When it comes to underfloor heating when you are building a new home, you have choices. Not only can you choose the type of heating that you use, but you can also obviously choose the sort of final flooring that you want int the house. However, there are a number of different things to take into consideration.
There are two basic types of underfloor heating. It can be either electric or it can use water-filled pipes which are heated by a number of different means. Electric underfloor heating in Milton Keynes, and elsewhere can either be an electric heating cable, or it can be contained within a mat. If using pipes, the water can be heated by electricity, a boiler – either gas or oil-powered, a ground source heat pump, or an air-source heat pump.
Of course, you can choose to heat one or more rooms with underfloor heating. Some people favour a combination of water-based heating and electric. Typically, the water-based heating would be used on the ground floor of a home, while the upper floor, or floors, would be heated with electric cables or mats.
Here are a few things to consider. Taking the installation cost first, electric heating is cheaper to install than a water system and is also quicker to install. Some heating mat systems can be installed in half an hour, whereas the water-based systems that we install at UK Screeds do take longer.
However, while a water system takes longer to install and costs more, the simple fact is that running costs are lower. Electric systems are dependent upon the tariff, and it costs less to run a water system, which means that, once you have got over the differential in installation costs, the running cost benefit goes on forever.
For much the same reason, water systems are recommended for larger areas. They are also better installed in new build projects because they can be allowed for at the design stage. In a renovation project an electric system may be more suitable because it does not increase the floor height very much, which a water system does. Electric systems are also suitable for small rooms, such as a bathroom, whereas in a large room a water-based system is more energy efficient. Having said that, you should always conduct a heat loss calculation and select the system that provides the most heat output for the minimum cost. Additionally, installing good quality insulation (which also increases the amount of space required) will further improve the efficiency of the system and reduce heat loss.
Whichever type of underfloor heating you choose, you will need to have it screeded in order to provide a level surface for the final flooring to be installed. Liquid screeds have many benefits over and above sand and cement when you are installing underfloor heating, not the least of which is that our liquid screed will fully cover the heating pipes when using a water system. If you use a sand and cement screed it has a tendency to leave air pockets where the pipes are not fully enveloped by the screed, and this has a disadvantageous effect on the heat transfer into the room above.
Furthermore, a liquid gypsum screed has almost double the heat transference properties of sand and cement so there is a quicker warm-up time which saves energy. In addition, another benefit of liquid screeds is that they can be laid far more thinly than sand and cement: typically, only 30 mm is needed to cover the heating pipes, again saving on warm-up time.
Underfloor heating can be used under almost any type of floor finish. The best type of flooring to use is tile or stone because they have high thermal conductivity meaning that the floor heats up quickly. In addition, they also retain heat well. They can also be heated up to 29°C or more.
Laminate is another good choice for flooring, and it is best to use a thin laminate with a high density leading to a shorter warm-up time.
Of course, you can use wood, vinyl, carpet, or even a polished concrete finish. All have different properties, and when you are installing underfloor heating you should take some time to consider these and the different properties of each.