underfloor heating

What kind of underfloor heating should i get?

A common question – What kind of underfloor heating should i get?

It’s WINTER… and the prospect of a warm floor greeting you as you enter the kitchen fills you with JOY!?! But where do I start? Electric or water system?  Is it expensive?

There’s a fair bit of information out there on different underfloor heating systems, so rather than take you through all of the details, let’s give you a brief lowdown.

Essentially there are two types of underfloor heating systems that can be used with floor tiles – electric underfloor heating and piped water (wet) underfloor heating.

Both are perfect for use with tiles and in particular porcelain and natural stone tiles.

Electric Underfloor Heating

Electric underfloor heating works great with these Limestones for your bathroom. These systems are perfect for use when refurbishing existing bathrooms and smaller spaces where installing new hot water heating pipes is not possible. They are relatively cheap to install and an be fitted without too much disruption, especially in single rooms.

The systems come in different wattages – 100 Watts, 150 Watts and 200 Watts. The higher the wattage the greater the heat output of the mat. When deciding about which output to go for its worth considering if the system will be your only heat source, whether you’ll have other radiators, how many and how big the windows are and what’s the insulation in the room like?

Water Underfloor Heating

Wet underfloor heating systems for your kitchen or bathroom. Wet underfloor systems are great for limestone kitchen floors as they heat the mass of stone giving you a big radiator of heat! Generally these systems are cheaper to run than electric and they are perfect for new builds and large expanses. Obviously they cause more disruption to install and require more planning than electric systems so tend to be used when new houses are being built or on large extensions. They also require more of a floor build up than the thin electric cable, which must be taken into account when planning the system to use in your space.

Tiles and Underfloor Heating

Fortunately, porcelain and limestone tiles aren’t fussy when it comes to choosing which type of system they will work with. Both tiles will work brilliantly with either! There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Porcelain tiles are relatively thin compared to other hard flooring such as natural stone. Generally, porcelain floor tiles are between 8mm and 12mm thick. Natural stones, such as slate, travertine and marble can often be between 10 and 20mm thick. This means that the heat is able to rise up through the porcelain tiles relatively quickly.

  2. Porcelain tiles retain heat well. Due to the makeup of the material the tiles are insulating so once the heat has risen through they will retain their heat very well and keep your room warmer for longer.

  3. Porcelain tiles won’t crack due to temperature changes. When installed correctly, the temperature changes that occur with underfloor heating won’t affect the physical makeup of the tile. Occasionally movements in the subfloor due to underfloor heating can transfer to the tile or stone causing stresses and potentially cracking. If porcelain tiles are installed correctly using suitable flexible adhesives and grout, this won’t happen.

Are you looking for flooring inspiration? Check out our Pinterest boards!

A Few Things To Bear In Mind

On the subject of installing porcelain tiles over underfloor heating, its important to consider these pointers:

  1. Make sure your installer allows for movement joints or a decoupling membrane over large expanses of floor tiles (generally over 25m2). Your tiler should be aware that the underfloor heating will cause some movement in the subfloor and that over large expanses an allowance will need to be made for this.

  2. Flexible adhesives and grout must be used with porcelain tiles. Full stop. Unlike ceramic tiles and natural stone non flexible adhesive cannot be used . If in doubt, feel free to ask us for advice or speak to your installer.

  3. It’s important that the heating system is off when tiles are fixed and remains off until the adhesive and grout have fully cured. Different brands of adhesive require different drying times. We generally recommend waiting a minimum of 2 weeks before turning on your underfloor heating under your newly tiled floor.

At the moment we sell electric underfloor heating systems and all the necessary accessories. If you need any help planning your system, working out what size kit you need or just want some advice on using underfloor heating with tiles.

What are your thoughts using underfloor heating in your next flooring project?

Let us know in the comments! If you have questions please also ask those in the comments and we’ll get them answered for you.

Do you have a project you are looking to get help with? GET IN TOUCH with the Rock and Wood team today. We’re waiting to hear from you.

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