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Wood Flooring And Underfloor Heating

Wood flooring and underfloor heating

In case you want to have an underfloor heating system installed under your solid, engineered, or laminate flooring, first you should be aware of the requirements and recommendations the manufacturers and contractors have in regards to how it will work with your floor. Without a doubt, an underfloor heating system is a smart investment for many households, but some indoor environments and floor coverings are simply not a good fit with it. Make sure you are aware of whether or not your floor will make a good pair with a heating system being permanently housed underneath it. Today’s article is dedicated to helping you understand underfloor heating systems better, and to provide you with a guarantee that you can experience a smooth-running underfloor heating installation system while being at peace that your wood or laminate floor will remain in a perfect condition.

In general, the first thing you should be aware of when considering an underfloor heating system for your household is that there are two main types of underfloor heating systems. The first one is the basic electricity one that probably popped at the top of your head. However, the second most popular heating system is a water-based heating system with pipes that are installed under the floor covering. The main difference between these two is that the electric heating system is ensuring a significantly higher temperature in your home, which is a good thing if you want to keep your feet toasty hot in winter, and you may even notice significantly lower heating bills. Electric underfloor heating, however, is not necessarily the best fit for some types of hard flooring.

As an example, electric underfloor heating is not highly recommended for installation under a solid wood floor or a laminate. The main concern is that both flooring coverings are prone to temperature changes by high-temperature amplitudes, which can lead to excessive “movement” of the flooring boards, mainly from the shrinking and expanding of the boards. On the other hand, the excessive movement of the boards can lead to some issues that will pressure you to seek professional help, and potentially a wood floor repair service.

This could be time-consuming, expensive, and difficult. One of the main concerns, when it comes to floor issues initiated by the wrong choice of underfloor heating system, is the occurring gaps between the boards, which are a result of the shrinking of the boards (the shrinking of the top lamella layer, when it comes to laminate flooring), and these could lead to a significant decrease in the stability of your flooring construction.

However, when it comes to engineered wood flooring and underfloor heating, it is a bit of a different situation. Engineered wood floorboards are made out of real wood and lumber products only, which makes them a man-made real wood flooring product. They are created with the main purpose to be significantly less prone to moisture, humidity and changes in the temperature, that could otherwise severely affect the condition and look of solid wood, thus leading to some issues. Engineered wood floorboards have a specific structure that helps them avoid the most common issues.

Their structure consists of layers of softwood, plywood (or other wood/lumber products that are glued and pressed together crisscrossed), topped with a layer of hardwood species, which can come with a varying thickness. Thanks to this specific structure and the fact that those floors are less prone to issues caused by the “movement” of the floorboards, electric underfloor heating is an option you can consider. However, it is highly recommended to relate your situation to a wood flooring professional first, and listen to any advice they might have!

To understand underfloor heating systems, let’s delve into some details. The highest temperature of a water-based underfloor heating system should not be higher than 28 degrees Celsius. This means that the temperature of the heating system’s water should not be higher than 35-38 degrees Celsius, so you can get a 28 degrees temperature on the surface of the floor. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you have to ensure there would not be bigger than 5 degrees Celsius temperature change in 24 hours. The best way to know more about these common recommendations is to discuss what is required with the underfloor heating manufacturer, or with a professional wood flooring contractor. This way you will be able to extract even more important information and recommendations.

It is a good thing if your underfloor heating system is provided with a system of control from a distance, so you can control and maintain the temperature the way you want it and the way it is the best for your wooden or laminate flooring. Another thing to be aware of is that before the installation of your floor, the underfloor heating installation contractor should check how the heating system is faring. This is a necessity, so if there are any unexpected issues and problems, the underfloor heating system can be repaired or replaced without all the stress and problems of doing that when the floor is already installed on top of it.

How to check the underfloor heating system?

Here is some useful guidance on how you can check how your underfloor heating system is working, do you utilize it properly, and are there any possible issues you need to tackle. In a run of 4 to 5 days, you need to slowly set the heating system’s temperature higher by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius per day. When the maximum recommended temperature is reached, make sure to leave the heating system working for seven days, without changing its temperature levels. Then you’ll have to smoothly lower the temperature day by day, again for a week.

Next thing you need to do is leave the underfloor heating system off for 2 to 3 days. Following, it is recommended to contact a professional and ask them for checking the condition of the insulation membrane that is installed over the underfloor heating system. A professional would look for scratches, scuffs, gaps, holes, etc. It is very important for the insulation sheet to be in a pristine condition, otherwise really high temperature could escape through the gaps and holes and ruin your wooden floor.


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