How to Replace Raised Floor Tiles
Raised floor systems have been in use for decades, which means many data centers, computer rooms and facilities throughout the United States have aging systems with warped or missing raised floor tiles. Fortunately, this is one problem that is easy to fix as these tiles may be replaced regardless of your level of experience. Because raised floor systems are susceptible to damage if improperly used or maintained, you'll want to make sure you have the right tools and materials on hand to replace the panels.
What You Need
You'll need cleaning solution, a raised floor tile lifter and replacement panels. There are four main styles of lifters used to lift computer floor tiles, including suction lifters for laminate or vinyl raised floor tiles, carpet lifters for carpeted panels, perforated lifters for grates and perforated floor tiles and standing lifters, which help you lift and replace panels without kneeling down. Replacement panels may be purchased from many sources, but you should check that the company has the ability to match your existing tiles or even refurbish them to get an exact match for your raised floor system.
Step 1: Lifting the Tiles
After you determine which tiles need to be removed, do so carefully. The precious method depends on your raised floor, but most panels just lift out. Panels should always be lifted with the right tool, never pried out with a screwdriver or makeshift tool. To use a lifter, place it diagonally across the panel, check that there is adequate suction then slowly raise the panel to clear adjacent tiles. Once it's clear, rotate it and rest it nearby. Panels should always be replaced in a vertical motion to make sure the panel sits properly, and only one row of panels should be lifted at once to maintain lateral stability.
Step 2: Buying Replacement Panels
It's very important to order the right replacement panels to fit obsolete raised floor systems. A proper fit will eliminate lateral shifting and ensure the panel seats properly on the pedestal or understructure. There are a fw companies that can help you order replacement data center floor tiles, even very old systems from the 1960's or 70's. You will need to send in a sample tile or photos of your tile so it may be matched. To get exact matches for obsolete panels produced by manufacturers like Liskey or Westinghouse, you will need to buy them used. Once purchased, they will be updated to match your existing panels with new covering and trim.
Step 3: Replacing Data Center Floor Tiles
Replacing the tiles will involve the same process you used during the removal step. Carefully install each panel, ensuring it fits properly before moving on to the next.
Step 4: Cleaning
Finally, it may be a good idea to clean the entire floor once your new raised floor tiles are installed. Be very careful about the type of cleaning materials you use, however, as wax should never be used. Stainless steel tiles should not be cleaned with anything abrasive and the wrong cleaner can reduce the static dissipating quality of the floor itself, potentially damaging sensitive equipment in the underfloor. When you purchase the replacement panels, inquire about the proper cleaning technique and products to use for the tiles you purchase.