Traditional Access Floors vs. Low Profile Raised Floor Systems

September 13, 2019 | Access Flooring

Low profile raised floor systems are often an overlooked choice because when people think of raised floors they typically think of traditional options that are designed for underfloor air distribution. But if you are looking for cable management and flexibility, low profile raised floor systems are a better choice over traditional raised floor options. There are plenty of reasons why a low profile access floor is likely a better choice if you do not need underfloor air.

But, let’s start with the basics.

What is a traditional raised access floor?

First of all, these standard raised floors are defined as any raised floor 6” or higher above the subfloor. But they’re usually 12” or more, with some floors reaching 6’ or higher.

The traditional raised floor creates a sealed airspace and is intended for running underfloor air distribution. While they can be used for cable distribution, cable trays and / or conduit is recommended for segregation. They can also accommodate mechanical equipment under the floor. Traditional raised floors are often found these days in data centers and industrial applications.

The key components of the traditional raised access floor are as follows:

  • Floor Panel: This is the horizontal load-bearing element of the floor. Each panel is a square tile, usually the standard size of 2’ by 2’. The panels can be made of the following materials: steel pan with concrete-fill, steel pan with woodcore, hollow steel and aluminum; finishes include bare concrete or high-pressure laminate. Panels with at least 35 pounds and require specialty labor and tools.
  • Pedestal: This is a vertical, adjustable post that supports the floor panels described above. The pedestals are usually bonded to the subfloor with an epoxy resin-based adhesive and with mechanical fixings, if required. Please note that this flooring is affixed to the building structure.
  • Stringer: This a horizontal piece of hardware that connects to the pedestal head, thus adding additional lateral floor support.

If you require underfloor air distribution or need to accommodate equipment under the floor, then you should consider this type of solution. You’ll have to hire outside contractors or have highly-trained inside personnel to service it. This flooring system doesn’t provide easy access to the wires, cables, and piping under the floor. The individual panels are heavy and require the use of special tools to open up to access the plenum. Also, it’s not advisable to pull too many floor panels at once, as the entire floor can lose stability; this can be a major problem if you’re several feet off the ground.

Now, let’s compare with an alternative.

What is a low profile raised floor system?

The older generation of raised floors were designed to run air through the floor to cool off the tremendous heat that computers generated. Because of new technology, computers no longer produce the kind of heat they used to–so running air through the floor is no longer necessary. In short, you don’t need all that plenum space.

Low profile raised access floors have a height of less than 6” from the subfloor. The Gridd Low Profile Cable Management System has a super-low profile. The Gridd40 is 1.6” in height, while Gridd70 is 2.75” in height.

If you’re not running equipment like a huge 8” chilled water line under your floor and the objective is flexible cable management — not underfloor air — you don’t need a traditional raised access floor.

If you are running electrical conduit and data cables for an office space, a library, a computer room, a retail store, etc., the Gridd cable management system is the perfect solution for your cable management needs. Gridd has high cable capacity. Gridd40 (1.6”) can accommodate 40 CAT 6 cables every 19.5 inches at 40% capacity–which is more than sufficient for any office or technology building.

No panels. No pedestals. No stringers.

Each base unit is made of double 16 gauge zinc-galvanized steel base component with 34 legs stamped out in it which affords unparalleled floor support and stability. The Gridd system weighs only 5 pounds per square foot, which is about 3 times lighter than the average traditional raised floor.

And don’t let the “lightweight” throw you. Gridd exceeds International Building Code requirements for Commercial Office Buildings and several other applications including call centers, libraries, manufacturing centers, museums, emergency operations centers, classrooms etc.

Gridd components are laid out on a matrix which is held together by gravity. There’s no need for vertical pedestal supports that are affixed to the subfloor. In fact, Gridd doesn’t attach to the building at all.

Following is an explanation of why Gridd low profile raised floor systems have gained in popularity over traditional raised access flooring.

A side-by-side comparison

Standard Raised Access Flooring

  • Requires a specialist to install, organize and service the distribution of cables, vents, wires and equipment.
    Extra time and cost needed for grounding and bonding; fire suppression, cable tray and other accessories; custom panel cuts and support at wall and columns.
  • Installation is a lengthy process.
  • It’s expensive, due to the need for specialists to install and the time lost with the use of this slow, labor-intensive method.
  • Hard to access. Once installation is complete, it becomes challenging to make any further alterations. Any changes must be done by a specialist. The flooring is heavy and needs special tools to lift the floor panels.
  • Less floor-to-ceiling space in the building.
  • Not reusable. This floor is attached to the building. Should you move, you are unable to move the floor with you.

Low Profile Raised Floor Systems

  • Simple. Requires no special knowledge or expertise to install or modify at a later date.
  • Fast. Flooring can be installed at the rate of 1,000 square feet a day per installer. No need for trenching or coring, as the process follows the natural contour of the subfloor. This is 3 times faster than the time required to install a traditional access raised floor and will save you weeks of time on your project.
  • Cost-effective. Costs are lower due to the simple installment method. Project time is reduced, allowing you to get back to business as soon as possible. Saves time and money.
  • Easy access. Changes to the cable or wiring system are simple, easy, and anyone can do it. You can work on one section of the floor without disturbing other areas where employees are working.
  • More ceiling-to-floor space in the building.
  • Reusable. Gridd is a long-term investment. The flooring isn’t attached to the building, so if you move, the floor can move with you.

How can we help you?

At FreeAxez, we believe in our products and our company. We believe in our customers, too. We believe you deserve an easy, flexible, cost-effective cable management system.

It would be great to hear from you. We know we can meet your challenges; we can solve your problems. Get your free sample today.