A durable and easy to clean type of flooring should be an attractive feature in any home which is largely why wooden floors are a great choice.
You may be wondering if you can install an underfloor heating system with a wooden floor, and you can, but with a few considerations.
These include the type of wooden flooring you decide on and how it combines with the underfloor heating system.
In this guide, we will look at the pros and cons of a wooden floor with underfloor heating and the considerations you should make.
The Pros Of A Wooden Floor With Underfloor Heating
With a wooden floor and underfloor heating, the entire floor can be kept at a uniform temperature.
The wood can also retain the heat for a considerably long time, so you may not need the heating on for an extended period as you might expect.
The room should feel warm and inviting but not hot in certain places underfoot.
This is compared to a radiator heating system which is a plus point as hot spots can be created that can result in warping and that can be a huge concern for homeowners who do not want to replace their expensive flooring.
The Cons Of A Wooden Floor With Underfloor Heating
For the most cost-effective and efficient underfloor heating system in your home, the flooring should provide decent conductivity.
This factor allows the heat to transmit from below and through the surface of the floor to warm up the room. A wooden floor can be used, yet there are better types of flooring as they prove to be better conductors of underfloor heating.
As a material, wood works as an insulator and with underfloor heating, it can slow down how the heat is transmitted thus reducing the system’s efficiency.
However, a wooden floor is still less insulating than a carpet as it outputs ~70W/m². If you were looking for a superior floor covering for insulation then consider tile.
Considerations For Wooden Floors With Underfloor Heating
Various considerations have to be made before an underfloor heating system can be installed with wooden flooring.
These include the type of wooden flooring that you decide to use and the temperature limitation that exists which should require a control system.
Prior To Installation
Before installing the underfloor heating system, make sure it is designed to evenly distribute the heat across the entire floor.
This has a lot to do with the pipework and the control settings as they should combine to prevent any sudden changes in temperature which could result in the wooden floor warping.
The type of wooden floor is also important as modern engineered wood floors, such as engineered oak flooring, are more suitable than solid hardwood flooring.
As engineered wood floors typically consist of plywood or Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF), they are increasingly stable and less prone to warping.
This type of flooring still comes with a hardwood veneer so still gives the appearance of a solid hardwood floor without the problematic characteristics.
Engineered wood flooring can also be easily refitted once the underfloor heating system has been installed.
There should also be an expansion gap during the installation of the underfloor heating system and this is vital if you use such boards as Wundatherm Premium+ boards.
This is usually around 15 mm and should be around the total perimeter of the room to allow the wooden flooring room to sufficiently expand and contract. If you want to hide this gap then you could do so with skirting boards.
Whichever type of wooden flooring you go for, it must be acclimatised prior to installation with the underfloor heating system. This can be done by laying packs of the wooden flooring flat in the room.
Engineered wood flooring tends to take between 48 and 72 hours though solid wood can take up to a week, but it is worth taking the time.
Why Engineered Wood Flooring Works
Engineered wood flooring works especially well due to the softwood layers underneath that add stability and give it licence to naturally expand and contract.
This is far more preferable to a solid hardwood floor which may crack, twist, or warp when combined with an underfloor heating system.
However, as with all types of wood flooring, the temperature cannot exceed 27°c which can be controlled.
The Temperature Limitation Of Wooden Flooring
With a wooden floor, you can expect the surface temperature to be limited to 27°c, which is the same as laminate, LVT, vinyl, and plastic-based floor finishes.
This is not the water temperature which can be up to 40°c, but with that surface temperature, you can expect to achieve an air temperature of around 20°c.
The limitation is down to the choice of floor finish, rather than the limitation of the underfloor heating system.
If you do opt for a control system ensure that it has floor probes for temperature limitation. One such control system is the Wunda Smart System which will intuitively cut out to protect the floor.
For instance, if you desire the room temperature to be 22°c and the floor hits 27°c before that air temperature being reached then the control will cut out at that point to look after your expensive flooring.
Should you insist on a wooden appearance for your flooring then wood-effect porcelain is a useful alternative. As with tile, this flooring type has a higher output without the surface temperature limitation.
This is ideal if you want a warmer air temperature than 20°c or if the heat loss in the room is higher than 70w per m².
Once the underfloor heating system is installed, when you do heat it up for the first time you should do so slowly. You should have taken the time to acclimate the wood so be patient again to ensure you avoid damaging the wood.
Yes, you can use wooden flooring with an underfloor heating system, and it does retain heat well. However, there are better conductors of heat such as tile that do not have such a temperature limitation.
If you do opt for wooden flooring, it is advisable to go for modern engineered wood flooring which is more suitable with an underfloor heating system than solid hardwood flooring.