Which floor coverings are suitable for underfloor heating?

7 August 2017
Floor coverings blog3

When it comes to selecting the right floor covering, the most important thing to consider is how well the heat generated from your new system transfers to the floor surface. This is known as thermal conductivity. Getting your floor covering right is essential to enjoying an efficient and comfortable Underfloor Heating System.

Different materials and finishes have different levels of thermal conductivity. We’ll take a look at some of the most common finishes, and examine their suitability for use with underfloor heating.

Tile Flooring

Ceramic and stone tiles are often considered to be the best material to use with underfloor heating. They’re excellent conductors of heat and can be heated to 29 degrees or more, which is one of the highest heat outputs.

Not only can they be heated up quickly, but they also have a high thermal mass, meaning they are very effective at absorbing and storing heat energy. This results in a highly efficient and comfortable underfloor heating system.

Concrete

Polished concrete is also an ideal finish for use with underfloor heating. Thanks to its thermal mass, concrete flooring delivers optimum thermal comfort at much lower temperatures, which reduces over-heat losses.

The hydronic heating circuits are also embedded directly in the concrete slab, so there’s nothing in between the heating system and the floor, resulting in very fast warm-up times. 

Wooden Flooring

As a general rule, wooden flooring that is dense and thin is suitable for use with underfloor heating. Engineered floorboards and wooden laminate flooring are therefore the most suitable wood floor coverings for use with underfloor heating.

Engineered Floorboards

Engineered timber is considered to the best wood flooring for use with underfloor heating. This is for several reasons: it’s layered structure means it doesn’t react to the heating process or changes in moisture levels, and therefore won’t move or become misshapen; and it has a strong base that acts as a good conductor of heat. As the top layer (or wear layer) is solid wood, it’s available in an array of finishes.

Laminate Flooring

A strong and stable flooring solution, laminate flooring is also a cost-effective option. Made up of layers of wood that run in opposite directions, it’s more stable than solid hardwood, and can withstand the changes in temperature from the heating system.

Carpet Flooring

Carpet can be a suitable floor covering, as long as the carpet underlay doesn’t block the heat. If you do decide to use carpet, we advise you check with your manufacturer as to the most suitable underlay and carpet thickness, as anything with high thermal resistance, such as wool, will result in an inefficient heating system. Be sure to ask your manufacturer about the carpet’s tog rating, which refers to its pile weight and density. 

As you can see, there’s a suitable floor covering to suit almost any home. Before you set about arranging installation, we recommend you speak with your flooring manufacturer to discuss the suitability of your covering of choice.  
If you’d like to find out more about hydronic heating, contact our friendly team today or visit our showroom. We’ll be happy to tell you more about our products and how they can deliver a comfortable and efficient heating system.