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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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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

DESIGN: From the Ground Up

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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

by Linda Mazur

Start your design story with your floors

As small space dwellers, the reality is that sometimes our renovation options may differ a little because we live in a condo. Although condo living can come with its own set of design challenges, there should be no reason that these restrictions should hold us back from creating a magazine-worthy look in our home. Sometimes, the biggest design inspiration for your home can lie right under your nose… or rather, your feet! Instead of searching for inspiration in fabrics and colours, why not look down and get inspired by your flooring? With the multitude of possibilities in today’s flooring, designing your space from the ground up can be simpler than you may believe.

Whether you are renovating a charming vintage walk-up or a modern new build, it’s no secret that condo restrictions can sometimes be the biggest challenge when choosing flooring that is both beautiful and practical. Recently though, we have seen a surge in beautiful floorings like luxury vinyl, vinyl composite core, and laminate flooring that will not only meet the requirements of your condo but will spark your design creativity and serve as a great kick off to the remainder of your project.

Laminate flooring is a hard surface flooring that has been around for quite a while. It is manufactured using material like medium or high-density fiberboard, which forms the core. Luxury vinyl is a soft surface flooring product that is flexible, and comes in a variety of installation options, providing a great look as well as comfort. Luxury vinyl has a multitude of options that have the look of wood, stone, or other natural materials. Vinyl composite core is a newcomer to the manufactured flooring world. This flooring combines the best features of laminate and luxury vinyl. The boards are rigid planks that click together like laminate but are constructed from a water-resistant vinyl composite material that gives them the flexibility of vinyl flooring that can be installed anywhere.

Flooring can be inspirational, it has the ability to set the tone for your entire design. Envision a beautifully distressed floor in a weathered shade of brown with accents of ashen greys, reminiscent of aged vintage flooring found in an old Parisian apartment. Add in some wonderful custom millwork, an elegant plaster ceiling with moulding detail, and a charming old chandelier. Play off this vintage look by adding a simple tailored sofa, Scandi-inspired chairs, and perhaps a rustic coffee table and finish it with colourful accessories. Top this all off with beautiful soft billowy linen sheer drapes, and you’ve creating for yourself an elevated yet relaxed living space, all inspired by your flooring!

However, flooring can tell more than just one story. This same flooring could also inspire a typical urban kitchen to have a more relaxed, country-chic feel. Blend in some warm mixed metals, a fusion of soft grey and wood toned cabinetry, a vintage looking quartz countertop, and you are well on your way to creating for yourself a fantastic kitchen space to be enjoyed with family and friends.

This year’s design trends are all about bold colours, beautiful textures and patterns, so it can feel natural to look to paint, fabric, or cabinetry when searching for direction on your next renovation. Keep in mind that inspiration can be found in many different forms. When embarking on your next project, try looking down to see what’s underfoot… you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.




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