At UK Screeds, we are not only a screeding installation company, but we also install underfloor heating. This is becoming more and more popular as people realise all the benefits when compared with a radiator system.
Just to begin with, underfloor heating will heat the room evenly which is not the case with a radiator system. A radiator heats the air around it and heats the room up through convection and this means that there will be parts of the room that are cooler than others. It also uses a lot of energy compared with an underfloor heating system. Underfloor heating warms up the floor, so everything will be heated evenly.
A radiator system typically needs to be run at 65° – 75°C in order to heat the room effectively, whereas underfloor heating only needs to run at a temperature of 29°C or even less, depending upon the floor type, in order to achieve the same level of comfort. So obviously, underfloor heating will save a considerable amount of money on energy costs.
As liquid floor screed contractors in Reading, we install the underfloor heating pipes on top of insulation boards and then cover them with a layer of liquid screed. Because the screed we use is in the liquid format it will totally envelop the heating pipes which means that the heat transfer into the room will be perfectly even.
The screed itself has nearly twice the thermal conductivity of a typical sand and cement screed, so that also helps to save on the energy bills. However, the choice of the final flooring needs to be appropriate for use with underfloor heating, and this needs to be taken into consideration. Whatever flooring is chosen, it must be such that it does not act as an insulator, thereby blocking the heat.
Without a doubt, the best sort of flooring for use in conjunction with underfloor heating is tile or stone, and also polished concrete. They all possess high thermal conductivity, so they heat up quickly and also retain the heat well, making the system efficient to run.
Liquid anhydrite screeds do produce a layer of fine particles on the surface as they dry, which is called laitance, and this must be removed by sanding before laying tile or stone. It is also necessary to use an appropriate adhesive that does not conflict with gypsum, which is what the screed becomes when dry.
Wood is also a very popular material for flooring, and it needs to be the right sort for use with underfloor heating. The thinner and denser the wood is, the faster that it will heat up and therefore the more efficient the system will be. The temperature should not exceed 27°C which is warm enough to heat the room but not so hot that it will damage the wood.
Natural solid wood has different options in wood density, so it is best to check with the wood supplier for its’ suitability for use with underfloor heating. Engineered wood is cheaper and is ideal for use with it. While there are no rules for the thickness of the wood, it is recommended that it be no thicker than 18mm otherwise it may interfere with the transfer of heat.
Carpet is suitable for underfloor heating so long as it, or the underlay does not interfere with heat transfer. Carpet has a tendency to trap dust, and when used with radiators, this will circulate through the air in the room. There may also be dust mites. When you have underfloor heating, the carpet is totally dry and cannot absorb any moisture, so dust mites cannot thrive in it. The heating will also warm the room without causing air circulation, so dust will not fly around and be able to be inhaled, which can cause issues for some people.
Laminate is another increasingly popular flooring material and is available in a wide choice of colours and patterns. Again, density is important for thermal conductivity, so the thinner the laminate and the denser it is, the better the heat transfer.
Vinyl is also a popular flooring material, and it heats up quickly but also cools down quickly. The heating temperature should not exceed 27°C and should therefore be controlled with a thermostat.