FLOORING COLOURS through AGES

Post 698 –by Gautam Shah

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Stone-Paved Street at Dougga

For built environment Flooring Colour, is the most important element of experience. It primarily determines the level of brightness in a room, but has many other subtle affectations.

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The experience of colour, relates to both, Visual and Tactile aspects. The visual component consists of colour, texture and patterns. The tactile component has two relates, the actual feel and the visual recognition.

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The Colours of the Floorings emerge from> the extent, gradient and contours (steps, edges, drops, slopes) of the flooring, angle and tinge (stained or grisaille glass) of illumination and texture (gloss-dull), the expanse and colour of the joints.

Colour and black-and-white

The Patterns in the Floorings derive from> set motifs (images, patterns), recognizable geometry, grain-veins in the floor materials and the composition of joints.

Dark coloured floors cut off bottom-up reflection of radiation, and so are ideal in open-to-sky spaces like Chowks, on window sills, and spaces in front of doors, verandahs. Dark floors, however absorb more radiant heat due to the low reflectivity and get very warm. Dark floors are not preferred in walkways, balconies or on terraces (in tropical climates). A dark floor in water pool heightens the feeling of depth, but can increase the rate of water evaporation due to greater absorption of heat radiation. Very dark and shiny floors show off dust and require frequent cleaning. Dark coloured sills increase the radiant heat inside the rooms. Dark sills in cellars (low illumination areas) reduce the level of reflected component of natural light.

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Light-coloured floors substantially reduce the heat absorption, provided these are maintained clean. Light-coloured floors provide lightness and enhance the space size. White floors have a natural association with aseptic conditions, so are preferred in food preparation zones, health facilities and in sanctimonious areas (temples).

Akshardham Temple New Delhi India

Coloured floors are used for livening up monotonous or drab spaces (very large halls like departmental stores, plazas, courtyards). Coloured floors are used in industrial plants, schools, hospitals etc. to indicate routes and movement areas for goods, vehicles and people.

Salle des Hôtes - Mont St Michel

Historically Flooring colour has been monochrome where good building stones were available. Earliest colouring elements were the mosaics of marble, ceramic and glass. Flooring colours have been exploited in sparsely occupied sections of the building such as corridors, passages, plazas, etc.

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West Asiatic architecture had monochrome flooring of building stone and in some cases of terracotta units. Greeks used only white marbles, but used mosaics to create images on the floors.

Romans began to use colourful marbles as inlay pieces to create borders and central patterns. Thermaes (bathhouses) were perhaps the most garish of all places in terms of flooring colour schemes.

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Byzantine period saw reuse of Roman marble debris. Cut pieces of coloured marbles of Roman columns were used for flooring bands. Contrast and pattern definition was their only intention, rather than a balanced colour scheme.

In Gothic architecture, the colour through the stained glass window was so strong that flooring colour was almost subordinated. The quality of laying and finishing were very refined. Granites were used sparingly, only as part of patterns. Wherever high colour effect was, required floors were covered with carpets, rugs and floor spreads.

English mediaeval period saw the use alternatively placed light and dark shades (black-white) of flooring materials to form diagonal checker board flooring.

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Post Gothic period windows’ glass became light hued, interiors were much more illuminated, interior elements were painted and often gilded. These required a highly polished (glossy- dazzling surface) and a balanced colour scheme.

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Renaissance saw painters and sculptors becoming builders and architects, who were very adapt in use of colour. Marbles were selected in terms of the interior colour scheme. Veins or grain patterns of Marbles and other stones were exploited by selection of the cut section, and their orientation to accentuate the patterns.

Versailles Flooring of Mixed stone colours but well planned pattern

French Versailles had marble and stone floors, but required on one hand frequent scrubbing and polishing and replacement due to the moisture from under-floors. Wood was preferred as a floor finish. Wood was a local flooring material for many years. 15th C onward Europe had supplies of exotic woods of Asiatic origin, later from African and American locations (North and Latin). Rare woods, were appreciated for their wonderful colours, grains and hardness but used conservatively. The woods were veneered thin sections and backed with boards of low-cost local woods, to form a surfacing material.

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Blog Links on FLOORS and FLOORINGS

Post 626 –by Gautam Shah

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These are few links on Blog articles relating to Floors, Floorings, Patterns, Colours, Joints, and Finishes

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Floorings, by virtue of their sheer extent are the most effective components of interior space definition. Floorings are important for visual and tactual appeal. Floorings are visually perceptible because the common sources of natural and other illuminations are from the top. Tactile appeal emerges when visual details of the floorings are not registered….’

