More and more people today are considering installing underfloor heating in a new-build home because of the many advantages that it has over a radiator system.

Radiators first came into existence in the 1930’s. Prior to that, the only way of heating many homes was by the use of fires. Many people burned only coal, although logs were used quite a lot. Even though it was possible to have central heating in the 1930’s many homes still continued to burn coal and logs, and people of a certain age can still remember the coalman calling to deliver large sacks of coal which were lowered into the cellar of the home.

Courtier stoves were also in fashion in the 1960’s and 70’s, these replacing the fireplace, and they produced a lot of heat, so much so that in many a home when watching TV in the evening (which was the only time that TV programmes were on) it was necessary to move the sofa or your armchair further away from them.

As radiator systems came into use more and more, fireplaces gradually became disused, although it became more of a “posh” thing to have a roaring log fire in the sitting room when you invited guests around for dinner. Today, of course, seeing a log fire would be a rarity, as we worry about the environment, although one does see the occasional plume of smoke coming from a chimney on an older building.

But most homes have either a central heating system with radiators or electric heaters or storage heaters. The latter are not all that efficient because they use cheap electricity overnight and can then supply the heat during the day. Unfortunately, in many homes that heat is not there at the time it is most needed which is in the evening.

Radiator systems, too, are gradually being phased out in favour of underfloor heating. Radiators work by convection which heats the air around and above the radiator and sends it up to the ceiling where it isn’t really needed. This then circulates around the room, but the result is that there are cold spots in the room. Furthermore, for some reason best known to themselves, some architects place a radiator underneath the windows in a room which means that a lot of the heat produced quite literally goes out of the window.

Underfloor heating has many benefits, not the least of which is that provided the right sort of screed has been used, the heat levels are the same all over the room. Furthermore, underfloor heating does not require so much energy to be used as a radiator system, so it saves on fuel bills as well as being more environmentally friendly. Even better is the fact that you can use a ground-source or air-source heat pump in order to produce the heat. Then the only cost is the electricity to run the system. Of course, you could also use solar power if you have solar panels on your roof, so your heating would cost nothing.

Just how effective underfloor heating is depends on the type of screed that is used to level the floor and cover the heating pipes. These are filled with water which is heated by your power source.

Now a traditional screed is made from sand and cement and worked into position and levelled out by a man on hands and knees using a trowel. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to ensure that all of the heating pipes are completely covered and enveloped by the screed without leaving any gaps. Where you have these voids, it will affect the transmission of the heat into the room, so the heat will not be totally even.

Furthermore, a traditional screed needs to be applied to a depth of about 75 mm or more, compared with the liquid screed we install at UKScreeds which only needs to be 30 mm above the heating pipes, making an overall depth of 45 mm or so. Thus, a liquid screed in Northampton will result in the use of less energy in order to bring the room up to heat. Because it is in liquid format, it also completely envelops the heating pipes leaving no gaps or voids, so the heat transfer is perfectly even, and faster than using old-fashioned sand and cement screeds.