What kind of hardwood flooring to use for the underfloor heating system?
Some of the most common questions related to the installation of underfloor heating systems are those related to the floor type that is best suited to these systems. Considering that most of the apartments are fitted with laminate flooring in the living rooms and with flooring tiles in the functional rooms (kitchen, bathroom), a few details have to be made regarding the radiant surfaces. Below we will analyze the characteristics of the main types of flooring and what is the appropriate thickness of the flooring in order to install an underfloor heating system.
The ceramic flooring
If you are wondering what our recommendation is about the type of flooring, we have to make it clear that the ceramic floors are the most suitable for such systems because the heat transfer is the fastest and most economical.
The laminate flooring
As a general idea, the most commonly used flooring is the laminate, which has no restrictions regarding to the underfloor heating system. To be sure, however, the specialists recommend the double-layered parquet because it exhibits little expansion coefficients, but also a higher thermal resistance. Choosing the right flooring for a floor heating system is best done with the support of specialists.
Whether you find from the double-layered flooring manufacturer about the benefits of installing it over the underfloor heating system, or talk to the installer about the options you have about a floor type or another. As an extra rule, when choosing laminate flooring, do not choose one thinner than 2 mm. Even though it may seem like the floor will radiate more heat, such thin parquet will deteriorate over time.
The natural wood floor
If you want a house fitted with natural wood floor or wooden flooring, this type of flooring is suitable for the installation of the underfloor heating system, with the amendment that the floor thickness should not exceed 2 centimeters. Being a very good thermal insulator, the thicker the layer of natural wood floor is, the less efficient will become the underfloor heating system.
The moquette or carpets
In terms of floor covering with the moquette or carpets, if you have a underfloor heating system installed, they become less necessary. However, if you aesthetically want to decorate the surface with a moquette or carpet, we recommend the synthetic ones (PP or PA). The carpets made of natural materials, such as wool, are not recommended if you have a house with underfloor heating system.
The flooring tile
There are a number of different types of flooring tiles that are optimal for installing the underfloor heating systems, and a discussion with a specialist can best explain the type you choose for your house. However, it is quite unusual to find flooring tiled apartments on the living room or bedroom, for example, so we will continue to talk about hardwood flooring as a radiant surface that is accessible and useful in any under floor heating installation project.
What kind of underfloor heating can you choose?
There are two main types of underfloor heating systems:
-Water-based underfloor heating system
-Underfloor heating system based on electric heating.
The water-based underfloor system works on the principle of a radiator. Pipes through which hot water passes are installed under the floor which they are heating up. The water does not have to reach very high temperatures, which makes this system energy efficient. Normally, a classic boiler is enough to provide the heating for several rooms.
For such a solution, however, it is necessary to consider a space in which the boiler or tank is placed in which the water is heated and pushed through the pipes. This system is recommended and very efficient if it can be coupled to a solar-powered heating system.
Thus, the water heated by the sun’s rays is transferred directly into the pipes under the floor. Also, the risk of freezing is to be taken into account, not being recommended for houses in which certain rooms are not used for a long time or where there is a risk of freezing, such as a cottage or a holiday house in the mountains.
Obviously, the system should allow water to be removed, but the entire under floor heating process becomes more complicated.
The system based on the electric heating requires the installation of special cables that warm the floor. It is recommended to divide this installation into rooms or areas of the room for more efficient control and the possibility of having different temperatures in different rooms.
To make such a heating system efficient both for water and electric heating, some special aluminum plates can be installed between the pipes or the heating cables and the floor, which evenly spread the heat over the entire floor.