they are said to soften modern glass buildings.

Residential Aesthetic

  • Ambius asserts that more and more buildings are designing working spaces to feel more homely and domesticated. They accomplish this through furnished kitchens, throw pillows, rugs, among others. Modern Australia points out that commercial buildings can be monotonous, so creating a homely environment by introducing knitted throws and soft rugs can render them warm and more relaxed.
  • Weekly Trends, an online magazine that shares weekly trending stories, also believes that the residential aesthetic look is increasingly being incorporated in working spaces to help employees find a "new home" at work. It posits that the relaxation brought about by a home-like environment boosts productivity.
  • Ambius is positive that this trend has only begun, as the fusion of office and home designs is predicted to revolutionize the perception of office designs.


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