Raised flooring is used in a variety of applications when ready access to conduits which run under the floor is needed. Usually, the flooring system consists of a series of tiles laid into a grid supported by pillars and beams. Raised flooring is frequently used in data centers so that cabling can be run under the easily lifted floor panels. Some homes are also being sold with heating and cooling systems embedded under raised flooring. Not only is this more efficient, but it becomes much easier to service these systems when it is needed. There are a few things to take into consideration when installing raised flooring to consider whether or not it is appropriate for the intended application.
Most raised flooring is installed in structures as they are built. Because raised floors can be as much 18 inches (45 centimeters) deep, installing a raised floor can alter the ceiling height very drastically. In a room where the ceilings are high, as they usually are in offices and data centers, this may not be an issue. But if you are considering raised flooring for your home, you may want to take this into account.
Raised flooring also accumulates dust and contaminants, which is a source of difficulty for many data centers. The same features that make raised flooring appealing also make it subject to collection of dust, because the easily lifted panels will allow materials to filter below. This can mean that accessing conduit, cabling, or pipes under the raised floor is a messy endeavor.
Raised flooring needs to be supported with numerous pedestals, and it is important to make sure that the pedestals are properly installed to support the floor. Especially when the floor is carrying a heavy load, make sure that no floor panels are compromised, and if it is necessary to cut holes in the floor for cables, be sure that the cut tile is properly supported with additional pedestals.
Especially when using raised flooring to conceal large amounts of data cable, there are several things to watch out for. The first is that it is highly advised to use a non-conductive material for the flooring. In the case of an electrical short or other problem, this will prevent the floor from damaging people or other equipment. In addition, the floor should be fire resistant for the same reason. It is also recommended that the metal framework of the floor be grounded.
Raised floors are an excellent tool when appropriate, and it has been determined that if raised flooring is needed, to be sure to work with a reputable contractor. Ask for an estimate of the total cost and construction time of the flooring, and find out if the floor or the contractor's work is guaranteed. Depending on what type of materials are being run under the floor, you may want to work with a plumber or heating and cooling technician as well, to coordinate the work of both contractors in the most efficient way.