Installing underfloor heating and wooden floors the right way
Making the decision to use underfloor heating and wooden floors is an easy one—they’re a comfortable, attractive, and energy-efficient combination.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, nothing beats quality underfloor heating and wooden floors. The warm, natural feeling of underfloor heating and wooden floors is the perfect welcome to the day when getting up in the morning. And it’s the ideal way to close out the evening as you’re heading to bed.
Installing underfloor heating and wooden floors is as easy as 1-2-3. Read-on to ensure you’re as informed as possible before getting underway.
Solid hardwood VS engineered wooden floors
Will this be a solid hardwood floor, or an engineered wooden floor?
Making this critical decision is essential prior to starting any project. The two varieties of timber behave in entirely different ways.
Solid hardwood is just that—solid wood cut from a single board timber. It is an attractive, practical flooring solution that works well with underfloor heating.
Engineered wooden floors (while made of real wood) are not solid wood cut boards from a single piece of natural timber. It is a core of wood or plywood, topped with a thick hardwood veneer. Constructing the floorboards this way ensures minimal susceptibility to moisture, temperature, and unwanted movement.
Whether your choosing solid hardwood, or engineered floorboards, EcoHeatCool recommends monitoring the environmental conditions during the installation. This includes the moisture levels within any newly poured concrete and relative air humidity.
Narrow and thin always win when installing underfloor heating and wooden floors
Effective, efficient underfloor heating has outstanding thermal conductivity properties.
But making the most of these properties means installing underfloor heating and wooden floors that feature narrow, thin floorboards.
Therefore, using a maximum thickness of 22 centimetres and a minimum thickness of 18 centimetres is important.
- Narrow boards are less susceptible to expansion and contraction.
- Thin boards allow underfloor heating systems to warm up a home more efficiently.
Now, it’s important to note that thickness and density are not the same thing.
The ideal wooden floor will have narrow, thin boards with a high density. The higher the density to thickness ratio, the more efficient the underfloor heating system will be.
And the more efficient the system, the more comforting, cosy, and inviting the home will feel.
Take care of the temperature
Timber responds with greater sensitivity to temperature change than any other flooring material.
As a result, any home using underfloor heating and wooden floors must not exceed a surface temperature of 27°C. (Note—this refers exclusively to the surface temperature. The floor beneath the covering layer can be warmer than this.)
Now, ensuring the use of a high-quality thermostat, in conjunction with in-floor sensors for maximum temperature control, is key. Try looking for high-end thermostats, exclusively designed for use with underfloor heating and wooden floors. These most effectively maintain a temperature that is comfortable for both the occupants and the wooden floor.
Maintain optimal moisture
Monitoring the relative humidity and moisture with care during the installation is important for the health of the wooden floors.
If the humidity gets too high, the wooden floorboards will swell and bow.
If it gets too low the floorboards will dry-out and contract, leaving noticeable gaps in the floorboards.
Partnering with a quality underfloor heating and wooden floor installation company is the easiest way to avoid any moisture-related issues. And keep the relative humidity (RH) in every room between 45% at the low-end, and 60% at the high-end.
For homes in the UK, this means an air temperature between 15-22° C, and a floor temperature of 15° C until installation is complete.
Drying sub-floor concrete slabs to a relative humidity of <65% before installation starts is also important. Professionally testing the concrete slabs to guarantee the moisture is at an acceptable level a good safety measure.
Completing the installation requires an additional two days of waiting after labour is finished so the floorboards can set. Once commissioned, increase the temperature gradually by 1° C every 24-hours until a comfortable floor temperature is reached.
Want to Learn More?
Learning more about the underfloor heating and wooden floor installation process is easy. Start by