Frequently Asked Questions About Raised Access Flooring

July 24, 2019 | Access Flooring

Are you considering installing raised access flooring in your workplace? If so, you’ll likely have many questions. Following, is a list of the most often asked questions we receive:

What is a raised access floor system?

This is a flooring system comprised of modular components placed atop a building’s original concrete slab floor — leaving accessible channels or sometimes an open space between the two floors which is used to store wiring and contain cable management for power distribution, AV components or IT.

These channel plates or panels are intended to easily removed, allowing for quick access to the underfloor cabling distribution system.

Where is a raised access floor used?

Raised access flooring can be used almost anywhere.This type of flooring has numerous applications, here are a few examples:

  • Financial and insurance offices where there’s a significant level of computer/telecom equipment.
  • National and local government offices where, again, there’s an abundance of computer/telecom equipment.
  • General administration buildings across the entire range of industries where use of computer/telecom equipment is widespread.
  • Call centers and other office environments that handle large-scale customer calls and, therefore, have a high level of computer/telecom equipment needs.
  • Data processing centers with large-scale computer rooms set up for processing electronic data (e.g. customer and/or financial information).
  • Telecom switch centers: Old mechanical telephone exchanges have now been replaced by electronic switch facilities. New mobile technology also requires contemporary electronic switch environments.
  • Distribution centers disperse a vast array of consumer goods quickly, which requires a modern office environment for order processing and other linked activities.
  • Educational establishments (schools, universities, libraries, etc.) require specific computer learning areas.
  • Retail outfits, especially major department stores, are increasingly relying on access raised flooring that are surfaced with special finishes.
  • Industries (such as electronic and pharmaceutical) require clean room facilities.
  • Light industrial and specialist industries need flexibility and the use of under floor cable management systems.

What are the benefits of a raised access flooring system?

Raised access flooring will provide the following benefits:

  • Quick and easy access to your establishment’s ever increasing volume of power, data and telecom found in today’s modern buildings. This is called cable management.
  • Existing spaces can be adaptable to incoming tenants.
  • Raised access flooring will help you reconfigure an office environment in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.
  • People want easy access to their services for maintenance, rerouting, or upgrading. Accessibility is what these floors are all about.

What are the key components of a raised access floor system?

There are two types of raised access flooring.

The first is referred to as a Traditional Raised Floor which is a design that was introduced in the 1960’s for the purpose of delivering underfloor air distribution to cool mainframe computers.

This design has remained virtually unchanged for over 50 years. The key elements of the traditional raised access flooring system are defined as follows:

  • Floor Panel: This is the horizontal load-bearing component of a raised floor. The panel is a square tile, usually the industry standard size of 2’ by 2’.
  • Pedestal: This is the vertical, adjustable post that supports the raised floor panels. The pedestals are normally bonded to the subfloor with an epoxy resin-based adhesive and with mechanical fixings also installed, if required.
  • Stringer: This is horizontal hardware that connects the pedestals together. It connects to the pedestal head and provides additional lateral floor support.

FreeAxez offers a revolutionary non-traditional option to pedestals, extra mechanical fixings, stingers, and adhesives. Our Gridd raised access flooring cable management and distribution system has light-weight, all steel base units with 34 legs stamped into the steel. Our system isn’t held together with hardware and adhesives; the floor is held together by gravity. Our flooring has unparalleled floor support and stability and can be assembled quickly–up to 1,000 square feet per installer per day. A non-combustible foam undersheet is installed to blanket the concrete slab which keeps the installation stable and virtually silent.

What does “finished floor height” mean?

Also called FHA, the finished floor height of an access floor is the height from the subfloor level to the finished floor level. In other words, it’s the number of inches/feet the new access raised floor is placed above the original floor of the building.

What range of finished floor heights (FFH) is available?

There’s a wide range of FFH offered by the industry.

There are 2 basic types of access flooring:

  • Standard access flooring: is defined as any raised floor that’s 6” or higher in FFH, but is typically about 12”, 18” or 24” off the slab. These floors sometimes reach 3 feet or higher.
  • Low-profile access flooring: is defined as any raised flooring that’s lower than 6” in FHA.

