can you put underfloor heating under wooden floors

Can You Put Underfloor Heating Under Wooden Floors

Underfloor heating systems work great in respect to all types of wooden or timber flooring, all you need to do is to verify their different factors before installing. Interestingly, the heat consumption and the thickness of the underfloor play a vital role here. For example, the Engineered wooden floor comes with a flexible thickness (18mm), and thus, it ensures the highest safety. A heated floor is a great option if you are suffering from allergies.

Apart from the engineered one, it is the timberman’s job to specify the right wood that will be robust and sustainable while putting or installing. The insulation and the atmospheric variables are the key determinants here. However, it is a herculean task to specify such a wooden texture so the engineered wood sounds popular and quite an easy choice to pick up.

Can You Put Underfloor Heating Under Wooden Floors

The short answer is- Yes. You can put an underfloor heating system under any wooden surface. However, how efficiently you install underfloor heating will depend on the wooden flooring and the temperatures the floor heating system can reach. Too much heat can bend or crack some floors. 

You will get the best result on installing an underfloor heating system perfectly if you have flexible engineered wooden surfaces with a thickness between 15-18mm.  

We recommend you check out the technical specifications of the floor manufacturer. Also, don’t forget to check out the dimensioning temperatures for the floor heating. If the floor isn’t designed for this task, you may get creaking from heating and expansion. Turns out, it could discolor the flooring with a pattern referencing the heating pattern. 

The Difference Between Solid Wood Floors And Engineered Wood Floors

As wood is an insulator, it slows down the heat produced by the underfloor heating system. Although it decreases the system’s efficiency, it also means that wood holds onto heat even after the heating system has been turned off. 

Wooden floors are ideal for underfloor heating systems as they keep the floor temperature uniform. Unfortunately, wooden floors are prone to warping. A heating system should be installed carefully on wooden floors to avoid such consequences.

There are two types of wooden floors; Engineered wood floors and solid wooden floors. They have a few major differences that differentiate them from each other.

Solid Wood Floors

Solid wood floors are made up of boards cut into inches. The reason for this is that the thickness of the boards can withstand ten rounds of sanding and refinishing. It increases the lifespan of solid hardwood floors by 100 years.

While the thickness increases the floor’s lifespan, it also comes with a set of drawbacks. The base would require a long time to heat up because the boards are thick. 

Thick boards also hold the heat for a longer time. The floor would release warm air throughout your house at uncertain times, and you will have no control over it. 

Engineered Wood Floors 

Unlike solid wood floors, engineered wood floors are made up of sheets of thin wood glued together. It also has a finishing layer known as lamella. 

Engineered wood floors are considered to be more suitable for underfloor heating. These floors are more stable than solid wood floors and less prone to warping. You can easily take up and refit an engineered wood floor once the underfloor heating system has been installed.

Things To Consider For Underfloor Heating Installation

Choosing the right installation method is also important. Since wood is made of natural integrities, it has the susceptibility to become affected by natural surroundings. On the other hand, it has a great positive side as it can absorb heat so fast! However, you must think about some ideal factors to pick up the right wooden planks. 

Ideal Thickness

As we mentioned above, before installing the thickness of timber should be somewhere around 18mm (not more than that). Secondly, the wider wooden boards are great compared to the narrow ones, here we will recommend you to keep the ratio between the thickness to width in between 7:11. That means the 16mm thickness of the board should come with 160mm width. 

Temperature Compatibility 

More or less, all of us love to live in a place called “room temperature”. The flooring is no more an exception and so the recommended floor temperature should be 25°C-27°C. By the way, this temperature won’t be exact and may be different in respect of different weathers. 

Contraction & Expansion 

The best part of the wooden element is its amazing absorption ability thus it can absorb moisture over time. But there would be many differences with many different kinds of wooden particles. Moreover, with the different environments, the wooden boards both shrink and expand due to the variable indoor humidity. So while installing it, you just need to measure such factors, indeed.

Installation Process of Underfloor Heating Under Wooden Floors

installing heating under wooden floors

Installing a new underfloor heating system can be challenging if it’s your first time. You need to know all about different types of flooring and how they react to heating systems. We have listed down some of the key factors that need to be considered before beginning the installation process.

How To Install An Underfloor Heating System

We have provided you with a step-by-step guide for further assistance on installing underfloor heating. Following these steps would help your underfloor heating installation method go smoothly. 

  • Step 1: Firstly, you would need to place the hardwood flooring boards into the room. Lie the packets in a way that would allow air to flow underneath the wood. There is nothing to be worried about if you do not have wood or any other sturdy material. You can stack layers of cardboard strips at a height exceeding two inches.
  • Step 2: After placing the boards, you must open the packets and switch on the heating system. Choose a temperature range that you would use to heat the room in the future. The temperature generally ranges from 20 to 26 degrees Celsius. 
  • Step 3: Next, the wooden boards would have to be left to absorb and release the heat for a couple of days. Letting it sit and absorb the heat would help the wood acclimatize to the expansion that would occur. You can leave a 30mm gap between the edge of the hardwood floor and the wall to avoid any issues regarding expansion.

Precautions While Putting underfloor heating under wooden floors

The precautions you take before installing a new underfloor heating system depend on the type of flooring in your house. Newly laid concrete foundations are around 75mm in thickness. They require 2 to 3 months before settling properly. 

Exposing a newly laid foundation to heat before it has had enough time to settle might mess with the surface moisture level. It can lead to cracking and can even deform the structure.

It is essential to give a concrete base enough time to settle properly before moving on with the installation process. 

Like concrete bases, timber floors also require a specific time to adjust to the heating environment. The timber flooring has to adapt itself to the heat level of the room. This process consists of an installation heating cycle.

You have to adjust the floor surface temperature to 15 degrees Celsius during this cycle and the temperature between 15 to 22. The humidity level should be between 40-60%. 

After installation, the floor should be left to acclimate for at least 48 hours. It would be best not to turn the system back on during these 48 hours. You would have to set the temperature to 15 degrees Celsius. 

You can increase the temperature by 1 degree every day to reach your desired temperature. The subfloor temperature would also need to be checked to determine whether it is sustainable for a timber floor. 

It is also necessary to remember that screed adds excess moisture to timber. We recommend that you let the screed dry at a rate of 1 mm every day.

It is also worth mentioning that you leave a 10mm gap around the room. It would avoid any problems regarding expansion and contraction in the future.

Adding to the points we have mentioned above; there are a few other general rules of underfloor heating installation.

  • Once the flooring has dried, you must store it in the installation location. You would also have to ensure that it does not meddle with the subfloor drying process.
  • It is important to check the room’s humidity level and equip proper ventilation if required. 
  • The humidity level in the room should be between 45% to 60%, and the temperature has to be around 20.
  • You should check the moisture level of the floor before laying it. 

Parting Words

Following general guidelines is enough to correctly install a heating system under your floor. You need to prepare your flooring properly before installing an underfloor heating system. Taking precautions would prevent any future problems that you might have.

Choosing the correct underfloor heating system for your flooring is also important. Not all floors are designed for such systems. It is recommended that you contact a professional supplier if you are experiencing any problems regarding underfloor heating installation.

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