Among all types of raised floor, steel raised floor and calcium sulphate raised floor are the most widely used types. We will analyze and compare these two types of flooring from different angles and provide some suggestions on choosing your target raised floor type.
Steel raised floor
The bottom plate of steel raised floor is cold-rolled steel, and the upper plate is hard SPCC steel. First of all, stretch and punch the upper & bottom steel plates, then weld them together. After that, phosphate and powder epoxy the still surface. In the end, fill the floor with foamed cement, forming a stable bearing structure after curing.
The bare finish type can be directly used as a network flooring in office building environments, with carpet on top. For other purposes, steel floor surfaces can cover different finish types, such as anti-static HPL for computer rooms and data centers, vinyl flooring finish for clean rooms, porcelain finish for banks.
Calcium sulphate raised floor
The calcium sulphate raised floor has a sandwich structure, with a calcium sulphate board in the middle and coverings on top and bottom. The primary raw materials of calcium sulphate board are natural gypsum and plant fiber. The raw materials are stirred and combined to solidify into calcium sulfate crystals. After pulse pressing, they are cured for a long time to form a high-strength board.
Reprocess the board, and it can become a complete floor and meet different purposes. Paste galvanized steel on the top and bottom of the board, then press and rive the steel plates around to form an encapsulated type floor for office buildings and other environments. The same as the steel raised floor, the surface of board can also stick all kinds of coverings, such as anti-static HPL, PVC, porcelain tiles, wood flooring, etc.
The content of gypsum powder and reinforced fiber of a calcium sulphate board can be more than 85%, and materials can degrade naturally, the recyclable rate can be from 90% to 97%. It can meet the requirement of LEED evaluation for projects.
The main component of steel raised floor is cement, and the weight of cement can reach up to 80% of a floor’s weight, cement is not recyclable. At the end of a floor’s life, recyclable performance is a significant factor. For projects with this consideration, calcium sulfate raised floor is the first choice.
Price of steel raised and calcium sulphate raised floor
Whether it is an office-type floor or an anti-static floor, with the same specification, the price of the steel raised floor is much lower than calcium sulphate raised floor. Take office-type floor as an example, the cost of bare finish steel raised floor is at least 20% cheaper than encapsulated calcium sulphate floor.
However, the above situation occurred before the covid-19. Since mid-2020, steel prices began to increase rapidly. Taking cold-rolled steel as an example, the price before August 2020 is around USD700-780/ton, and the price in August 2021 is USD1100-1150/ton, which increased as much as 40%. The highest price during this period reached USD1300/ton, which raised more than 60%.
Steel price fluctuations make the prices of steel raised floor very unstable, while the prices of the raw material of calcium sulphate board are relatively stable. This vanishes the price advantage of steel raised floor. However, current steel price is at a historical high level, when steel price starts to fall, and steel raised floor still has a price advantage.
Weight of raised floor and calcium sulphate raised floor
Calcium sulfate floor is the heaviest type floor among all kinds of raised floor, with a density of more than 1500kg/m3. A piece of 600mm steel raised floor weighs more than 13 kg, and a 20-foot container can load more than 550 square meters. A 600mm calcium sulfate floor weighs more than 18 kilograms, and a 20-foot container can load up to 450 square meters. Therefore, the transportation cost of calcium sulfate floor is higher.
Calcium sulphate floor generates micro-holes due to crystallization, the material structure, design features and high production precision of calcium sulphate floor provide excellent acoustic values. The excellent walk-on properties offer a high degree of comfort and create a perfect working ambiance. The walking sound intensity of calcium sulfate floor is:
28-51 dB(with covering)
The acoustical characteristics of steel raised floor mainly depend on the thickness of the steel plate. When the thickness of the steel plate is lower than a particular value, a high deformation will occur when a person walks on the floor, which will cause the sound of the floor. The thicker the steel plate, the smaller the probability of this happening, so we recommend the steel raised floor specification above FS800.
There are far more steel raised floor manufacturers than calcium sulfate floor manufacturers. The heavy market competition makes the price of steel floor more advantageous. Calcium sulfate floor has better product performance, it is getting more and more popular.