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Choosing the Best Flooring for Radiant Heating Systems

Choosing the best flooring for radiant heating systems

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Choosing the best flooring for radiant heating systems

If under floor heating is important in your home or commercial property, you have to wisely choose a new flooring material when renovating or working on new construction. The floor that goes on top of your radiant heating system to keep the property warm should be designed to handle the heat demands of that system. You’ll also need to consider factors such as the comfort level and durability of the floor heating systems.

In most cases, you’ll probably need to settle for different flooring types in different areas of the property such as a stain-resistant floor for the kitchen, carpeting for the living room and a waterproof floor for the bathroom. Whatever floor type you choose to install, it is important to understand the under floor heating options available for you.

Wooden flooring

This is a popular option mainly because it adds a unique character and warmth to the home. Wood is also comfortable underfoot, even though it may require more maintenance to prevent damage. Wood is a good insulator, which is one of the major drawbacks if you want to use under floor heating in wooden flooring. For instance, if your floor is made of extra thick solid wood, it can be very difficult for heat to transfer. Thin-engineered wood is one of the best options if you want to install under floor heating on wood. Also, you need to ensure that the wooden floor is not exposed to temperatures above 27 degrees centigrade. The system should be properly installed with controls to guarantee optimal performance. Always check to ensure if the wood flooring you’ve chosen can be used with under floor heating. A heat map can be laid between the battens and controls used to ensure the maximum output of the heating system is 160W per sq. ft.

Laminate & vinyl flooring

Most homeowners choose vinyl floors because it’s a more flexible and affordable material compared to options like wood. The good thing with vinyl is that it conducts heat very well which makes it a great option to use with under floor heating. Laminate and vinyl floors are also easier to maintain than wood, which is why you can use them in areas like the bathroom and kitchen. Since vinyl and laminate floors are great heat conductors, it’s important to ensure that the floor doesn’t get too hot when you install radiant heating systems. A temperature sensor must be installed to prevent this. Also, it is important to ensure that the heat is spread evenly throughout the laminate floor to avoid discoloration and movement. With vinyl, the heating element can be covered with screed or levelling compound in order to help ensure it spreads evenly across the floor.

Carpeted floors

Thick carpets are designed to act as good insulators. This makes under floor heating less efficient when installed in a carpeted floor. If you want to use carpeting together with under floor heating in your property, consult a technician to advise on the best type of carpets to use before installation. Thin carpets don’t insulate as much and may offer efficient warming of the room above.

Other flooring options

Polished concrete floor: If you are renovating, polished concrete is a great option. Not only does it conduct heat very well, but it is also durable and retains the heat for long hours. If you have a polished or painted concrete floor, heating cables embedded directly into the concrete would work best. It’s an affordable option that doesn’t add extra height to the floor and offers stable temperature.

Slate: This is an ideal option for busy areas in your home. Slate is a durable material that not only withstands lots of foot traffic but also conducts heat very well which makes it suitable for use with heating systems.

Granite: The main disadvantage of granite is that it is prone to cracking. However, granite is an effective flooring material to use with radiant heating systems. It comes with very beautiful and unique finishes with lots of options to choose from.

Porcelain: This is a non-porous tile that is designed to resist stains. Porcelain tiles can retain heat very well, but may require longer installation time for heating systems.

Marble: Marble floors may take longer to heat up than most flooring types but once they do, they retain the heat well. Marble is also a good conductor of heat.

Screed tiles: Though not a very popular option, screed tiles, conduct heat much faster than most tiling materials. The tile is also designed for different kinds of under floor heating options.


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Floor Heating Systems’ Pros and Cons

Floor Heating Systems’ Pros and Cons

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Floor Heating Systems’ Pros and Cons

Before you invest in anything in your home, it’s always smart to weigh up the pros and cons. Floor heating systems are generally preferred by modern homeowners because they provide an efficient and consistent source of warmth from the floor up heating the entire room. We know that there are so many misconceptions about this form of radiant heating that you may be left wondering whether it’s worth the extra cost and time. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the pros and cons of underfloor heating and help you to make an informed decision.

Why Radiant Floor Heating?

There are several reasons why radiant floor heating is a now a popular trend in modern homes.

