Imagine a warm and cozy radiator beneath your feet – that’s the concept behind heated floors. The silent comfort of a radiant floor heating system provides a relaxing natural interior environment that is ideal year-round.
When the synergy between your floors and a radiant floor heating system is just right – both mechanically and aesthetically – you’ll discover one of the most ingenious inventions of the modern age.
A radiant floor heater offers the unparalleled ability to provide uniform heat across most surfaces. In bathrooms, your feet can be warm - and so can your shower walls. Radiant floor heaters have transformed the reputation of traditionally cool materials such as marble, tile and stone. Radiant heat offers the most successful heating system for dispersing warmth and comfort evenly throughout your home. With such a large area emitting heat, floor temperatures need only be modestly warm to provide comfort.
Radiant floor heaters are invisible. No heating apparatus, ducts, grills or registers interfere with interior design. Better yet, they’re silent – eliminating the rumbling and annoying whistling common with forced air heat.
Under the proper circumstances, just about any floor covering can be applied over radiant heat.
Each type of flooring varies in thickness and resistances to heat transfer or “R-value,” so your radiant heat specialist needs to know exactly what kind of floors you are installing.
Engineered & Laminated Wood:
Constructed of multiple plies of wood, these products are dimensionally more stable and usually thinner and more conducive than traditional wood floors. Often, they are edge glued and “float” on top of a radiant heating system.
With proper installation, hardwood flooring has long been successfully used with radiant heating systems. Some wood species are naturally more stable, thus preferable for radiant heat. Plank size and date of installation, which affects the humidity of the product, are also factors to consider when planning to install a radiant heating system.
Laminate flooring is also a great bet for radiant heating systems because it is thin, dense and conducts heat well. Due to the fact that laminates are comprised of a complex series of many layers, it is important that the layers are well bonded and suitable for radiant heating. The quality of the product can affect its compatibility with radiant systems - be sure to check with the manufacturer before moving forward.
Resilient floor coverings are not only flexible and durable, but they conduct heat extremely well and are easy to maintain. Among this expansive collection, not all are conducive to radiant heating systems. See chart below for specific considerations:
Carpet, Area Rugs and Padding:
Many carpet styles are well suited to radiant heat, though there is enormous variation among carpet padding in the ability to conduct heat. In most cases, the most plush is not the most thermally effective. Carpet with thin padding will help to maximize the heat transfer of the system and will work best.
Tile & Stone Flooring:
Tile and stone are wonderfully suited to radiant heat because they are thin, dense and conductive, which means they transfer heat exceptionally well. Because radiant heated tile and stone is never cold, it’s a common choice for bathrooms and other places you’re likely to stroll around in bare feet.
Types of Radiant Heating Systems:
Hydronic Systems use hot water that is pumped through tubing (usually plastic) into under parts of the installed flooring. With this kind of system, you can control not only the water temperature, but the volume of flow, duration of pulses of flow or a combination of all three.
Electric Systems use a variety of cables, mesh mats and films to heat flooring. These systems are generally controlled with dual sensing thermostats that combine input from a floor sensor with a room temperature thermostat. When the floors dip below a pre-determined temperature, heat flow is cycled on and off by the room temperature thermostat. A few of these systems can control voltage in relation to room temperature and certain systems can be made so the elements are self-regulating, thus limiting heat output to a certain level.
Points to Consider Before Installing a Radiant Heating System in Your Home:
Floor sensors can be installed with your radiant heating system to keep floors at a fixed temperature while other heat sources actually heat the home.