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FLOORINGS (March 2016) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/floorings/

FLOORING SYSTEMS (June 2015) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/flooring-systems/

FLOOR PAINTS (March 2015) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/floor-paints/

FLOOR SPREADS -TYPES, SIZES and SHAPES (Dec 2014) > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/floor-spreads-types-sizes-and-shapes/

ROOFS and FLOORS (July 2014) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/roofs-and-floors/

FLOORING COLOUR (June 2014) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/flooring-colour/

PATTERNS in FLOORINGS (June 2014) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/patterns-in-floorings/

JOINTS in SURFACE FINISHES (July 2015) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/joints-in-surface-finishes/

GLOSS (Sept 2014) >

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/gloss/

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FLOORINGS

Post 586 by Gautam Shah

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Floorings, by virtue of their sheer extent are the most effective components of interior space definition. Floorings are important for visual and tactual appeal. Floorings are visually perceptible because the common sources of natural and other illuminations are from the top. Tactile appeal emerges when visual details of the floorings are not registered. And there are several circumstances when visual recognition fails to occur such as very vast extent, deficient illumination, uniformity of colour, pattern and texture, a higher floor from the eye-level and physiological deficiency of visual perception.

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Velodrome for cycling > Doubly curved flooring surface  > Wikipedia image by Nicola

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Cycle skating ramps > Wikipedia image Joshua Sherurcij at en.wikipedia

Floorings take on a very prominent role in: sparsely furnished and lightly occupied rooms, corridors and yards. Floorings are strikingly evident when observed from a higher elevation, such as upper level galleries, landings and platforms. Flooring pattern and colour become less evident on a very glossy surface. Reflections over a glossy surface of the flooring contribute to the height aspect of the space, but due to shortening of the depth aspect, add to the ambiguity. Floorings gain importance in tall spaces, rooms with invisible or non interesting ceilings (due to height, darkness and lack of captivating features), and in rooms with floors or levels rising upward (allowing larger floor area to be visible). Floorings provide some functional surfaces that are horizontal (parallel to gravity), in a straight gradient (ramps), variable gradients (roller skating), moulded to single curvature (ice skating) or double curvatures (Velodrome). Floorings in similar situations, however, could be ‘non-functional’ that is ‘decorative’. Such exceptional conditions occur in prosceniums, road verges, canal sides, faces of inclined walls or piers. Floorings are required to absorb or reflect energies like light, heat, sounds, vibrations etc.

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Pavement of Praca de Pedro IV in Lisbon > Wikipedia image by Roede

Visual floors have colour, pattern and texture through body surface, joints, inclination and stepping. Floorings that provide a pleasant and novel visual experience affects us more. Visual characteristics are used for connecting various architectural entities (buildings abutting a street or plaza), uniting diverse architectonic elements (like columns, gaps, openings), to impose a matrix of scale or discipline, (create passages, marked paths, territorial definitions). Flooring patterns are used to form segregated lots for different levels of accesses or purposes. Floorings with graphic patterns, motifs and symbols become part of road signage systems.

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Brick pavement in Piazza del Campo Siena > Wikipedia image by Zyance

Flooring is a very tactile component, unlike a wall finish or a ceiling. Tactile floors offer feeling of warmth, cold, hardness or softness. The presence or absence of texture makes for shiny or dull floors leading to safe, easier or difficult movement. Tactile flooring is used for movement of people and goods, sleeping, resting, bathing, washing, storing, food preparation, and handling and processing of materials.

Floorings are broadly classified for the degree of hardness, resiliency, resistance to scratching, staining and water or moisture absorption, capacity to conduct electrical charge, spark erosion etc.

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Stone ballast-packing against railway track > Wikipedia image by LooiNL

Simplest floorings are the natural finish over the surface of the material. These may need, levelling, dressing, wetting, curing, cementing perhaps compacting such as in clay-soil courts, sports tracks, playgrounds, cricket pitches etc. Natural Materials include, clays, soils, sands, stones, gravels, Kankar, minerals, burnt ceramics (Surkhi), Pozzolana, animal excretes and plant decompositions. Cementing compounds are water, oils, bitumen, tars, pitches, synthetic polymer binders, lime and Portland cement.

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Clay court for tennis > Wikipedia image by sk4t

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Cobble stone floor Place de la Bastille Paris > Wikipedia image by Tangopaso

Gravity laid floorings are simply laid, relying on the pull of gravity for stability. The largest and flat surface is placed touching the plane of gravity. In blocked or unitized floorings the stiffness, thickness and close fitments add to the stability. Examples of gravity laid floorings are: cobbles, brick lays, gravels, sand spreads, carpets, rugs, floor spreads, Daris, Chattais, woven mats, feet dusters, wooden boards, synthetic flooring mats, plastic and rubber tiles and rolls.

