Under Floor Heating
There are pros and cons to under floor heating from expansion and contraction due to the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, to the warping or splitting of wood. Several factors need to be taken into consideration before choosing your wood and heating system. Wood is a living material that moves so the humidity or lack of it can create cracks especially with extra sensitive woods such as Beech or Maple therefore they need to be avoided. The temperature should not rise above 27°C and carpets or rugs should be avoided for extended periods. There are two basic types, electric via matting, cable or foil or water via pipes.
This is the most practical, flexible and secure method and has a much lower initial investment cost. It is laid directly under the flooring, warming the air quickly and efficiently. Electric systems are wired to the mains via a thermostat with even heat distribution; are less prone to hot spots and less likely to make the flooring fail. The installation of electrical is the easiest and quickest and floor sensors ensure that it does not overheat. You can choose between cable (loops), matts (which are rolled out) or under floor heating foil which is thin and provides a gentle heat for wooden floors. An insulation board fitted beneath stops any energy loss downwards.
Hot Water Pipe Systems
There are many water pipe systems with varying costs and these are based on the same principle as central heating. Water pipe systems are usually laid in a concrete screed, helping diffuse the heat across an area although they can be run between the joists using metal dispersion plates. Water pipes are installed at a lower level than electric forms and therefore heats the room less efficiently and can also involve major surgery with long delays before the wooden flooring is fitted as a relative humidity has to be reached and maintained for 4 days before flooring installation can begin. The wooden flooring is stuck with a polymer adhesive to minimise any movement and help the heat transfer with the temperature maintained at the same level until the adhesive has cured. Heating can only be increased or decreased incrementally by 5°C within any 24 hour period to avoid any stresses on the flooring. Although some have lower running costs it can take longer to re-coup the initial outlay and run the risk of water leaks.
The main benefits of under-floor heating are that it produces a low heat compared to the hot localised heat of radiators. The human body prefers warm feet (average 23°C/24°C) and cool head (18°C/20°C), this can only be achieved through heated floors. Radiators increase air circulation in a convection current creating more dust and hot stale dry air. Electrical under floor heating will produce warm floors all year round as you can choose which areas to switch off in summer.
We supply and install electric under floor heating and can arrange hot water pipe systems. If you would like advice or more information regarding under floor heating please feel free to contact us and it can be discussed in full at the quoting stage.