Walking on a heated floor is one of the most amazing things, especially during the wintertime. If you’re renovating, building, or just hate cold floors, in-floor heating is for you. In-floor heating is also known as radiant floor heating and is considered an extremely energy-efficient way to stay warm.
Exploring Radiant Floor Heating
Would you believe that the Romans were the first people ever to have in-floor heating? It’s true. They had wood-burning fires under marble floors to keep the floors nice and warm. In today’s time, you won’t have fires, but you do experience those same toasty tootsies.
Instead, you have the option of electric or hydronic radiant floor heating systems. Electronic systems are easier to install but tend to be more expensive to power. They do work exceedingly well for heating small areas. On the other hand, hydronic systems are more costly to install but less expensive for daily operations. They are incredibly effective for whole-house installations and can warm larger areas.
Pros and Cons of Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating keeps the overall room temperature comfortable. The infrared radiation that comes from the floor has a chance to build up in the lower areas of a room, keeping you warm at a lower temperature. This is markedly different from central heating because of the way heat rises above the cold air that often settles at the bottom of a centrally heated room.
While radiant floor heating feels fantastic, it’s not without its challenges. For one, it’s difficult to install when the flooring has already been put in place. The only way it’s possible without causing too much of an issue is if you want to remove your floors, install the heating elements, and then replace the floors. It’s really best for a new build because there’s no way around needing to pull up the floors.
Best Materials for Flooring Over Radiant Heating Systems
The best materials to use for flooring installed over radiant floor heating systems is the one that is thermal conducting. Stone, tile, and concrete floors are some of the preferred choices because they conduct and hold heat despite dealing with high temperatures below. They also transfer heat well to provide uniform heating you won’t find in a centrally heated home.
You don’t really want a wood floor because they’re sensitive to temperature changes and can expand or shrink, leaving unwanted gaps or an unsteady floor. Laminate floors and even vinyl also have significant limitations when it comes to heat and can come unglued from the flooring underneath. Carpeting also doesn’t work well for radiant flooring because it acts like insulation instead of conducting and transferring the heat.
A Few Last Thoughts on In-Floor Heating
Radiant heating systems don’t typically require much in the way of maintenance after they’re installed. Some companies even warranty their electric installations for decades. Hydronic systems may not carry the same warranty as they’re more likely to experience damage due to shifts in the foundation. In-floor heating systems are also quiet, so you never have to listen to a furnace kick on or deal with dust getting kicked around a room ever again. The energy efficiency of one of these systems makes them an excellent choice for your home if you’re in a position to get them installed.
The season for in-floor heating may be coming to an end, but it’s still a home upgrade worth considering. You could have it ready by the time the next winter rolls around! Have your feet been feeling cold this winter? WPL Interior Design can help you reflect on the past season and help you find solutions for a more comfortable winter next year. Or maybe it’s time to refresh your home for the upcoming spring. Whatever you are envisioning for your home, we’re here for you. Fill out our online inquiry form today to see how we can help you transform your house into a home.