Some floor metals are simply better than others when it comes to working with underfloor heating systems. Certain properties can make a floor covering good or bad for radiant heating systems, such as its thickness and the way it allows heat to pass through it and transfer up from below into your home.

While carpets have a less thermal conductive rating than tiles, there’s more to consider than just this, including how materials work with your existing floor substrate and the way products can expand or contract over time.

We explore this topic in more detail for anyone considering the type of floor to install above their underfloor heating system.

The Basics

Thicker floor coverings like solid hardwood and engineered wood can be poor thermal bridges. Mineral-based floor coverings, chiefly tile and stone, on the other hand, are excellent thermal conductors. Additionally, unlike wood, tile and stone do not expand or contract. Due to significant temperature variations and moisture in the room, solid hardwood floors can easily be damaged.

So, while wood flooring can still work with underfloor heating systems, there’s more thought that must go into this decision, and how you will lay down your material and maintain it over time.

Today, porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone are considered the best flooring materials for radiant heating as they encompass the most beneficial characteristics when it comes to materials that work well with underfloor heating. Similarly, carpet is considered the worst choice for anyone installing a heating system underground.

Natural Stone Flooring

Any kind of natural stone or aggregate stone is a good choice for underfloor radiant heating systems. It has good thermal conductivity and doesn’t shrink or contract. The great thing about a stone too is how it will retain heat for long periods of time. But, the downside is that it will also take longer to heat up in the first place, compared to ceramic and porcelain tile.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile

Porcelain and ceramic tile are perfect for use with radiant floor heating systems. Not only is tile thin but its mineral-based nature means that it conducts heat well. You’ll see these tiles used in more and more bathrooms and kitchens in coming years as the likely flooring choice for people who are installing new UFH systems.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring’s thickness (or lack of it) is great for installing radiant heating, allowing the heat to penetrate the surface and spread into your home. However, certain precautions must be taken to protect the flooring.

Typically, the temperature of the heating system must be kept below a certain point so that the laminate does not become damaged. This is especially important if moisture is on the surface. Nevertheless, this is considered a great compromise for people who want natural wood but something that is more affordable.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is a great option for all types of homes and personal tastes. Radiant heating can be installed under resilient floorings such as sheet vinyl or tile vinyl. Just make sure that you check the manufacturer’s installation instructions for maximum temperatures and how temperature might affect the kind of adhesives you use to install your vinyl floor.

Why is Liquid Screed Ideal for Underfloor Heating Systems?

Liquid floor screed is a good long term investment, especially if you have an underfloor heating system. It encases the pipes entirely, eliminating air bubbles and maximising thermal conductivity.

Traditional sand/cement screeds work fine over UFH but the heat transfer will be slower. Thinner liquid screed options are generally less dense and better performing with modern UFH systems and offer your tiled floors an incredibly smooth flat surface that is perfect for a flawless finish.

How Thick Should Screed Flooring be for an Under Floor Heating System?

Floor screed is traditionally thin anyway, but it’s imperative that you achieve an optimal level of thickness to work well with underfloor heating systems. Working with professionals who have experience installing liquid screed floors for UFH systems is important so that you can achieve a long-lasting ad efficient floor unit that lasts for many years to come.

If you are looking to have your property installed with liquid screed, our team at UK Screed can help you achieve the desired effect to work with any floor finish you have in mind, whether that’s tile or vinyl. Get in touch with us for more advice or a quote for liquid screed services in Northampton and throughout the Midlands.