Underfloor heating is becoming an increasingly popular choice and with a little care there is no reason why you can't combine it with beautiful wood flooring. We have been successfully supplying wood flooring for use over underfloor heating for 20 years, so read on for simple answers from our expert team to the most common questions we are asked.
WHICH WOOD FLOORING WORKS BEST OVER UNDERFLOOR HEATING?
The simple answer is wood flooring that has been designed to work with underfloor heating.
There is a great myth is that solid wood flooring won’t work over underfloor heating because it will move too much and engineered wood flooring will because it is more stable. This is simply not true. In fact, there are plenty of solid wood floors which can be successfully combined with underfloor heating – most of ours for starters – and plenty of engineered wood floors that can’t (when you read the detail).
The reason for this is that it isn’t only the style of board that affects the stability of wood flooring over underfloor heating. The size of the flooring, the way it is made, and how the timber is dried also make a difference. An engineered construction does add stability to wider boards, but if the adhesive gluing the floor together hasn’t been designed to work with underfloor heating then it can’t be used successfully in this situation. In the same way whilst a wide solid oak floor would move too much to work over underfloor heating, narrower boards or parquet blocks that have been dried to the right humidity level can be used successfully.
So, if you are planning on fitting your wood flooring over underfloor heating don’t get stuck on whether it is solid or engineered, just make sure it is recommended for this use - and if it doesn't say, assume that it isn't. All of our wood flooring has options that can be used over underfloor heating and those that can are flagged clearly on the table on each product page.
WILL WOOD FLOORING MAKE MY UNDERFLOOR HEATING LESS EFFECTIVE?
Wood is a natural insulator so it will take a bit longer for the heat to move through it than tile or stone of the same thickness. On the flip side it holds the heat better which is more energy efficient and wood flooring doesn’t need heating to feel fabulous under bare feet. As long as your underfloor heating system is designed to work with wood flooring it will take account of this so that its performance isn’t affected. This should be part of the process for bespoke systems but if you are considering an 'off the shelf' system you will need to choose one that is suitable.
WILL THE KIND OF UNDERFLOOR HEATING I CHOOSE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
There are basically two types of underfloor heating systems: wet systems which pump warm water through underfloor pipes and dry systems that use electric elements as the source of heat.
Wet systems are the generally more efficient and easier to control but they are more disruptive to install. Electric systems are typically quite easy to install but more expensive to run so are most commonly used as a secondary source of heat.
Our compatible wood flooring will work with either kind of system as long as they are set so that the temperature under the floor doesn’t exceed the industry maximum of 27°C and they can accommodate a suitable fitting method.
It’s worth bearing in mind that most underfloor heating manufacturers recommend glue fitting wood flooring over underfloor heating if possible as this gives the best heat transference. It also doesn’t pose the risk to pipes that nail fitting can and doesn’t require underlay like a floated installation.
DO I NEED TO RUN MY UNDERFLOOR HEATING BEFORE MY WOOD FLOORING IS DELIVERED
You should always make sure that your underfloor heating is fully tested and running normally before your wood flooring is delivered. It should run for at least 3 weeks after any concrete, plastering or other significant wetworks are fully dry (see our Site Preparation Guide for details) at a temperature high enough to activate the thermostat.
After this you should acclimatise your wood flooring with the heating running at normal room temperature (15-24°C).
CAN I PUT RUGS ON MY WOOD FLOORING OVER UNDERFLOOR HEATING?
Using thick rugs and runners on top of your wood flooring, or ones with rubber backing, can trap the heat in and raise the temperature above the industry maximum of 27°C. This can cause excessive shrinkage of the timber and issues with adhesive. If you do want to use rugs these should be thin enough to let the heat through easily – a simple way to check this is to lift the rug at intervals and make sure that the area of flooring beneath it isn’t warmer to the touch than the uncovered areas of flooring of close by.
For more information and advice on fitting our wood flooring over underfloor heating see the under floor heating section of our Installation Guide. If you have any specific queries or would like to talk to one of our expert team about fitting wood flooring over underfloor heating, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our showrooms.