Ever since we entered the Age of Computers, raised access floors were already being used by IT companies and data centers. If you have made the decision to install one in your office, there are a few things you need to know for the layout and selection.
A Layout is Crucial
There are many benefits of raised floor systems for data and IT centers but it all boils down to the ease of accessibility for electrical, mechanical and infrastructure underneath. To make the most out of it, you need to make sure that your cabinets and racks are aligned to the edges where your floor tiles meet. If they overlap, you’ll have a hard time removing them. You should also see to it that electrical boxes and outlets are accessible, along with your cable trays and coolant piping.
Proper Cabinet-Tile Alignment
Your cabinets should be lined up to the front of a rack to keep your airflow panels from going under a rack. The air should flow in front. Your cabinets and racks should be aligned in the front of your tile lines. The depth of your cabinets should also perfectly align with your raised access floors. Experts recommend using a depth of 24”-28” for cabinets for standard floor tiles (24”). But even depths of 36” and 42” for cabinets can be used to give more space for front-loading equipment.
Nowadays, 48” cabinets are also gaining popularity as the cable volume and equipment size have continued to increase. In these cases, you can opt for 3-tile cold aisles, which are designed for deep hardware and offers space for better air-flow.
Raised Floor Tiles Finish
The finish of your raised floor tiles is just as important as the layout. We’re not referring to the style or appearance of your tiles but instead, the performance of the tiles’ finish.
For data center tiles, experts recommend High Pressure Laminate, which is easy to clean. Its hard surface also reduces static electricity when laminated to a grounded metal surface. Take note however that this finish is very brittle so you should only used it on completely level surfaces.
Another option is carpet. It provides a seamless surface and it’s pretty low maintenance. You can have them installed without using a tacky conductive releasable adhesive as well.
Vinyl composite tile used to be very common before the 1970s but users have found out eventually that it tends to chip and crack, and did nothing to reduce static charges. So it’s no longer being used today.
Caring for Your Raised Floors
If you already have your floors installed, you need to properly maintain and care for it so they can last a long time. Have it inspected every year by a qualified technician and adjust your grid systems every 6 months to fix any structural issues. You should also rotate the panels several times a year especially in heavy traffic areas.
Other care requirements include dust mopping your raised floors daily and having it cleaned professionally at least twice a year to ensure it stays in tiptop shape.