How You Too Can Have Radiant Heating Under Wood Flooring
Radiant, in-floor heating is a great addition to your home. It helps to serve as a secondary (or primary in some regions) source of heat, is better for allergy sufferers than forced air systems, improves energy efficiency and best of all gives, you a warm fuzzy feeling on your toes. Radiant heating is generally very simple to install, but some consideration needs to be made about the type of flooring going over top of the tubes or wiring that conduct the heat.
Carpet is pretty much out of the question regarding radiant heat. Stone is a great conductor of heat, but will also cost you a pretty penny. Tile is one of the best flooring types for radiant heating, but it doesn't exactly convey a look of elegance. It's for these reasons that hardwood flooring is considered the premier option for homes with radiant heating.
Adding radiant heating under wood flooring not only gives it a warm look, but literally a warm feel as well. There are some misconceptions about what kind of wood that should be used in conjunction with radiant underfloor heat or if it should be used at all. Here's the breakdown on the different wood flooring types and how they work with radiant floor heating.
Engineered Flooring Over Solid Hardwood
The choice of engineered wood flooring over solid hardwood isn't really a choice at all because a majority of industry manufacturers do not warranty their 3/4” solid hardwood for installation over radiant flooring. This isn't saying that hardwood flooring cannot be installed over radiant heating, but you take a big risk with your investment when you do. Quarter-sawn (vertical grain instead of horizontal) solid hardwood will provide the best results but it's still a bold move.
Easiklip Flooring is rated for radiant floor heating up to 30° Celsius when using the proper vapor barrier and underlayment. It really is the best of both worlds as you have the natural good looks of solid hardwood, but with the dimensional stability of engineered flooring.
Floating Installation Over Nailed Down
Another conundrum when determining what type of wood flooring to use with radiant heat is installation type. Thicker hardwood floors are usually recommended to be nailed down, but doing so sometimes causes your floor to buckle as it cannot expand and contract with weather changes. Thinner flooring not only have limited durability, but it can also warp over the radiant heating.
Once again, the Easiklip installation method is your best option for radiant floor heating. Expansion gaps are automatically set as the boards clip into position, allowing your floor the ability to 'float' but without warping and buckling due to the radiant tubes underneath.
NOTE: You can experience the Easiklip easy DIY hardwood system for yourself by grabbing a FREE sample pack today. Just click "add to cart" below.
Best Wood Types
The type of wood you choose for installation over your radiant flooring is also very important. First off, it provides the look and appeal of the room where it is installed. Beyond that though, the wood type also determines the flooring's stability. The Easiklip line of European Whit Oak flooring is a great choice not only based on looks, but also because of its thermal integrity.
A Few More Things to Consider
Even the best types of floating flooring can fail when installed over radiant heat if a few precautions and tips aren't followed. Tips to remember include:
- Have the actual in-floor radiant heating operating for a full two weeks before installing the wood so the boards can get acclimated to the room temperature.
- Make sure the radiant heating is properly installed so the surface temperature never exceeds 85°.
- Buy a hygrometer to measure relative indoor humidity and make sure it's between 40% - 50%
In terms of market value, a home with not only wood floors but also radiant heating is an incredible selling point. Therefore the combination is one of the best investments you can make – something to enjoy now, but also get a great ROI if and when you decide to sell.
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