Raised floors

The raised floor for interiors has been specially designed to provide a rational answer to the continual need for the flexibility required by technological innovation in places where there is a high concentration of process plant, like offices, data processing centers and the advanced services-producing sector. 

Thanks to this building system, a new floor surface can be constructed above the screed so as to create a "technical space" the height of which can vary from a few centimeters to over a meter. It can be easily removed and inspected underneath, and can be installed without creating limitations to the positions of any sort of plant (electricity, telephone, computer, air conditioning installations, etc). The system is extremely functional. All its components can be disassembled and assembled without the use of cements or adhesives. Moreover, the individual panels can be moved without interfering with the adjacent ones.

This speeds up the time it takes to service and modify the plant, jobs that can be done whenever required without the need for masonry work, thus reducing the time it takes to do the work and the relative costs. All these features provide designers with much more scope for creating layouts, during both the planning and actual construction phases. This is because they are no longer limited by having to position the process plant in certain places. Moreover, there is nothing to stop the plant from being integrated and/or modified to suit new standards: anything that has not been planned or forecast can be added later. This is true of both new and renovated constructions as the room layouts can be modified to suit the changing space arrangement requirements.

Since they are so attractive, strong, compact, flat, easy to service and hygienic, the Granitogres, Pietre Native and Granitoker porcelain stoneware tiles are much better as a cladding for the raised floor than other, alternative claddings. Casalgrande Padana's cladding tiles are protected by an outer edge that allows them to be perfectly fixed longside mobile elements and prevents the tile edges from being chipped when the panels are handled, i.e. the operation that represents the main characteristic of the raised floor.

1 - Porcelain stoneware tiles in the 60x60 cm, 30x60 cm, 30x30 cm formats
The tiles used for cladding the panels form the surface of the raised floor. They are the visible part of the entire system and are therefore the elements that provide the
floor with its functional characteristics and attractive appearance.
Firstly, the tiles are glued to the panel and are then ground and edged along with this latter using plastic material, in order to:
- perfectly match the panels up to each other and form homogeneous joints
- prevent the tile edges from being chipped when the panels are handled
Consult the section entitled "Colours, formats and surface textures" on page 28 for information about the tile series available for this type of application.

2 - Panel

This is the part of the system on to which the cladding tiles are glued and that forms the floor surface along with these latter.
It bears the loads and distributes them over the bearing structure underneath.
The more commonly used panels are of two types:
- panel in chipboard and high-density resins. It measures 60x60cm and is 38 mm thick ire reaction Class 1
- panel in high-density calcium sulphate, single-layer, monolithic. It measures 60x60 cm and can be 28 mm, 30 mm or 34 mm thick (depending on the structural loads
calculated in the project). ire reaction Class 0

3 - Bottom finishing: it's task is to protect the panel from rising damp. It can be a 0.05 mm sheet of aluminium, soundproofing self-extinguishing film, galvanized steel tray (in this case, it also improves the mechanical performance of the panel).

4 - Protective outer edging: protects the sides of the tiles and panel from accidental impact and allows the panels to perfectly match up to each other.
It is made of self-extinguishing plastic material that prevents the floor from creaking.

5 - Columns: support the panels and transmit the loads to the bearing surface. They allow the height of the "technical space" to be determined and compensate for any differences in level in the bearing surface. They are made of galvanized steel, with a circular base and threaded stem used for micrometric height adjustments varying from just a few centimeters to over one meter. In the absence of cross-pieces, it is advisable to glue or fix the columns to the screed.

6 - Cross-pieces: connect the columns and stiffen the structure, increasing the panel's bending resistance and the bearing capacity of the system.
They are made of open or closed section ribbed galvanized steel (in the light, medium and heavy versions, depending on the loads involved).
In the absence of cross-pieces, it is advisable to limit the height of the hollow gap ("Technical space").

7 - Protective seals: these are fitted at the top of the columns and along the entire length of the cross-pieces so as to form an unbroken layer between the structure and panel, thus making the bearing surface more stable. These seals are made of plastic material and possess sound-deadening, shock-resistant and air tightness functions.

The standard size of the panels for a raised floor is 60x60 cm. This means that one 60x60 cm tile, four 30x30 cm tiles or two 30x60 cm tiles can be fixed on to each panel.

When a raised floor is designed, it is necessary to:
- size the rooms by considering multiple measurements of 60 cm and plot a fixing grid with a 60x60 cm mesh, attempting to reduce the need to cut the panels as far as possible;
- define the entity of the loads (permanent and live) that bear down on the raised floor, also considering any modifications that may be made to the use of the floors, so as to choose the right type of panel and structure;
- identify the type and amount of traffic the raised floor will have to withstand so as to choose the tile surface most able to comply with the forecast requirements (Natural, Satin-finish, Polished, Honed, Lappata, surface textures);
- take the different levels into account when conventional floors must be linked to raised floors. It is advisable to keep the conventional floor higher so that it can be joined to the raised floor without the need for ramps or steps;
- allow for a number of special panels and plan their locations so that they can be used to house gratings, tensioning heads, traps, core hitches, etc. 

The purpose of this important phase of the work is to completely plan the structural layout of the floor and choose the tiles to use, thus allowing a cost estimate to be calculated and the final appearance of the raised floor designed. Surface textures, modular formats and a vast range of colours achieve excellent results when it comes to the safety, hygiene and attractive looks that evolved and modern professional constructions now require.

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