Should I Invest in Underfloor Heating?

Rose Morrison

May 5, 2021

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When it is chilly outside, you want your home to feel nice and toasty. While you can easily crank up the heat, your floors can still have cold spots. One good way to remedy this situation is by installing underfloor heating. Here are some things to consider before making the investment. 

Types of Underfloor Heating

There are two main types of underfloor heating systems — wet and electric. Each provides unique perks based on the cost and installation process.

  1. Wet System

In this method, pipes attached to a boiler move warm water under the surface to heat the room. These systems may be slower to warm up and take longer to cool down. You can enjoy your warm floors for an extended time. 

One advantage of this system is it’s more energy-efficient and cost-effective to run. Consider wet methods when adding extensions to your home or building a new one. It is perfect for an open concept plan or to heat the whole house. 

  1. Electrical System

An electrical heating system is installed directly beneath your floors. It consists of matting connected to your electrical cables. One benefit of this process is the wiring is thin and doesn’t require extensive installation. The system is also easy to access if you ever need to do repairs. 

However, it can be more costly to run. Think about using electrical structures to heat individual rooms or smaller areas. 

The Benefits of Underfloor Heating 

This type of flooring can provide you with many benefits, regardless of what style you choose. Here are some of its advantages: 

  1. It Is Energy Efficient

Most radiators can create cold spots in the middle of your floor because they heat areas closest to them first. However, radiant heating evenly distributes the warmth by raising the temperature from the bottom up. This means they require less energy to make your home feel nice and cozy. You will also save money on your heating bill. 

  1. It Is Easy to Run 

After the installation process, underfloor heating requires little maintenance. You can control your temperature settings automatically with smart or programmable thermostats. Be sure to regularly perform service checks to ensure your system is running properly.  

  1. It Allows for More Open Space

Radiators can take up space along your walls. With heated flooring, you have the freedom to design your home the way you want to. You can hang up more artwork or picture frames along your walls to add a personal touch. If you’re going for a minimalist style, underground heating units are a good option. 

  1. It Is Safer

Radiant flooring helps to minimize exposure to overheated systems. This is especially helpful if you have younger children who like to touch everything. Underground heating also provides better air quality by keeping things fresh and dust-free. 

  1. It Is Easy to Install

Most heated floors are simple to install during a renovation project. Here the steps for putting them in:

  1. Find electrical power.
  2. Order your custom-size mat and test it out.
  3. Add a cement floor to your subfloor.
  4. Test fit the matt.
  5. Create a path for the wires.
  6. Glue and tape the mat and loose wires to the floor.
  7. Add the thermostat wires and mortar.
  8. Place down the tile.
  9. Finish the wiring. 

Things to Consider Before Installing Radiant Heating

An underground heating system can keep your feet nice and warm while providing low maintenance and energy efficiency. However, it can have some drawbacks in terms of its installation process. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase.

  1. Installation Cost

While radiant heating is easy to maintain, the installation process can cost around $8-$12 per square foot to place. It may not be the best option for those on a tight budget. 

  1. Placement Time 

Electrical underfloor heating requires a self-leveling compound on top of the surface, which can take a day or two to dry. The water-based systems can take longer to place. This is why it is best to use them in more extensive renovations that already take more time. 

  1. Increase in the Height of Your Floors

Installing the heating unit below your floors elevates them, and the insulation boards also increase overall height. You then may need to keep this in mind when decorating your space. 

The Best Floors for Heating Systems

If you decide underfloor heating is right for you, you need to make sure your current flooring is compatible with the new system. Consider looking into these options:

  • Ceramic tiles: This material conducts heat well. It can warm up rapidly and will stay that way even after you turn off the system. 
  • Natural stone: Stone also radiates heat effectively and is thicker than ceramic. It won’t contract or expand.
  • Laminate: Its thinness makes it easy for high temperatures to spread throughout the room and feels comfortable under your feet. Just be sure to keep the temperature below its maximum point. 
  • Vinyl: This material can withstand hotter conditions. Like with laminate, make sure your heating system is kept under the maximum instructed temperature.
  • Engineered hardwood floors: It is made from stable material that doesn’t react immediately to sudden changes in temperature. Hardwood is thicker and may take longer to warm up. 

Is Underfloor Heating the Best Option?

During the winter months, radiant heating can make your home feel cozy and inviting. It is also energy-efficient, cost-effective to run and easy to maintain. However, some things to consider about the installation process are the cost and time it will take to complete. 

Underfloor heating can be a great addition to your home if it falls within your budget.

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