“In the past, access panels have been boring and not much to look at,” says Jake Dean, general manager of All Access Manufacturing, a Las Vegas-based company that manufactures a decorative line of panels called Artego. “We’ve created new options for these panels that have really opened up the possibilities of how floors can tie in with an overall design.”
When you enter the showroom of Faciliteq, a company headquartered in Las Vegas that specializes in high-performance architectural interiors and sells Artego panels, you’ll be wowed by the artful possibilities of raised flooring.
In lieu of laminate or carpet tiles, these access panels are finished in a variety of materials including terrazzo, metallic pigmented polyaspartic, epoxy, concrete or a microtopping. Typically sized at 24-by-24 inches and about 3/8-inch thick, the panels can be made larger, such as the oblong panels seen at Faciliteq’s headquarters.
Everything is custom ordered, Dean says, and orders usually take between seven and 10 weeks to turn around. Panels can be produced in a wide array of colors and patterns, including logos or corporate identification symbols that may span several panels.
Access panels are great choices in commercial settings as wiring, ductwork and mechanical components are hidden beneath the flooring. Photo courtesy of All Access Manufacturing
Floors made from access panels — often referred to as “computer floors” — are great for high-rise office buildings, entry lobbies, medical facilities, banks, condo towers and casinos. They sit on pedestals that elevate the panels from 1 inch to 10 feet or more depending on how much room is needed below for electrical and mechanical components, wiring and ductwork.
“Raised floor panels are really popular with data servers because it’s so much easier to run wires beneath the floor than overhead,” Dean says, not to mention it’s easier to access the equipment to make repairs or changes when necessary. It’s also conducive to accommodate new tenants in commercial settings as it gives the space more flexibility.
The terrazzo panels, Artego TZ, can contribute to LEED points depending on the percentage of recycled aggregates.Artego MP features a UV-stable, scratch-resistant metallic pigmented epoxy that’s a good choice for high-traffic areas. And Artego SF panels feature a mix of epoxy and sand/river pebbles.
“Their main purpose is to give tenants more customizable space without having to tear things out,” says Dean. If you want to change the color scheme, “You can just lift the floor and swap panels.”