Ok, so there has been some disagreement between myself and a friend of mine *cough* oniram *cough* as to a technique I used to create a normal map. The technique I used is to add floating pieces. I had seen this be extremely effective on other normal maps so I figured, "why wouldn't it work with bigger objects?" because in the end it's all going on a plane anyway.
Here is the piece of the floor texture I'm making. It's a scifi floor btw.
Here is the image from a side perspective view where you can see that details are floating. everything except the main grate body(the box around and the x shape in the middle) are floating.
With the exception of one issue around the corners of the grate at the bottom(easily photoshopped out), I had no problems rendering it.
I'm trying to find out if there is truly a drawback to this when using it for floors. It's a quick and easy way to stack detail without having to worry about topology that much. Oh and excuse the screen grabs