Raised flooring in a residence?
August 26, 2014 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone used/encountered raised flooring in a residential situation? I'm referring to the "access floor" style, where the space underneath the floor is substantial and is used for cable layout and the like (ie., I'm not referring to "floating" wood floors).

A friend of mine was recently bemoaning the lack of storage in their loft, when I noted that her ceilings are very high (14ft) and that she could raise the floor level by two feet to gain quite a lot of accessible storage.

...naturally, she then charged me with figuring out how to go about it. I'm thinking Tate-style metal access flooring would work well with carpet tiles (so it could look nice) and is reasonably affordable (~$3K per room, not installed), but I'm not exactly super-familiar with the product. Additionally, only certain rooms (spare bedroom, office/den) would be raised in this manner -- not going to mess with plumbing and such.

Would building a wooden subframe be a better choice? Is the entire concept madness? If anyone has designed/built/used/noticed raised floors in a residential environment I'd appreciate any tips/pointers.

Now that I think of it, if anyone has lived in an environment where certain rooms were noticeably higher/lower than every other room on that level of the house, I'd be interested in your experience living that way (eg: did you trip and fall every second day?)
posted by aramaic to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The fellow who started Apartment Therapy had this in his place, specifically his bedroom. There are some photos here. It is hard to google him without being overwhelmed by AT stuff, but you should be able to find some pictures of how it turned out in his first book.
posted by andorphin at 9:51 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

This sounds like a huge pain for little gain. You will need to add stairs to make up the 2' difference and stairs are not great right at doors (you generally want a landing, but that takes even more space). A storage loft overhead would be cheaper and less obtrusive.
posted by ssg at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2014

If you have a very tall loft, wouldn't it be better to build an "upstairs" area instead? Use either for storage or for a bedroom. I have a friend who build themselves a loft in a loft, and they sleep upstairs and downstairs is the kitchen area.
posted by ethidda at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2014

We have a layout in our weird old house where one has to go down 2 stairs, turn a corner, then up 2 stairs. I've never tripped there, but a couple of visitors with balance issues have.
posted by lakeroon at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2014

Briefly interjecting to address the "upstairs level" concept: this was her first solution, but she's leaning against it because it's a sprinklered building and the bare sprinkler heads would likely be within accidental-striking range of someone on an upper level. She's terrified of accidentally breaking a sprinkler (to the point of preferring unsprinklered buildings in future), simultaneously cutting open her forehead and bankrupting herself via water damage, although I might look at armoring the sprinkler heads in some fashion to see if that helps...
posted by aramaic at 11:23 AM on August 26, 2014

I think wood would be more versatile. I would make discrete compartments with individual trap doors set into a continuous new floor. The vertical walls of the compartments would support the floor. Any decent carpenter could figure out how to do this, and could use simple materials like plywood and 2x lumber. Outlets would need to move up.

Steps up would need to be inside the room so that the elevated floor rooms do not impact adjacent hall or rooms.
posted by mareli at 11:43 AM on August 26, 2014

If you'd like to help her with the sprinkler breaking anxiety, they do make guards for that specific purpose.
Be sure she checks with local fire authorities/landlord before installing.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2014

You will need to the move the power outlets since they are 12-16 inches from the floor.
posted by 26.2 at 2:09 PM on August 26, 2014

You'd also need to consider the height of doors and may have to raise doors as well. If it's just storage that's lacking, what about building a deep shelf or shelves well above head height all around the walls of some or all rooms? That way, you gain lots of storage without having to worry about all the complications of raising floor levels (which is likely to end up being quite major given all the other things that need to change to accommodate it).
posted by dg at 2:37 PM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think having to move furniture, rugs and people out of the way to access stored items would really reduce the utility of the space. I would also be concerned about spills and dirt failling all over the stuff.
posted by florencetnoa at 8:09 PM on August 26, 2014

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