Selecting the Right Lifter for Your Raised Floor Tiles
The best way to remove raised floor panels is by using the industry-standard double suction cup panel lifter. Not only is it more efficient and easier than other options, it also eliminates using makeshift tools like a screwdriver or knife, preventing damage to the expensive and delicate tiles and understructure. Using the right lifter will also reduce the risk of injury and extend the lifespan of raised floor systems.
Types of Lifters for Computer Floor Tiles
There are four primary types of lifters used to remove a raised floor tile:
- Suction lifters are appropriate for laminate and vinyl raised floor tiles,
- Carpet lifters are used for carpet tiles or carpeted panels,
- Perforated lifters are used for grates as well as perforated data center floor tiles, and
- Standing lifters are ergonomically designed to prevent the user from bending or kneeling to lift and replace panels.
How to Properly Lift Raised Floor Tiles
As with most things, there is a right way to lift and replace floor panels -- and a wrong way. Panels should only be lifted with the proper device, such as a spiked carpet lifter or a suction lifter for laminate or vinyl data center floor tiles. Panel lifters are only designed to lift the tiles, and users should not try to walk or move with the raised floor tile with a lifter attached. Instead, lifters facilitate manual removal of the panel.
To use a lifter, place the tool diagonally across the panel, ensuring an effective suction grip. Test this grip by pulling on the handles before attempting to raise the panel. Next, raise the floor tile in a horizontal plane so it will clear any adjacent panels without getting jammed or applying excessive force. Once it's clear of the floor surface, rotate it and rest it on nearby panels. Once the panel is removed, remove the lifting tool from the surface and hold the panel by the sides to relocate it.
The Dangers of Using Improper Tools
The right tool should always be used for the job at hand, and without them raised floor panels are susceptible to damage. One panel lifter is recommended for every 500 square feet of panels to prevent employees from using makeshift tools like screwdrivers or knives to remove raised floor panels. Doing so can cause the edge trim to warp and fall off, or it may chip the laminate, as access floor panels were not designed to be pried up.
Panels should always be replaced in a vertical motion, ensuring the panel seats properly on the pedestals, and only single rows of panels should be lifted at one time. This method will maintain the lateral stability of the floor system with the panels removed.
When access is required to the space beneath the raised floor systems, only panels directly over the work area should be removed. The first panel must be lifted using one of the appropriate lifting devices explained above, using the tool to pull the panel up far enough over the surface plane that it may be removed by hand. If additional adjacent tiles need to be removed, a hand may be placed under each to gently lift them out.
Never disturb the level adjustment of support pedestals or the position of the stringers, and use a carpet shoehorn to reinstall factory-laminated carpet panels without trapping carpet pile. A carpet shoehorn can also be used to reinstall panels with trim to ensure a long lifespan. Finally, double-check that all panels are properly in place, secure and level when replacing any raised floor tiles.