What are floor boxes?
Floor boxes are a type of electrical box that is installed in the floor. They are used to provide power and data connections to devices in a room or space. Floor boxes come in a variety of styles and sizes and can be installed in new construction or retrofitted into an existing floor.
Floor boxes provide a convenient and accessible way to power and connect devices in a room or space. They are instrumental in areas where there is limited wall space, such as in a kitchen, bathroom or offices. Floor boxes also make it easy to change or add electrical devices without messing with wires or cables.
Floor Box Options
There are a variety of floor boxes available, including:
Single-gang: These boxes have one electrical outlet and are typically used to power small appliances or devices.
Double-gang: These boxes have two electrical outlets and are typically used to power larger appliances or devices.
Data: These boxes have a data connector and are used to provide internet or network connections in a room or space.
Combination: These boxes have both an electrical outlet and a data connector and can be used to power and connect devices simultaneously.
Floor boxes can also have specific modules for their faceplates for a range of different connectors, especially for audiovisual links from the desk to display screens or video conferencing.
- HDMI Cables
- USB Cables
- Microphone Cables
- Data cables such as Cat6 and Cat6a to transfer video longer distances over HD-Base-T
Alot of these options and the options below will depend on budget, schedule and access restraints
Please review this article for advice on factors that impact electrical installation costs
Waterproof Floor Boxes
There is a range of heavy-duty floor boxes available that are specifically designed for specialist areas. For example, there is a range of waterproof and dustproof floor boxes that protect the inner box from outside elements. These are commonly found in areas such as shopping malls, convention centres, museums, airports and on the streets. These areas are regularly exposed to dust and grime and are regularly washed down.
How are floor boxes installed?
Installing a floor box is relatively straightforward. First, open the floor. If you are working with a false floor, you must cut the floor box into a floor tile. Keep the floor box towards the centre of the tile so you don’t weaken the tile by cutting it too close to the edge. However, offsetting the box within the tile allows for greater adjustment when moving the tiles into place to fit your desk layout.
Now, measure and mark where you want the floor box to go. In most cases, it is best to put it near an outlet. Drill a hole in the floor that is slightly larger than the floor box. Insert the floor box and secure it in place with the screws that come with the box. Close the floor and enjoy your new electrical outlet and data cabling connections exactly where you want them.
Floor boxes can also be installed in concrete floors. These are called Screed Floor Boxes. With these floor boxes, a hole is cut out of the floor to fit the box, and then a route/chase is made from the main cabling run to access the screed floor box with the electrical and data cabling within solid containment. Thisese installation require specialist tools such as a Hilti Concrete Chasing Tool
Once the cabling is in place, the chase and surrounding area are filled with concrete and made smooth for carpet or flooring. These boxes are expensive to install and costly and disruptive to relocate
How are floor boxes wired?
Floor boxes are generally wired in one of two ways
- Electrical wiring directly to the floor box as part of an electrical circuit, similar to how wall sockets are wired
- Wired from an underfloor electrical busbar with a 3-5m electrical tail terminated directly to the box
The advantage of the second method is the busbar connection end can be unplugged easily and with no electrical isolation, and the box and lead can be moved to another floor on a similar busbar elsewhere in the office.
When wiring a floor box, it is essential to ensure that the outlet’s circuit breaker is turned off. Then, connect the black wire to the brass terminal screw and the white wire to the silver terminal screw. Finally, connect the ground wire to the green ground screw. Tighten all of the screws securely and re-attach the cover plate. Turn on the circuit breaker and test the new outlet.
Are Electrical floor boxes safe? Yes, floor boxes are safe to use. They must be adequately grounded in order to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Floor boxes are also designed with a cover plate that helps to protect against accidental contact with the live wires inside. Always turn off the circuit breaker before working on wiring and follow all safety precautions.
What can I use instead of a floor box?
Several options exist to supply your working area with power and data instead of a floor box. However, these are generally only suitable for false floors
- Floor Grommets
- Modular Extension leads
- Standard Electrical Sockets
The floor grommet is a round access hole and can either be empty and provide access to the false floor or have electrical sockets in its faceplate. However, grommets generally only offer one or two sockets.
With an empty grommet, access to the subfloor is gained and electrical and data cabling options can be placed beneath the floor or brought up directly to the desk.
The options to bring through the grommets are a standard electrical socket on a double faceplate and backbox or a module extension lead with four sockets. Both options will come with a 5m lead and be wired directly back to the underground busbar as below. This method allows for great flexibility as you can bring the fly leads directly to where you want to and not have to have trailing leads to a floor box.
The final option is a standard electrical socket suited to being terminated directly on the floor. These electrical sockets come with a flip lid to cover the socket when not in use.
How do you remove a floor outlet box?
Floor boxes are generally used for the flexibility of moving desks and office space around. Therefore, when offices change the floor box, its false tile and its training lead all move together to the new location and the blank tile that is now redundant files the hole of the previous floor box.
In addition, floor boxes have a flush lid, so when not in use, they close smoothly, are easily walked over and don’t pose an obstruction.
However, if a floor box has to be removed with no replacement, then there are two scenarios
- Within a false floor
The floor box will be removed, and the false tile will now have a floor box hole in the middle of it. Therefore, a new tile will be required to fill the tile hole.
Once the tile has been replaced, a new carpet tile will also be required to cover the area
2. Within a solid floor
In this scenario, the floor cannot be moved, so the removal of a floor box will result in a hole left in the solid floor.
A replacement piece of wood will need to be cut and secured within the hole and reinforced so it’s not dislodged.
Finally, as mentioned above, a new carpet will be required to cover the area.