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Gravity laid carpeting in Lloyds Building > Wikipedia image by Lloyd’s of London

Cast in-situ floorings provide very extensive and a uniform surface. Cast in situ floorings are created by liquidized mass such as plasters, pastes, coatings and homogenization. The conversion processes are evaporative drying, oxidization, calcification, chemical bonding, polymerization, heat, radiation and moisture induced changes. Cast in-situ floorings are like concrete, cement cast floors (IPS), cow dung, Surkhi and lime combinations, synthetic or culture marble systems, fiber glass and other resin-fiber matrix spray-able composites, organo plastics, epoxy coats, PU coats, rubber coats, tar-bitumen roads.

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Operation theatre Flooring coating > Wikipedia image by Pfree2014

Mechanically fixed floorings are keyed to the substrate or the structure. Usually when floor finishes are incapable of staying in place due to the thin mass, lighter weight, reduced gravity (on sloped surfaces), presence of other pulling forces, small extent or spread requires some mechanical or adhesive fixing. Mechanical fastening is achieved by nut-bolt, nails, screws, rivets, cleats and seam formation. It is also done with friction, suction, surface tension, magnetic pull, electro static attraction etc. Examples of tied floors are bus and boat decks, stage wood floors, claddings, panellings, stair carpets.

Dull - glossy floorings

Dull and glossy floors > Pixabay image by Pashminu

Adhered floorings, at a simple level are affixed to the substrate. At complex level a layered composite system is formed by multi-layering over a substrate. Adhered finishes are superior as the entire surface is affixed, and so allows greater distribution of uprooting stresses. Pozzolana, lime, cement, are traditional binders whereas modern age adhesives are polymer and elastomeric compounds. Coatings like paints, organosols and other liquidized compounds are used. Adhered floorings can be categorized into three types: 1 Coatings create an extensive surface, 2 Films and sheets offer large tracks of surface, and 3 Blocks and units form a larger unit. The adherent besides fixing may provide padding, resiliency, insulation, electrical discharge, green or tacky bonding for easy removal. Typical adhesive bonded floorings are, Woven and non woven carpets, fabrics, mats, ceramic, mosaic metal, and synthetic tiles, metal or polymer sheets and foils, paints and coating systems.

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Spray-on composite flooring > Wikipedia image by Maurits90

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JOINTS in SURFACE FINISHES

Post 469 by Gautam Shah

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stone joints

Joints are very important section of a surface finish. Joints create pattern, texture, contrast, equalize variegated colours of the surface, endow a discipline and unity, create an orientation, divide a space into proportioned sets, provide flexibility, prevent or direct cracking. A surface finish gains its value as much for the quality of the surface as the careful design consideration for the joints.

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Joints in surface systems arise as the components of the surface finish has smaller size than the space, fixing becomes easier, of assurance of adhesion, and to help divide the task in lots. Surface-finishes are applied as coatings with on-site application, also need scheduled joints to manage continuity. Such depositions, though known as seamless or joint-less system, have nearly imperceptible joints. These joints always have some inherent drawbacks of quality or consistency.

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Designing a joint in surface system is a followup process once the surface components have been devised or accepted. In a good design Joints are never of secondary importance. In creation of assembled entities joining is an integrated effort. For all systems joining, un-joining and rejoining, are important strategies of design.

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Joints occur with or without a material in an assemblage Fused joints (by chemical solution or heat fusion) have a traceable joint. Edge to edge joining is, both created and avoided intentionally. Wooden floorings for decks (exterior) and performance stages (interior) have spaced joints to allow the wood to adjust to the changes in moisture content of air. Similarly metal assemblies have free joints to accommodate the expansion caused by the temperature. Edge joints have an intervening material (such as a ductile or conductive material) or none, to allow or curtail the transmission of energy and vibratory forces (mechanical, sound, electrical, etc.). Structures require separation joints to sustain their integrity, and the same are identically placed in their surface finishes.

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Very closely placed joints create a virtually continuous surface finish. Stone masonry and wood often have very thin or knife edge joints. Thin joints are for sensorial reasons like touch, fill, visual, etc., and for structural or functional causes. Thin joints provide some flexibility to the surface component, but there is insufficient space for displacement such as in bricks and cobble stone flooring.

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Widely spaced joints occur for many different reasons. The prime reasons are: non matting planes at the joint, geometric deviations of the surface components’ shapes. Deep joints require greater width for filling up. Wide unfilled or shallow filled joints create crevices, enhancing the light-shadow contrast over the surface

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Bricks, Stone and Blocks masonry surfaces have etched joints called pointing, these enhance the visual texture of the surface due to shadows of the depth, or deposition to form rendered joints. Such joints are formed of matching or different materials and colour. The deep etched  joints allow space hair cracks.

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