Raised Floor

What Does Raised Floor Mean?

A raised floor is a type of elevated structural floor that is supported by a metal grid and allows cables, mechanical facilities, electrical supplies and wiring to run beneath it. It is generally used in data centers, telecommunication environments, military command centers and modern office buildings. Sometimes there is additional structural support and lighting that allows for a crawl space or walkway underneath.


A raised floor is also a common way to cool a building by using the empty space beneath the raised floor as a plenum chamber to dispense conditioned air.

A raised floor may also be referred to as raised flooring, an access floor, access flooring and a raised access computer floor.

Techopedia Explains Raised Floor

A raised floor generally consists of evenly spaced metal framework or pedestals on a concrete base that feature adjustable height and removable panels. A raised floor is often found in environments that require cables and mechanical facilities, electrical supplies and wiring. The raised floor system usually has removable panels so that there is access to the area below.

The panels can be made from a variety of materials such as:

  • Steel with a cement internal core
  • Plexiglas that can be custom made
  • Steel clad with particle board
  • Aluminum with a cementitious core

Panels are often white in color but can be covered with variable floor finishes like carpet tiles, stone, high pressure laminate finish for added protection, and anti-static finishes for safeguarding against static electricity.

Automatic fire protection systems and additional fire suppression systems may need to be installed beneath the panels to meet safety guidelines. Likewise, it is important to have scheduled inspections for structural integrity to ensure that there are no problems like breaks between panels that could cause damage to equipment or injury to personnel.

A raised floor is especially beneficial in computer labs, data centers, server rooms, or any environment with computer equipment. Some of the benefits can include:

  • Minimizes dust that may block fan vents
  • Cable entry points can be sealed to maximize the cooling system
  • Static control can be implemented to prevent electrostatic discharge
  • It is easier to create air flow to cool the environment and its components

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.