How Does It Work?
Underfloor heating allows heat to rise, slowly distributing warmth around the rest of the room and heating a larger surface area upwards at a lower temperature - resulting in a consistent temperature. As it is hidden under the floor it also provides new possibilities for furnishing and interior design, without the problem of space-consuming radiators.
Types of Underfloor Heating
There are two types of underfloor heating (UFH) systems: wet underfloor heating and electric underfloor heating. Both have their advantages that we will explain here.
Electric Underfloor Heating
A dry, or electric underfloor heating system uses cables thread through a mat which is connected to a thermostat and the mains power supply. Your flooring is then laid on top of the mat. If you’re looking to heat a single room, then electric underfloor heating is cheaper and much simpler to install than a water system. Bathroom underfloor heating often uses an electrical system because it is also quicker to heat up than a wet UFH.
Wet Underfloor Heating
Wet underfloor heating is a hot water-based system that is typically connected to your boiler. The hot water is run through a series of pipes that are laid within a screed. Wet systems will offer the most cost-efficient heating, especially over larger areas and when heated with a modern economical gas boiler. However, wet underfloor heating is also more costly to install as it has to be fitted to your water system.
Heating Different Floor Types
Underfloor heating can be installed under most types of flooring, but tiles are considered as the best type of floor covering to use with UFH. This is because they don’t insulate, and allow the generated heat to warm the room.
Tiles have a higher thermal conductivity than other flooring types, so they warm up much quicker and retain their heat better than other types of flooring. Tiles and stone flooring can be heated to around 29°C, making it a lovely temperature to the touch.
As a rule of thumb, solid wood floors are not suitable for underfloor heating, as they are prone to warping. However, laminate and engineered wood flooring are compatible with UFH. The thicker the material is, the longer it will take to warm.
Laying carpet over underfloor heating is suitable provided that the carpet or underlay does not block the rising heat from the heating system. To ensure the carpet doesn’t act as an insulator, it should have a thermal resistance of less than 1.5 tog.