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What Should I Consider When Installing Raised Flooring?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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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.

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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.

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Laotionne
Post 4

@Feryll - The raised computer floor we have at work is on pedestals, and the pedestals are attached to the sub floor with a sticky resin of some kind. However, I have been told that in some cases, hardware is used to attach the pedestals to the floor below. So I guess it just depends on the individual set up technique.

Feryll
Post 3

Does the raised floor have to be connected somehow to the floor or surface that it is on top of or does it simply attach to the pedestals like mentioned in the article, and the pedestals are free standing?

Drentel
Post 2

@Animandel - Heating systems designed to be installed under raised flooring can be sophisticated, and they are as safe as the other wiring and heating systems in your home. Getting to the systems when they are in need of repair or service can be a hassle, but that was discussed in this article so you probably got the gist of that.

One of your primary concerns should be making sure that your current electrical system and circuit breaker are adequate to handle a new raised flooring heating system. You don't want to have your circuit breaker constantly tripping and causing you to lose power.

Animandel
Post 1

I would love to have a raised floor in the bathroom so we could put heating coils beneath the floor and I wouldn't have to freeze my feet during the winter. However, I worry that electrical equipment under a raised floor might be a fire hazard.

So, as much as I would like the heated floor, I wonder whether taking the time and money to create a raised flooring heating system and then installing a heating system beneath the floor is worth the effort and the money we would have to spend.

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