At UK Screeds, many people think of us purely as a supplier and installer of floor screeds, largely because of our name. But in fact, we are also suppliers and installers of underfloor heating systems, because they offer so many benefits.

There are two types of underfloor heating, either electric or water-based. Electric underfloor heating systems also come in two types, either electric cables or electric heating mats which have cables included within them.

Electric heating mats are very quick to install because basically, all they need is to be rolled out on the floor. Electric cables take somewhat longer. However, while electric underfloor heating systems are easy and quick to install, they are also less expensive than water-based systems, which take longer to install in addition.

However, here’s the catch. With an electric system you are paying for electricity, and electricity is not cheap. With a water-based system, you have to heat water which is then pumped through a pipe system running under the flooring. The pump is electrically operated, but it doesn’t use very much electricity to operate. The water can be heated by a boiler, an air source or ground source heat pump, or by solar power.

Solar power costs nothing to run, while with an air source or ground source heat pump you are using heat captured from the ground or from the air which only needs electricity for the pump, so again costs very little to run.

At UK Screeds we are great believers in the benefits of water-based underfloor heating systems and that is what we provide. However, they do take a bit longer to install and the initial cost is greater, but this is offset by the fact that once up and running the ongoing costs are minimal compared with an electric system. So, in the overall scheme of things, water-based is the way to go, especially if you are concerned with the environment, which we believe we should all be.

Of course, whatever type of heating system you use, it will need to be covered with a screed before the final flooring is laid. We install liquid screed because, again, it has definite benefits over and above traditional sand and cement screed, particularly when used in conjunction with underfloor heating.

Not the least of the benefits you will get if you use us as your liquid floor screed company in Newbury – or anywhere else for that matter – is the fact that liquid screed can be laid far thinner than sand and cement. It only needs to be laid 30mm above the heating pipes, making a total of perhaps 45mm compared with 75mm or more of sand and cement screed.

This has several benefits because it takes less energy to heat the screed and therefore keeps energy costs down. Our liquid anhydrite screed also has thermal conductivity properties that are nearly double that of sand and cement, again using less energy. Equally important is the fact that a liquid screed will completely envelop the heating pipes without leaving any gaps or voids, so the heat transfer into the room will be even. If you have a sand and cement screed which is laid by hand, it is almost impossible for it to be laid so that every last inch of the heating pipe is fully covered, and that means that the heat transfer into the room will not be so even.

We do get asked about the different types of flooring that can be used with underfloor heating, and the good news is that you can use just about anything that you wish. However, the different types of flooring have different thermal conductivity properties, and these need to be considered. By far the best type of flooring for use in conjunction with underfloor heating is tile or stone. This is because both have high thermal conductivity and means that the heat transfers into the room quickly. Tile and stone also retain heat well which again helps to keep the amount of energy required down.

All this makes tile and stone ideal for use with underfloor heating in areas of high heat loss such as a conservatory, for example.