The material’s thermal conductivity, or how quickly and efficiently heat generated transfers to the floor surface, is the fundamental difference between different flooring materials and their suitability for use with the system.
Flooring with strong conductivity is the greatest choice for underfloor heating since it heats up faster, produces more heat, and is more cost-effective to operate. However, this does not rule out the possibility of using less conductive materials with underfloor heating.
Tile and stone are the best types to use with underfloor heating. Almost every floor finish, however, can be fitted with a radiant heating system. The following are examples of suitable flooring:
- Tile & Stone
- Laminate flooring
- Carpet & Rug
- Engineered wood flooring
- Vinyl flooring
Also read: How to Clean Vinyl Plank Floor?
The types of flooring you can use for underfloor heating systems
Tile & Stone
Tile and stone are the best types of flooring to use with underfloor heating. Thermal conductivity is strong in tile and stone. Tile and stone are good for use with underfloor heating in high heat loss locations such as conservatories because of their outstanding thermal characteristics. They can be heated up to 29°C.
The thickness of the tile and stone has little impact on the heat output, but it does increase the heat up time a little, so sticking to a maximum thickness of 20mm is advised for a highly responsive system.
The coating on this type of flooring is stain and scratch resistant. It is simple to install and is a cost-effective option. Although most laminates are appropriate for use with underfloor heating, it is a good idea to double-check with the flooring manufacturer before going ahead and installing the system.
Carpets & Rugs
Carpet can be used with underfloor heating as long as the carpet or underlay material does not function as an insulator and blocks the heat. For the system to generate appropriate heat output, the total tog of all materials, including any under and overlays, must not exceed 2.5 tog.
Because different types of wood flooring have different thermal qualities, their viability for use with an underfloor heating system varies. The better the floors carry heat, the denser and thinner they are, and the more ideal they are for use.
Engineered wood flooring is the ideal type of wood flooring to use with an underfloor heating system because it adapts to temperature changes efficiently. Other types of wood flooring can be utilized, but with softer and less dense wood, the thickness of the floorboards must be considered so that the floorboards do not act as an insulator and block the heat. The floor surface temperature for wood flooring should not exceed 27°C.
Because the moisture content of wood changes when the floor is heated, you should choose wood flooring that can respond to fluctuations in floor temperatures without affecting the appearance of the floor.
Underfloor heating can be used securely with this sort of flooring. It immediately heats up and cools down. Vinyl flooring has a top floor temperature constraint of around 27°C, which limits the heat output and makes them unsuitable for high heat loss areas like older conservatories.
Because certain floor finishes have a peak temperature restriction, restricting the maximum heat output, the flooring you choose has an impact on the system’s maximum heat output. The overall heated floor area, as well as the air and floor temperatures, determine a system’s heat output.
Changing any of these three elements has an impact on heat output. Because the room size and comfort air temperature are already fairly determined, changing the floor finish is usually the easiest. These factors are word considering when choosing the type of flooring you use when installing underfloor heating.