Raised flooring, also commonly called access floors, are specialized type of elevated floor that are attached to stabilized floor framings. The framings are also rigidly attached to the concrete floor below creating a gap of around 3 to 4 inches depending on the type of intended application. Electrical conduits, data server wirings and HVAC ducts are some of the most commonly installed systems inside a raised flooring.
The entire structural floor is mainly composed of panels arranged in a grid and supported by vertical pedestals. These pedestals are fixed on the concrete floor and attached to it using mechanical fixings such as expansion bolts or using industrial strength adhesives. The vertical pedestals are also height-adjustable depending on the type of applications it is used.
Panels come in wide variety of sizes but the 2 feet by 2 feet size is the most common as it is the most versatile of all the sizes; it is not too small nor too large. The floor panels are also made from different structural materials such as concrete cement, wood core clad in steel and aluminum. Flooring finishes such as vinyl, laminate, rubber, carpet, ceramic tiles and linoleum are also compatible with the panels.
Traditional raised flooring
Often found in data servers and industrial setting, the traditional raised flooring systems provide sufficient space that can easily accommodate numerous wires, ducting and piping installations. These systems are built to last using rugged and heavy duty structural materials with no regards for flexibility and ease of use. Traditional raised floorings do not give the user easy access to the wires and other installations beneath it since you need to lift the floor panels that are very heavy. You need to have a specialized suction tool in order to safely lift the panels as using your hands solely is deemed very difficult. Also, pulling too many floor panels in the same vicinity is very dangerous as it will cause the entire framing to lose stability and fall on its own. Having the floor several feet from the ground will also cut more usable ceiling height which will limit the height of the equipment and apparatuses that you can install in the room. Highly-specialized raised floor installers is also a must if you opt to have a traditional raised flooring in your office or server rooms.
Low profile raised flooring
These types of raised flooring system are quite similar to traditional raised flooring minus the bulkiness, ruggedness and heaviness of its big brother. The panels are lighter, and its stability and strength are comparable to the previously discussed flooring system. They also take up less ceiling height and are much easier to maintain due to its simplicity and flexibility. Opening numerous panels at the same time is not an issue since the stability of the framing will not be compromised due to its lightness. The only problem with these types of flooring system is that there is less space available below as compared to traditional raised floors. You cannot install large ducting systems below and you are only limited to small electrical wiring and data cable conduits.
Benefits of raised flooring
Raised flooring are commonly used to conceal cables, electrical wirings and HVAC ducting from sight especially if the ceiling is not an option for such installations. Accessing these installations is also easier on raised floors than on the ceiling which is a very good feature in most data server rooms. Maintenance personnel can easily upgrade, repair and reroute wirings from underneath the floor especially in modern times where cable technology is improving very fast and replacement of new cables is not only beneficial to the company but also practical and profitable. Cable upgrading and maintenance activities in raised floorings will also have minimal interference on the business’s activity as personnel will only have to remove the panels in section and not disturb other areas of room. The amount of time it would take to perform such activities will also be cut considerably due to its ease of access and simplicity.
Heating and cooling systems that run inside the raised flooring is also more energy efficient as compared to overhead installations. The space in between the raised floor and concrete floor can evenly distribute conditioned air all throughout the entire room. Warm heating the entire building will also be efficient in cold months since warm air easily rises than cold air.