How To Install Underfloor Heating

How To Install Underfloor Heating
Posted in: Guides, Insulation
By Insulation Express
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How To Install Underfloor Heating

Looking to install underfloor heating in your home but not sure where to start? We’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to make sure you don’t make any mistakes. Underfloor heating is becoming more popular year on year and can be a great addition to your home for those harsh winter months.

 

When you think about underfloor heating, your first thought may be that it sounds costly, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It can act as a cost-effective and economical way to heat the home during those cold days.

 

Thermostat

 

Types of Underfloor Heating

 

There are two main options when you’re looking to install underfloor heating in your home, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Reducing draughts and lowering your energy bills are big positives when installing floor insulation, but that’s not all.

 

Wet Underfloor Heating

 

Wet underfloor heating systems use warm water to create the heat, which is sourced from the central heating system. Water is sent though pipes that are laid on the subfloor, just underneath the top surface of the floor itself.

 

Advantages of Wet Underfloor Heating

 

  • It can reduce the cost of your heating bill, as it requires the water to be heated at a lower temperature when compared to heating systems that use radiators.
  • Easy to use and controlled with a thermostat, meaning you can set the underfloor heating to the right temperature for you.
  • No cold spots in your rooms, which can occur with radiator heating.
  • More design freedom as there are no radiators getting in the way.

 

 

Disadvantages of Wet Underfloor Heating

 

  • Wet underfloor heating tends to be more difficult to install, as you will likely need to raise your flooring to accommodate it. If you’re unable to do so, it may be best to go with Dry (Electric) underfloor heating instead.
  • It can also prove to be costly to install, but it can save you money in the long run on your heating bills.

 

Dry (Electric) Underfloor Heating

 

Rather than using warm water, dry underfloor heating uses coils that are powered by the mains. The coils are attached or embedded into mesh mats that are then rolled out and connected underneath the floor. They’re linked up to the thermostat and mains power supply, so that you can easily adjust the temperature at any time.

 

Advantages of Dry (Electric) Underfloor Heating

 

  • They are cheap to install, so will cost less than wet underfloor heating in the short term.
  • Easier to install than the other option as they don’t require the floor of the room to be raised to accommodate it.
  • More energy efficient than using a radiator system.
  • No cold spots in your rooms, which can occur with radiator heating.
  • More space to work with, as radiators aren’t getting in the way.
  • Can be installed with all kinds of floor coverings, including tile, stone, carpet, wood and vinyl.

 

Disadvantages of Dry (Electric) Underfloor Heating

 

  • It often costs more to run in the long run, due to using the mains electricity rather than the heated water system.
  • Can take a little bit longer to install as some electric systems require applying a self-levelling compound.

 

How To Install Wet Underfloor Heating

 

Before deciding on whether to install a wet underfloor heating system, you should consider that it’s more complex than other systems, due to the need for raising the floor to accommodate it.

 

  1. Pull Up the Floor

 

Most floors use a tongue-and-groove system, which is nailed down through the tongue to connect the boards together. Thus, the nails should be pulled out via the use of a crowbar, starting with the row of boards that are closest to the wall. Be careful to avoid damage to the boards if you are using the same ones when re-laying the boards at the end.

 

  1. Lay the Pipes

 

When purchasing the pipes for this job, you should have also received a guide to ensure you aren’t laying the pipes incorrectly. You’ll need to ensure that the pipes are spaced evenly, so that the heat will spread thoroughly the room.

 

The positioning of the manifold is key and should be fixed to the wall as close to the circuits as possible, so that it can be plumbed in the same way a radiator would be. Connecting the system to the water supply and central heating system is a very difficult job and is probably best to be left to a qualified plumber to ensure that it’s all done correctly.

 

  1. Screed the Floor

 

When installing a wet underfloor heating system, they tend to be covered in a layer of screed that helps with insulation, and assists the heat being felt in each room more quickly. It’s best to get the opinion of a professional on which type of screed to use: either a semi-dry trowelling screed or a fast-flowing liquid screed.

 

The pipes need to be securely fastened with the insulation lying flat on the subfloor before the screed is applied. To avoid cracks forming, expansion joints must be installed to allow for shrinking and expanding due to the heat. After the screed is laid, you’ll need to ensure that it’s dried naturally before the heating is switched on. This shouldn’t take more than seven days. See our blog for more advice on how to screed a floor.

 

Underfloor Heating

 

How To Install Dry (Electric) Underfloor Heating

 

If you’ve chosen to go with the dry underfloor heating option, you should be aware that there are always hazards when dealing with electricity. If you have any reservations, please consult an electrician or a relevant specialist.

 

  1. Pulling Up the Floor

 

The strategy here is the same as the previous example, so please take a read though the advice mentioned earlier. If you have click flooring, find a corner board and pry it up from there.

 

  1. Laying the Mat

 

After the floor has been taken up and the insulation is laid down, rolling the mats out is straightforward. You’ll also need to fit a floor sensor that is connected to the thermostat, and it should sit on the floor close to the wall and fastened in place.

 

A connection to the main electrical supply should be done by a qualified and experienced electrician, just to make sure everything is done correctly.

 

  1. Screed the Floor

 

Once again, the strategy here is the same as mentioned in point 3 earlier for the wet underfloor heating example.

 

What Next?

 

After the installation has been completed, you’ll need to test that it’s working correctly and that there are no issues. The best way to do this is to turn it on at a low temperature and ensure that nothing goes wrong. Don’t just put it on full temperature straight away, as this could cause you problems.

 

The next step is to enjoy your new underfloor heating system!

 

No matter the type of underfloor heating you’re looking at, each has its benefits. Don’t forget that you can buy any insulation board that you may require for your home here at Insulation Express, while you can read more of our tips and tricks on how to install floor insulation.

26 days ago