Raised computer floors explained
Raised computer floors provide the basic power and data connectivity required in many types of office and classroom situations. The floor structure is built in such a way that it is fully accessible, re-configurable and re-usable.
The gap between the concrete slab and the elevated floor not only holds the electrical wiring, but can also have HVAC ducts, allowing for the flow of warm or cool air.
Vertical pedestals are fixed to the subfloor with adhesives or bolts and the height between the two floors can range from 3 to 48 inches. Panels are then fitted into the pedestals and these are composed of cement or wood and clad in steel or aluminum. Typically, the panels are 2×2 feet and many types of the most popular floor finishes are available, including stone, laminate, tiles, etc.
Most companies that install access flooring will help to assess and implement the solution most suited to the area in keeping with the budget. It is necessary that aesthetics, durability, maintenance and cost all be taken into account before the final decision is made.
Considerations to adhere to if a raised computer floor is planned
If the project is still under construction, then it the best time to plan for a raised computer floor. This is important because this type of floor needs certain conditions to be met.
- The type of sub floor is important and level concrete is best. The flooring can be adjusted to small imperfections but not major ones, and it is important that there is no danger of high moisture, etc. that can interfere with the lifespan of the panels.
- The type of local conditions to ground the access floor onto should be known.
- Planning of door thresholds so that they don’t interfere with the raised floor.
- Safety guidelines need to be taken into consideration. These include fire suppression systems and fire alarm systems.
- The type of loads that the floor will have to endure, this includes weight from stationary loads, pedestrian traffic and rolling loads.
All these guidelines can be provided by the company that will undertake to install the raised computer floor.
Raised computer floor benefits
The most important benefit is that all the cables, electrical wiring and HVAC ducts are run through the floor keeping them out of the way. They will no longer be a tripping hazard in the office or classroom situation. The positioning of the wiring allows for easy accessibility and flexibility since the wiring can be re-routed, upgrades or repaired without needing construction. The business or school can continue to run without interference as these are carried out.
The advantage of using the space between the panels and the subfloor for heating and cooling is immense. This space acts as a plenum chamber and it helps to move the conditioned air evenly throughout the building. The warm air is especially effective and efficient because it always rises and it’s much needed during the winter months, but the cool air can also be directed exactly where needed, this is especially important if it is needed to keep certain machinery cooled. This is especially used in data centers and telecommunication facilities and perforated tiles are used to help with the cool air flow.
Other solutions for concealing wiring include suspended ceilings and dado rails, but raised computer floors still remain the most popular choice. When they are combined with modular electrical systems and modular walls they make the most practical solution for reconfiguring buildings for upgrades or new tenants.
The advantages of a raised floor system include:
- No lumps and bumps from exposed or under carpet cabling.
- Outlets can be moved any time.
- No core drilling is required.
- No regulations concerning the preservation of historical buildings are broken as no demolitions take place.
- Any office or classroom can be ready in a short time.
Maintenance of an access floor
Dust that collects below the raised floor should be cleaned out to avoid any potential problems with the cabling or with dust getting into servers.
The cabling should always be neat and not piled up in one area since there may be problems with overheating.
Even though raised computer flows are the oldest design for concealing cabling, they still remain extremely popular for the way that they maximize the use of under floor space for cabling and air control.