When building a new data center, companies must consider the cost of a raised floor. Not all facilities require them, but the construction budget for those that do needs to include the materials, installation methods, and labor associated with putting them in place.

Data center-raised floor costs depend on the material used and square footage. Woodcore panels average around $17.00 per square foot, while panels made from more advanced materials, such as all-aluminum floating floors, can cost up to $30.00.

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Regarding total cost estimation for a data center's raised floor, there are several criteria to consider besides price and square footage.

Cooling System

The type of cooling system used depends on whether the computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units will be in-row, perimeter, overhead, or a combination of both.

It is easier to change floor tile configuration to maximize airflow patterns than it is to change the overhead ductwork. The cooling system chosen, therefore, has an impact on the costs that a raised floor installation entails.

Equipment Requirements

The equipment requirements affect the raised floor costs.

If overhead power is used throughout the center, all devices need to be able to connect, and some could require power cords that exit the bottom of the rack, creating a trip hazard in environments that don’t have a raised floor.

For this reason, the percentage of data center space requiring raised flooring needs to be considered when determining costs.

Space Considerations

When raised floors are installed, they could require additional space, and a sunken slab or ramp could be needed to even out the floor height with surrounding areas.

How much the final installation will cost depends on whether or not these added supports are necessary to prevent the raised floors from causing a potentially dangerous uneven walking surface.

Labor Costs

Labor costs account for a high percentage of a raised floor budget.

To produce a reasonably accurate cost estimate, the facility owner has to consider how much of the flooring will be raised, how many workers are needed to complete the job, and what the particular contractor charges.

The Bottom Line

Raised flooring is becoming more common in newly constructed data centers because of its benefits: a better distribution system for cold-conditioned air, tracks for data cabling, conduits for power cables, and a source for running cold water or other CRAC piping. All data center construction budgets should include a realistic cost estimate for raised flooring, given their importance to operational success.

Did you install raised floors in your data center? Did it account for a significant portion of your construction budget?  Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.

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