If you’re renovating a property or building a new one, you may be thinking about the best way to heat it. An increasingly popular option is to have underfloor heating.
This has several advantages. First, it puts the laws of physics on your side because warm air rises. Generating heat down low makes sense and means that there’s minimal wastage. It also keeps your room free of clutter as there are no radiators taking up valuable wall space. It also feels really great underfoot.
Wet or dry?
There are two types of underfloor heating. Wet systems use warm water pumped through plastic pipes under the floor. These pipes are laid on a subfloor with the final surface laid on top. One of the advantages of this type of heating is that the water temperature needed to heat the room is much lower than that needed for conventional radiator-based systems.
Dry systems use mesh mats that are connected to electric cables. These are laid on the floor and linked to a thermostat and power supply. Electric systems cause less disruption and are therefore cheaper to install. However, electricity as a fuel is more costly per unit, so they are more expensive to run than wet systems that can heat water with cheaper gas.
When installing underfloor heating, you must give careful consideration to the type of finish that’s going to go on top. There are lots of options, and they all have their own pros and cons.
If you’re using grey laminate flooring, or any other colour for that matter, you need to ensure that it’s compatible with this type of heating. The same goes for solid wood; some types are not suitable for use with underfloor heating. A supplier like Wood Floor Warehouse should be able to advise you. You will also need to leave an expansion gap around the edges of the room to allow for movement.
Most types of carpet can be used, but check the thermal efficiency. This needs to be under 2.5 tog or the carpet will prevent too much heat from reaching the room. You can use underfloor heating with ceramic and stone tiles, but note that thicker tiles will take longer to warm up. You also need to ensure a suitable adhesive is used to avoid cracking.