The key to the perfect lab environment: Finishes

13 July 2021 Tate
Tate Lab Raised Floor Panel Removed

Every business sector we support has its own unique set of challenges. Offices, libraries, casinos, schools, airports and the list goes on. They all serve different markets, so they all have different needs that our raised access floors help meet. The life sciences field is no different. These facilities have unique challenges that our raised floors can help alleviate. In our last life sciences blog, we talked about the flexibility benefits for lab environments, but today we’re discussing finish options for raised floors and how they help make labs safe and effective.
There are two basic categories when it comes to raised floor finishes: factory-laminated finishes and field-applied finishes. But what’s the difference? With factory-laminated finishes, the finish is applied directly to the panel during the manufacturing process. When it arrives on-site, the floor panel simply needs to be installed and it’s ready to go. This type of finish makes accessing the underfloor plenum very easy. And since there is only one installation required, you’ll need fewer in-field trades, resulting in shorter construction timelines, which results in upfront cost savings. Alternatively, a field-applied finish is placed over the already installed bare raised floor panels. This option can still provide access to the underfloor plenum, if needed, after lifting the finish first. Field-applied finishes can offer unique advantages that factory-laminated finishes cannot, such as a water-resistant or waterproof floor covering, which is an important factor for most labs.
One of the more common concerns of a lab environment is protection from spills. Depending on the type of lab environment, the facility may need a waterproof or water-resistant floor. A common misconception is that access floors can’t be used in these spaces because of the moisture, but that simply isn’t true. Field-applied interlocking tiles can be installed over the access floor panels to make the floor water resistant. To take it a step further, a releasable seam sealer can be applied to the interlocking tiles to create a fully waterproof seal. Since the seam sealer is releasable, you can lift the tiles, access the underfloor plenum and reapply new sealer, so you don’t have to sacrifice the accessibility or the water resistance. SelecTech is one such company that offers interlocking tiles with or without the releasable seam sealer, depending on your waterproofing needs.
Data reliability is the most important issue surrounding lab environments. In some instances, even common floor vibrations can impact the data. Our engineering design support team can help design your system to accommodate vibrations and seismic activity. Our team can also make design decisions for electrosensitive environments and varying load requirements for facilities that will contain heavy equipment. All these issues will be carefully considered to make sure you get the most out of your raised access floor.
Our team understands the unique needs that come with a life sciences facility. Our raised floor finish options can be adapted to meet those needs, whether that requires waterproofing, vibration control or electro sensitivity. We’re prepared to create the perfect lab environment to ensure your data is reliably collected and your facility is futureproofed to prepare for unforeseen changes. Email us at or call us at 1-800-231-7788 to get started.

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