Our Gridd access floor is an extra low-profile product that’s offered at 2 FHA levels: 1.6” and 2.75”. With our product, at either of these levels, there will be no need for pedestals, stringers, and adhesives. The all steel design allows maximum cable capacity at a low FFH. In fact, our Gridd-70 2.75” system has comparable capacity to a 6” traditional post and panel floor.

What are the panels made of?

When it comes to traditional raised floor panel construction, there are several options these days:

  • Concrete core steel panels: Used for both standard and low-profile access floors; heavy weight rating; panels can weigh 35+ lbs. each.
  • Hollow steel panels: Used for both standard and low-profile access floors; lighter weight rating; load ratings may not match those of concrete core steel panels.
  • Bare concrete panels: Used for both standard and low-profile floors; heavy weight rating.
  • Polypropylene panels: Used for low-profile floors only; more lightweight, but less sturdy and employ combustible materials.
  • Wood panels: Used for both standard and low-profile access floors.
  • Steel components: Used for super low-profile access floors and cable management; applies less weight to the building, with superior strength. After the undersheet is installed, the all steel base units are placed on the sub-floor (no pedestals used).

Does the weight of the individual panel matter?

Access floor panels can be heavy or lightweight. Once the flooring is in place, the weight of each individual panel can become important. Workplace buildings are constantly in flux and their electrical distribution system is no exception.

With access flooring, this cable distribution system is literally in the plenum (open space) between the sub-floor and the panels. Access raised floor panels are picked up and moved far more often than one would imagine.

Whether it’s a contractor running more conduit, or one of your own in-house technicians, a panel needs to be as lightweight and convenient as possible, while still meeting the weight and load required for your specific application.

What kind of services are accommodated under an access raised floor?

The following installations/services can be channeled in the plenum of a raised access floor:

  • Electric power
  • Data cables
  • Telecommunications cabling
  • Air conditioning
  • Fire detection
  • Security
  • Water and drains

How much weight can a raised access floor hold?

For standard raised access flooring, load ratings range from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds.

In many applications, you can get a combination of load ratings. For example: usually, light traffic areas are built with the typical 1,000 to 1,500 pound panels, while more critical areas where heavy equipment is located are built with 2,000 to 2,500 pound panels.

For seismically active regions, further support may be required–usually, additional pedestals, stringers and floor panels.

Things to consider when planning for your access raised flooring system:

  • PSI ratings
  • Load-bearing capability
  • Crush strength
  • Rolling tests
  • And more . . .

What about fire ratings?

No matter what material you choose for your raised access floor, it should meet all applicable fire codes, such as:

  • NFPA 253
  • ASTM E-648
  • UL 94 V-2
  • BS 476 Part 7

What type of surface finishes are available?

There’s a wide range of floor finishes at your disposal:

Bare Finish
In this case, the floor panel won’t be finished with a surface covering. Usually, the surface of the panel will be epoxy powder-coated steel top sheet, which is usually covered by the installation of loose lay carpet tiles.

Floor Covering
Following is a list of factory bonded coverings that are available and appropriate for an access raised floor:

  • Vinyl tile
  • Anti-static and conductive options
  • Linoleum
  • High pressure laminate
  • Rubber tile
  • Carpet tile
  • Wood (in many forms)
  • Marble
  • Stone and ceramic tiles
  • Other finishes may be available after evaluation

We Can Help You

In order to avoid problems, it’s important a raised access flooring system be correctly specified from the get-go. You’ll need to discern your unique requirements, choose a quality product, and make sure actual installation is made correctly and in a timely manner.

FreeAxez offers a 21st century answer to your cable management questions with our Gridd Low-Profile Cable Management and Distribution System.

Contact us today to find out about our unique Gridd system. We can supply you with a quick, easy, and quality solution to your flooring/cable management needs.

See what Gridd can do for you.

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