Electrical Heated Floors: All You Need to Know

Gaining in popularity for some time now, electric underfloor heating (with membrane), also known as electric radiant floor heating, has revolutionized floor covering. What could be more pleasant than stepping out of the shower onto a warm floor, or cooking barefoot without feeling cold? Find out everything you need to know about electric floor heating before you install it.

Source: Karolina Grabowska│Pexels

How electric underfloor heating works

There are no limits with electric underfloor heating; you can put it in every room of your home!

The floor is heated by the electric resistance of its wiring system. Heat is diffused through an electric cable inserted in a membrane under the floor covering of your choice. The heating cables can be installed evenly throughout the room, or you can create customized heating zones to suit your needs.

Source : Schluter®

The compatibility of underfloor heating with floor coverings

It's important to choose a floor covering that's suitable for underfloor heating, as not all floor coverings are made for this type of use.

The ideal option: tiles

Ceramic and natural stone are the most common floor coverings when opting for underfloor heating, since they diffuse heat evenly and are conductive materials. With this type of covering, you'll feel the warmth of your investment beneath your feet. You can even heat an entire room with underfloor heating! It's also the most interesting floor covering to combine with underfloor heating, since without it, tiles remain cold at all times, compared with other floor coverings.

Other floor coverings

Engineered wood is compatible with underfloor heating, but solid wood is not. It's also impossible to combine underfloor heating with hickory wood.

Laminate, better known as "floating", is compatible with electric floor heating, as is carpet. As for vinyl, underfloor heating is compatible only with SPC (Stone Plastic (or Polymer) Composite) vinyl, and not with all types of vinyl.

Please note that for these types of flooring, i.e. wood, laminate, vinyl and carpet, the addition of underfloor heating results in a thicker floor, since a self-levelling cement must be used over the membrane - a good thing to know if you're juxtaposing it with another floor, in the case of renovations for example.

You should also be aware that the heating effect of underfloor heating will never be as effective with these types of floor coverings as with tiles. In some cases, you'll be able to heat an entire room with tiles, but not with wood, laminate, vinyl or carpet.

In all cases, ask our advisors for the best advice to suit your needs!

Installing underfloor heating

Installing underfloor heating is relatively straightforward. The first step is to lay insulation on the floor, to make sure you don't heat up under your floor covering! Next, a thin-set mortar is applied before installing the uncoupling membrane specially designed to accommodate the heating cables. Once this membrane has been installed, the cables are inserted in the desired heating zones. Once completed, a layer of thin-set mortar is applied, followed by the next step, which is to cover the entire surface with the selected floor covering, using the appropriate installation method.

To avoid any problems, we recommend that you have your underfloor heating system electrically connected by a certified electrician.

The advantages of underfloor heating

There are several advantages to underfloor heating:

  • It's silent
  • It's odorless (think of a calorifier opened for the first time when it's been closed for a while!).
  • It doesn't stir up dust
  • It takes up less space than a standard heating system. In fact, you won't have to plan the placement of your furniture around the baseboard heaters at the bottom of the walls!
  • It adds an undeniable touch of comfort
  • When combined with tiles :
    • Less heat is lost through the floor, which saves energy and is cost-effective in the long term.
    • It distributes heat evenly throughout the room
    • Guarantees that no joints will crack over the years
    • It replaces 2nd plywood, resulting in a thinner floor. It's also easier to stow with a wood floor, due to its lower height.

In short, there are only good reasons to opt for electric floor heating. Don't hesitate to treat yourself to this little luxury!

Cover photo source: Imani Bahati │ Unsplash