Raised Floors and Mass Timber: A Match Made in Heaven

25 August 2020 Tate
Mass Timber Raised Floor

Construction and building materials have evolved over the years as technology and safety codes have changed. For years, concrete and steel have been the main foundation of the commercial construction industry because of its price and stability. But recently a “new” material is becoming more popular in construction and it might surprise you. Wood, or more specifically, mass timber, is taking the construction industry by storm and becoming more common in building structures today. This is surprising because wood has been a main construction material for centuries, but in many applications, it has been replaced with other materials. Mass timber is an optimal building material because it serves multiple purposes. Not only is it great structurally (which we’ll get to shortly), but it’s also beautiful and makes for a gorgeous aesthetic feature, which is why it is perfectly paired with raised flooring and Underfloor Service Distribution.

A project is considered mass timber if the primary load-bearing structure is constructed of solid or engineered wood. There are several different ways timber can be manufactured for mass timber construction. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is gaining popularity in the United States and is made from gluing together layers of lumber cut from a single log. Mass timber is claimed to be a more sustainable and cost-efficient building material that contributes to faster construction times compared to concrete. Collecting the wood generates much less carbon dioxide than you would find in steel and concrete manufacturing, and harvesting the renewable wood prior to it dying and decomposing naturally reduces CO2 emmissions as well. With so many benefits, it’s clear that mass timber is a great building solution, but its most obvious benefit is the beautiful aesthetic it brings to the building’s design. 

Exposed wood has always been a highly sought-after design element and most mass timber projects are defined by their stunning all-wood interiors. When the structure of your building is made of beautiful wood, it seems counter-productive to cover it with drywall or drop ceilings. With traditional overhead service distribution, you either need to hide the ceiling ducts, power and data cables with drop ceilings, which also hides the wood structure of the building, or you leave the overhead services exposed, eliminating the clean, natural beauty of a building with mass timber. That’s where raised floors and Underfloor Service Distribution come in.

By placing power, data and air distribution equipment under the floor, you gain the ability to keep the ceiling open and expose the gorgeous wood structure. But aesthetics are just one of the many benefits of the system. Underfloor Air Distribution is more cost-effective and provides improved employee comfort. Most importantly, UFAD systems create better indoor air quality because as the air is lifted from the floor to the ceiling, it also lifts contaminants up and away from the building’s occupants. Placing power and data cables under the floor keep them out of site and improves the flexibility of the space over time, without the need for poking through the wood interior. As office layouts change, the Underfloor Service Distribution will make those changes easier, faster and less expensive, and will reduce the interruption in the office’s day-to-day tasks. As an added bonus, raised floors can be an effective measure to reduce sound transmission, which can sometimes be an issue in buildings made with lighter materials like wood. Raised floors are the perfect accompaniment to mass timber construction.

Mass timber is becoming more popular and widely accepted in the construction industry because of its durability, efficiency and aesthetics. It makes sense to utilize Underfloor Service Distribution in mass timber projects in order to get the most out of the building material. Raised floors allow you to keep the gorgeous exposed wooden structure visible, while improving the building’s indoor air quality and energy efficiency. The two elements complement each other and allow you to make the most of each product. To learn more about this match made in heaven, give us a call at 800-231-7788 or email us at info@tateinc.com.

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