There is nothing better than waking up on a cold winter’s morning to the comfort of warm flooring beneath your feet. Natural stone flooring can be cold at the best of times, but underfloor heating can make for complete bliss, ensuring your home is warm in winter, and cool in summer.
You may be keen to get that beautiful limestone flooring installed in your home. But before you do, you may want to consider what types of underfloor heating are out there first.
If you are thinking about installing underfloor heating in your home, we have put together a list of helpful tips to help you choose the right solution for your home.
Whether you are a DIY expert and are going to attempt it yourself, or have decided to save the agro and get someone in to do it for you, it is a good idea to think about which is the ideal option for your style and budget.
Made up of pipes that are usually connected to a boiler or heat pump, they use warm water from the central heating system pumped through plastic pipes.
Heat bent plastic pipes mean there is no need for joints, eliminating any chance of leaks due to the continuous system.
Generally very low maintenance once installed which makes them a popular choice, however they do have high initial renovation costs, especially if a floor-level alteration is required.
Water underflooring heating systems work with any boiler type; (vented, wood, condensing) and can even work with any heat source, for example heat pumps and solar panels which can help improve the energy efficiency of your property.
Installation is normally a lengthy process for water underfloor heating systems, taking around a week to fit. Often these are installed as part of a bigger building renovation to save time, so it could be worth considering doing this when undertaking other property renovations.
Cheaper to install than wet systems, this is generally because they do not require as much renovation and will not significantly increase the height of the floor.
There are four types of electric underfloor heating: trace heating cables, underfloor heating panels, low voltage and self regulating underfloor heating.
Available in all sorts of options, from loose fit wiring suitable for small, awkward spaces, cables or ready-made matts you can roll out for larger areas. Additional costs include insulation sheeting to prevent heat loss through the floor. Day to day running costs are also generally higher than wet underfloor heating.
A self levelling compound is usually required on top of electric underfloor heating systems. This usually takes a day or two to set before floor covering can be put in place.
As mentioned briefly above, some underfloor heating systems may increase the floor height of a room, with wet systems typically raising the floor height by a few centimeters. Furthermore, you may want to place insulation underneath your underfloor heating to maximise the energy efficiency of your home which can also add extra height.
Underfloor heating is generally a more energy efficient way of heating the home than a conventional radiator, as heat continually rises up through the room, and is less prone to cold spots that can happen with radiators.
An average radiator typically works at more than 60 degrees celsius, heating a room fairly quickly once it reaches full temperature. Underfloor heating takes much longer to work due to its low operating temperature of 23 – 30 degrees celsius. This does mean the running costs are lower than traditional central heating, however It can take a few hours to fully heat a room up with underfloor heating. Therefore it is best to set underfloor heating at a lower constant temperature to get the most out of it.
There is also the added benefit of increasing the amount of available space in your home, without the need for a radiator means you will have that bit more room space for furniture. Stylistically, a room can look much sleeker and less cluttered without a radiator too.
It is always best to seek the advice of an expert to help you understand what the best solution is for your home and the difficulties associated with installing it. It is possible to carry out electric underfloor heating installation yourself if you’re confident with DIY techniques. However, if you choose a wet underfloor heating system you will need a qualified professional to complete the process.
On top of the material costs of buying the underfloor heating, there are also a few additional costs it is beneficial to get your head around before committing to the project:
Screed – this will need to be laid on top of underfloor heating before flooring is put in place
Heating Controls – may require the additional cost of wiring and replastering if these are to be installed on the wall
Insulation Board/Sheets – specially designed insulation pads the underfloor heating units sit on to prevent heat loss through the floor
Professional Tradesmen Costs – you may need to have your underfloor heating connected up to your boiler or home heating system
Removing Existing Flooring – removing old flooring can sometimes be costly, particularly if you require re leveling or resurfacing.
The cost can vary greatly depending on the type of underfloor heating system you choose and how much floorspace of your home or business you wish to have it installed in.
It tends to be more energy efficient than other forms of gas and electricity, but lower running costs are usually offset by the large installation costs.
Electric Underfloor Heating
£11-£12 per m² and install price can range between £5-£6 per m² with the cost of removing existing flooring on top of this.
Hot Water Underfloor Heating
This is estimated to cost upward of £2,000. This is mainly due to the lengthy installation and specialist nature of the process, it can cost more if you run into additional setbacks such as needing to alter the level of the existing floor.
For the more skilled home DIY expert, there is the option of purchasing a full kit. These usually cost around £500 for the pump, valves, thermostats and enough pipework for 20 m².
Depending on the type of floor you have in your property, you may want to understand how this will react with underfloor heating and whether this is the right material for the job.
Stone, Concrete, Slate & Marble
These are some of the more popular choices of materials used for underfloor heating. Stone and hard minerals are good because of their heat conductivity, and they are not prone to changing size due to temperature changes.
Certain types of wood flooring are suitable, but as a general rule for wood flooring, floor surface temperature must not exceed 27 degrees celsius.
As wood is a natural material, it is affected by temperature and humidity of the environment around the material, therefore it is always worth checking with the manufacturer to understand whether it is suitable for use with underfloor heating.
A synthetic surface made to look similar to wood, laminate offers a stain and scratch resistant floor finish. A cost effective and low maintenance solution, most laminates are suitable for use with underfloor heating, but it is always worth checking with the manufacturer before spending the money installing it.
Carpet is suitable for use with underfloor heating, provided that the material of the carpet or underlay does not act as an insulator. Thick carpet will cause most of the heat from underfloor heating to be blocked, therefore the total tog of all materials must not exceed 2.5 tog for underfloor heating to be a viable option with carpet.
Vinyl is safe for use with underfloor heating as it heats up and cools down quickly. They are usually subject to a maximum recommended heat output of 27 degrees celsius, so it is recommended to use them in a well insulated room for the best results.
A good underfloor heating expert can help you work out what the right option is for your property and will help you to understand what other costs are involved. Once you know which area of your home you would like to install underfloor heating, you can start to think about the best type of flooring and whether an electric or hot water system will work best.
With a range of handcrafted flooring and masonry products made from the finest minerals, including stone, limestone and many more, our team of skilled stonemasons can create a bespoke option just for your property. Our experts will be more than happy to advise you on what materials will work best with an underfloor heating system, and can help to arrange a solution that will suit your home. Get in touch with our friendly team today for any help and advice you may need.