Raised floors are used in areas where a significant void needs to be created between the floor and subfloor. This is usually to allow cabling, wiring and other mechanical piping to pass underneath the floor without interruption.
The floor consists of panels resting on a frame and supported underneath by struts or pedestals. Individual panels can be lifted to allow access to the space underneath the floor for maintenance purposes. The floor panels can be covered with carpet, tiles, marble or even metal grilles, depending on requirements.
What should I look for when choosing raised floors?
You will need to know how high the floor has to sit before you consider anything else. Cabling and piping will need adequate room for air flow. Higher floors will need stronger horizontal framing to support the pedestals, and you’ll need to leave space for the struts on the underfloor. If you plan on running a lot of electrical cabling underneath, especially to sensitive computer equipment, you’ll need to investigate the thermal and anti-static properties of the panels you intend to use. Raised floors can also affect the heating and cooling in a room due to the space underneath and this will need to be compensated for by temperature adjustment.
How are raised floors installed?
First, consult with a designer to create a plan that will meet your technical specifications and requirements, and decide on what type of raised floor would be appropriate. Once the plan is in place, the pedestals are fixed to the subfloor and adjusted to the correct height. Horizontal cross beams called stringers are laid out connecting the pedestal heads. The tiles are then fitted into place ensuring each is a snug fit to the surrounding panels.
Suitability and maintenance
These floors are only recommended where uninterrupted space is required beneath the floor and easy access is necessary. They are prone to a little shifting, and the collapse of one support pedestal can lead to the failure of those surrounding it, reducing their practicality for high traffic areas.
Raised floors can't usually be mopped, and sweeping can brush dirt into the spaces between the tiles so vacuuming is the best method of cleaning these floors. Dust will accumulate underneath anyway, making maintenance work on the cabling underneath the floor quite messy at times.