  • Enjoy consistent warmth throughout the room

To begin with, with radiant heating, you can expect warmth to be evenly distributed throughout the room. The room is heated from the floor up so the warmth given is not only efficient but also consistent. You can choose between electric and water based heated floors. Electric systems use heated wires which are installed beneath the floor to provide warmth whereas the water-based systems use pipes which run hot water to generate heat.

  • Radiant heating is very efficient

If you compare how traditional radiators generate and distribute heat, you’ll realize that radiant heating is a more effective and efficient solution. This is because the traditional radiator will need to be heated to temperatures of up to 167 degrees in order to warm a room effectively whereas your heated floor system will run at a temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit and provide adequate warmth in a room. Therefore, you’re able to manage your utility bills and enjoy warmth in your home.

  • No more cold spots

With traditional radiators, you are assured that there will be cold spots in the room, unlike a heated floor that is designed to provide consistent heat across the room. Radiant heating ensures that there’s no cold air at certain spots which are far from the radiator. Sometimes, when running a traditional radiator, you may be forced to open the windows to get some fresh air when you’re next to it and it gets too hot. This only means that you’ll be wasting the energy and causing the traditional radiator to run more. Radiant heating is the perfect solution to evenly distribute warmth making sure there are no cold spots and the room doesn’t get stuffy.

  • Ease of installation and maintenance

When you invest in a radiant heating system, the installation process is as simple as you wouldn’t have imagined. You may even invest in a simple radiant sticky mat that you can install as a DIY project. Once the system is installed, you don’t need to spend time and money on additional maintenance. Most of the radiant heaters available today come with up to 30 years guarantee period. The radiant heating system comes with a thermostat which you can easily program to ensure the room gets adequate warmth. You can even switch it on and off during the day or at night when it’s cool.

  • Doesn’t mess your home’s design

Traditional radiators and heating systems that appear on the walls can instantly mess your design goals. If you’re keen on home design, floor heating will work perfectly for you since the modern radiators do not take up any space in your walls. Heated floors can be installed and remain conspicuous so you don’t have to worry about them messing your home’s design. You have the freedom to put any decorations or art on your walls without an unsightly radiator to snatch its beauty.

  • No need to change your floor type

Modern radiators are designed to work with virtually any type of floor covering. Whether you have a laminate, wooden, tiled, stone or carpet flooring in your home, you can always install underfloor heating without having to invest in a new flooring material.

  • Underfloor heating is safe

Traditional radiators can have hot surfaces which become a serious risk especially if you have kids and pets in your home. With modern underfloor heating, you don’t have to worry about such risks. The radiator is tucked out of the way and there’s no chance of it getting too hot and risking anyone’s wellbeing. All you need to do is to ensure that the underfloor heating is installed properly.

  • Doesn’t compromise air quality

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of traditional radiators is the fact that they run on high temperatures increasing discomfort due to reduced oxygen levels. This is not the case with underfloor heating. These modern radiant heating systems offer much better air quality and you can be guaranteed a comfortable and oxygen-rich atmosphere when the system is running.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

Radiant floor heating also has its cons. A few drawbacks you should be aware of when you install underfloor heating include:

  • High cost of installation

Installing underfloor heating may cost you much more than the traditional radiators. First, there’s the cost of purchasing the system which may range anywhere between $10 and $20 per square foot. You may also need to pay an electrician to ensure the system is properly connected to your power supply. A water-based radiant floor heating system is usually only be installed during a construction or renovation project and it can be a bit more costly.

  • Installation time

Depending on the underfloor heating system you choose, it can take a while for the installation process to be completed. You may need to apply a self-levelling compound and wait for it to dry before installing the radiator. Water-based radiant heating systems can take up to a week to be installed.

  • Increase of floor height

With underfloor heating structures, expect the room’s floor height to slightly increase. You may even need to install insulation boards beneath the radiant heating system just to ensure the heat is properly directed. This means a further increase in floor height. In this case, you may want to consider other types of radiant heating that do not result in increased floor height such as the electric underfloor heating mats which are designed with thin cables.

With that said, it’s now entirely up to you to choose the most energy efficient, easy and reliable way to warm your home. An underfloor heating arrangement will also provide you with significant cost savings than any traditional radiator you can install in your home.

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