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Underfloor Heating and Engineered Wood Flooring

Underfloor Heating and Engineered Wood Flooring

Underfloor heating systems are becoming increasingly popular, and if you’re considering it then you’ll need to know exactly what flooring you should be using.  With that in mind, one of the questions we often get asked is “can I install underfloor heating under engineered wood flooring”?  This blog is designed to answer that very question.

The simple answer...

Simply put, the answer is yes, it’s perfectly possible to install underfloor heating underneath your new engineered wood floor. In fact, engineered hardwood flooring has been designed and manufactured in a particular way which gives each plank dimensional stability. This allows your floor to naturally expand and contract dependent on the temperature of the room, which is of course affected by underfloor heating. In comparison, solid wood flooring is not able to cope with the demands of an underfloor heating system, because the planks are considerably less stable when it comes to expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations.

Choices to be made...

Before you make your choice of flooring from our wide range of engineered wood products, there are a number of elements you must consider.

Firstly, which type of underfloor heating system will you be using? There are two primary types of system to choose from, which are electric systems and water-based systems. Most frequently, electric systems use a method which incorporates a foil heater. This foil heater is an electric heating mat which offers quick installation beneath wood flooring and other floating floor types. Its foil-wrapped heating wires provides substantial thermal conductivity into the wooden flooring, allowing fast heat-up times, as well as efficient and consistent heat distribution.

In regards to water based systems, there are several options, including both panel and rail variations, however they will likely differ depending on the company who you have chosen to buy your system from.

Another aspect to consider is the temperature of the underfloor heating system. The vast majority of manufacturers such as Kahrs, and retailers such as ourselves, would always advise that the surface temperature of a floor must never be more than 27°C, which also applies to areas near to radiators and elements. Providing that you haven’t over-furnished, it would be reasonable to expect a temperature of 23°C across the entire area covered by the underfloor system. You should also ensure that the insulation is of high quality (such as our Sonic Gold underlay), that windows are double-glazed, and that your room and flooring is sealed to industry standards.  It should also go without saying that every precaution should be made to ensure that the temperature at the feeding of the hot water never exceeds the maximum level, and that installation instructions provided by the supplier of the heating system are followed correctly.

Thirdly, when you’ve purchased and installed underfloor heating, it is advisable to test the entire system before laying your floor – the last thing you want is to have to take up your new flooring because of a fault or leak! This could be an extremely costly mistake!  When testing, best practice is to heat the system gradually, starting at 1°C above the current room temperature, and turn it up by around 1°C each day until you reach the magic 27°C mark. Once you have done this, turn off the entire system for 48 to 72 hours before installing your flooring.

Finally, if you’re installing an underfloor heating system and engineered wood flooring, then we would always recommend that you seek a professional to undertake the project. This will minimise the risk of costly errors.

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