The raised floor is a flooring system designed to solve problems related to the growing presence of technical systems in offi ces and work places in general. With this system, the walkover surface is raised off the floor, creating a technical hollow area for housing supply piping (electrical, heating/air conditioning), transmission networks (computers, telephone), and automation (building automation systems, security and fire safety systems).
The main characteristic of this raised floor system is its practicality, as the underlying systems can be accessed and repaired without affecting the building works, providing clear advantages in terms of management times and costs. As the various elements are assembled dry, i.e. without the use of adhesives, it is possible to work on each floor panel individually and even to reuse all the components in different spaces from the original ones.
Thanks to the fl exibility of this system, the technical systems can adapt to the change and evolution of work tools and computer networks. With the raised floor, the space can be reorganised easily, changing the arrangement of work stations rapidly and without inconvenience to people.
Other signifi cant advantages include the greater freedom of design, which no longer depends on the position of the technical systems, and the availability of a wide variety of durable and aesthetically high-quality materials for finishing the surface of the panels.
In addition to the essential technical features, such as resistance to wear from foot traffi c and to shock, Ariostea high-tech marble and high-tech natural stone offer numerous aesthetic solutions, combining practicality, beauty, and durability.
The raised floor is a construction system that enables the dry installation of flooring elements, creating an air gap between the walkover surface and the concrete slab of the building, thus allowing it to be dismantled. A raised floor is composed of a surface finishing element, a panel, and a support structure:
- The surface finishing element includes slabs of high-tech marble or stone and the related edging.
- The panel is made of a support, a perimeter edging, and bottom finishing.
- The support structure is made of pedestals, cross-section stringers, and gaskets.
Surface Finishing Element
In the raised floor, the finishing layer of the walkover surface must guarantee not only certain aesthetic qualities but also excellent features of inalterability and resistance. The finishing slabs are bonded to the panels using appropriate adhesives that allow chemical cohesion to take place.
To reduce the loads that are transmitted horizontally on a raised floor, the joints between the finishing slabs are made of a soft plastic material that prevents the lateral compression of the slabs. The use of soft material joints also makes it possible to achieve a better seal of grouting works among the various panels and to reduce the risk of infi ltrations through the walkover surface.
This concept is applied both for the joints between one panel and another and those between the various slabs that may compose a single panel.
The specific function of the panel is to bear the finishing slabs and to transmit the loads sustained by the walkover surface to the underlying structure.
The perimeter edging transmits any horizontal thrust from one panel to the adjacent ones without stressing the finishing slabs, while the bottom finishing has the function of protecting the panel and increasing its mechanical resistance. Load resistance, fire response, stability, and absorption level are the main characteristics to consider when choosing the type of panel to use.
Panels made with a support in high-density calcium sulphate ensure the best performance, followed by those made of composites and those in high density wood conglomerate, which can in any case adequately meet the specific needs of certain projects.
In the raised floor, the structure’s function is to bear the walkover surface and to transmit the respective loads to the underlying concrete slab; it must therefore include elements of various types that can stand the stresses to which the floor is subject .The composition of these elements depends on the level of resistance required by each specific project. The structure of a raised floor is composed of three types of components: pedestals, cross-section stringers, and gaskets.
The actual structural elements, i.e. pedestals, and cross-section stringers, are made of galvanised steel, while the gaskets are made of self-extinguishing plastic. Choosing steel as material is mainly due to its high level of workability, suffi ciently high strength/weight ratio, good resistance to corrosion, and fire response.
The pedestals are directly positioned on the floor slab by means of the "feet", while the "head" enables the coupling with the cross-section stringers. The "tube" is composed of two threaded parts that allow the pedestal to be adjusted in height to compensate for any irregularities of the concrete slab.
The height of the pedestals depends on the dimensions of the piping systems installed below the raised floor and obviously on the level of the walkover surface as per the design. The stringer section depends on the loads to be borne.
Special stringers with multi-module lengths are used for very high loads and whenever a specific horizontal stability is required. Both the pedestal heads and the stringers are equipped with gaskets having an appropriate shape to permit the coupling of the components.
The gaskets’ function is to eliminate friction and enable the correct assembly between the structure and the panels of the raised floor.