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Underfloor Heating – Best and Worst Floors Ranked

Updated 30/08/2023

Are you dealing with radiators or other types of home heating that are not effective and cost quite a bit? Nothing is worse than sitting in a cold, draughty house! But what other alternative do you have? Well, you may want to consider underflooring heating.

Underflooring heating can be a great way to avoid cold feet, high energy bills, and just feeling miserable when it’s cold outside. For one thing, underflooring heating is more energy-efficient, and it doesn’t make dust fly around your home, such as when you use a forced-air furnace. What’s more, under flooring heating can be installed in existing or new homes of all sizes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of underfloor heating and then review which types of flooring are better (or not) for underflooring heating systems.


Pros & Cons of Underfloor Heating

First, let’s review the pros of underfloor heating, which include:

  • Low maintenance
  • Increased comfort on your feet
  • Freedom of design & adaptability for floor heating systems
  • Increased energy efficiency, resulting in lower energy bills
  • Easy to run: requires little to no maintenance, and many systems come with a lifetime guarantee
  • Increased home value (underfloor heating is a desirable feature for potential home buyers)
  • Safe and easy to install

We want to keep this article balanced, so we’ll also take a look at some of the cons of underfloor heating:

  • Can be expensive to install; the initial cost may be considerable, and installation can cause disruptions to your home and family schedules
  • Underfloor heating can take longer to fire up than a radiator system
  • Underfloor can’t be installed under certain types of furniture or fittings
  • A water-based system requires a professional to install

With these pros and cons behind us, let’s move on to the types of flooring that are best (or not) for an underfloor heating system. Not all flooring is appropriate to use for underfloor heating!


Flooring Options Not Good for Underfloor Heating Systems

Certain types of flooring can’t be installed over underfloor heating systems, including:

Cork flooring: exposing cork floors to heat may cause the cork to dry out and shrink, leading to a damaged floor that usually needs to be replaced.

Solid wood flooring: with solid wood flooring, the planks are not stable or firm enough to deal with changes in temperature caused by underfloor heating systems. The result is boards that become warped and expand. In most cases, the flooring will need to be replaced rather than repaired.

As you can see, solid wood and cork flooring are not optimal for use with underfloor heating. The heat causes damage to these types of flooring. Rather than repairing certain parts of the floor, underfloor heating would necessitate the complete replacement of cork and solid wood flooring.


What flooring is safe to use with underfloor heating? 

Flooring Safe to Use with Underfloor Heating systems

You’ll be happy to learn that there are several types of flooring that work with underfloor heating systems!


Tile & Stone Flooring

While tile and stone flooring may be your last choice for flooring (especially in the winter months!), they can be excellent choices when combined with underfloor heating. For one thing, when tile and stone heat up they can keep your home warmer and maintain an even temperature longer than other types of flooring. In addition, these materials work to effectively spread evenly throughout a room and your home.


Carpet Combined with Underfloor Heating

Here’s flooring that usually goes with a warmer floor! However, carpeting can be even more effective when combined with an underfloor heating system.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that, unlike stone and tile, carpeting is not a good thermal conductor. That means the flooring doesn’t help circulate heat as well. However, it does act as an additional layer of insulation on the floor.

When combined with underfloor heating, carpet can be a great choice for flooring in almost any room in your home.


Laminate Floors and Underfloor Heating

If you’d like to have the look of real wood floors and still use underfloor heating, you may want to consider laminate floors. Laminate flooring comes in a wide range of colours and patterns and is an excellent choice for underfloor heating systems.

What’s more, laminate flooring is not prone to warping or bending due to temperature changes. This makes laminate an excellent choice if you’d like to go with underfloor heating. In addition, laminate is a hard-wearing flooring that can be used in most areas of the home, even in high-traffic areas.


Luxury Vinyl and Underfloor Heating

What about luxury vinyl and underfloor heating? You’ll be happy to know that luxury vinyl flooring is another excellent choice to use in combination with an underfloor heating system. Luxury vinyl is durable, sustainable, and comes in a wide range of colours, patterns, and textures.

In addition, luxury vinyl has a standard thickness, which is essential for an underfloor heating system. The reason is that flooring with a standard thickness allows heat to move easily through the flooring. That means you’ll spend less on heating because luxury vinyl flooring allows a room to heat more efficiently. It’s also comfortable underfoot.

Vinyl flooring is also waterproof, making this a great choice for use in wet rooms, such as the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and more. Plus, it’s easy to install over underfloor heating.


Engineered Wood and Underfloor Heating

Finally, engineered wood flooring is another great choice to use with an underfloor heating system. Engineered wood is better than solid wood. For one thing, it comes in a broad range of colours and finishes. And it’s constructed of multiple layers of recycled wood. So, you have a more sustainable flooring that works with underfloor heating.

But what about warping boards? The engineered wood flooring is made of layers that have been laminated together. This creates a more stable flooring than solid wood. In addition, the flooring looks and feels like solid wood, and they are easier to maintain and cheaper to install than solid wood floors.


Summing It Up

As you can see, there are several types of flooring that can safely and easily be installed over an underfloor heating system. You gain all the benefits of beautiful floors that are easy to maintain and offer the right stability when used with underfloor heating!

So, it’s possible to combine beautiful, affordable flooring with an underfloor heating system. Choose one of our recommended floorings when you’re ready to install underfloor heating!


Q: Can I install underfloor heating in an existing home?
A: Yes, you can retrofit underfloor heating systems in existing homes, but it might involve more effort and cost compared to installing in new construction.

Q: Are there any specific temperature limitations for each flooring type?
A: Most flooring materials can handle typical underfloor heating temperatures, but it’s recommended to follow manufacturer guidelines to prevent any damage.

Q: How does floor insulation impact the performance of underfloor heating?
A: Proper floor insulation enhances the efficiency of underfloor heating by preventing heat loss downward and promoting upward heat distribution.

Q: Can I install underfloor heating in bathrooms and kitchens?
A: Yes, underfloor heating is suitable for bathrooms and kitchens, providing warmth in areas where cold floors are often a concern.

Q: Is it possible to control the temperature for each room with underfloor heating?
A: Yes, many underfloor heating systems offer zoned heating, allowing you to control the temperature in different areas of your home.

Q: Are there eco-friendly options for underfloor heating?
A: Yes, radiant heating systems can be paired with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to create an eco-friendly heating solution.

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