Choosing the floor for underfloor heating

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Underfloor heating is one of the life-enhancing features that is becoming more popular every year. However, what kind of floor can be installed over heating? Is any type of surface suitable?

If you love walking barefoot, underfloor heating will be perfect in your house not only in winter. It is energy efficient, discreet and incredibly comfortable and convenient. It is important to choose a floor surface that conducts heat perfectly and can withstand high temperatures without deformation. Which flooring to choose?

Panels and vinyl panels

Panels are a solution that is gaining more and more supporters. They are cheap, easy to install and delight with a variety of designs and colors. And although for many years it was avoided to combine floor heating with panels, currently this trend is reversed – mainly because panels have been improved, they are more resistant to moisture and damage. It is worth looking for appropriate markings on packages, which guarantee that a given type of laminate can be used for underfloor heating. However, panel strips will work better on water heating, as the floor heats up slowly, gradually.

Vinyl panels are made of polyvinyl chloride, which conducts heat very well. They are much thinner than traditional panels, and have a much higher resistance to temperature fluctuations. They are also waterproof

Wooden planks

Although you’ll find many types of laminate in DIY stores – including the easiest to install, which is snap-on – wooden floors still have lovers who can’t imagine a floor other than natural, forest-smelling wood. It’s possible to lay wood floors on underfloor heating, but you should do some research first – not every species of wood can withstand temperature changes without damage. Wood is not the best conductor of heat, but you can buy boards specially adapted to such a solution.

Species with a low shrinkage factor, such as oak or teak, are best. Species with a high shrinkage factor change their dimensions significantly when exposed to differences in temperature or humidity, which can result in cracking and bulging.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are one of the less risky solutions. Most often, underfloor heating was traditionally installed in kitchens and bathrooms, where ceramic tiles were a fashionable and successful solution. They conduct heat perfectly, they are not afraid of temperature fluctuations and they are also resistant to water. That is why they are still installed in wetter areas of the house, even though there is no floor heating. The only disadvantage of ceramic tiles is that they cool down quickly when the heating is turned off and they themselves seem very cold to the touch

Ceramic tiles are available in many colors, shapes, and even in forms that mimic natural wood. So if you’re a fan of the natural aesthetic but don’t want to risk installing planks on your underfloor heating, you may want to consider tiles that mimic them


Carpets are much more pleasant to the touch than ceramic tiles or stone. For this reason, they are used mainly in bedrooms and children’s rooms. Unfortunately carpets and coverings insulate heat quite well, so they are not compatible with the idea of underfloor heating. The exception are products made of artificial fibres, e.g. polypropylene


If you like industrial interiors full of raw materials, stone is an option worth considering. It conducts heat perfectly and works well with underfloor heating as it is resistant to temperature, moisture as well as scratches and mechanical damage. Although its price can be discouraging, the effect surpasses expectations

>> See also: Luxury stone floors

The only disadvantage of stone paving for underfloor heating is similar to ceramic tiles – it loses temperature very quickly after turning off the heating, and itself seems cold and unpleasantly cool to the touch.

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