Which wooden floors are compatible with underfloor heating?

Which wooden floors are compatible with underfloor heating?

This entry was posted on August 27, 2014 by Chris Elliott

If you are thinking about using underfloor heating with a hardwood floor then you must use engineered hardwood flooring. The reason for this is due to the way in which the planks of flooring have been produced to withstand fluctuations in temperature.

Which wooden floors are compatible with underfloor heating


Why engineered hardwood flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of a hardwood wear layer (or top layer), with a plywood or 3-ply block construction base glued to the wear layer at 90 degrees to the grain. The wear layer is the chosen species of wood, for example Oak or Walnut, so when the floor is laid, it looks exactly the same as a solid wood floor. The advantage is that the multiple layers of wood mean that the flooring planks are more dimensionally stable than solid wood flooring, and as a result can withstand significant fluctuations in temperature associated with underfloor heating. Do not mistake engineered hardwood flooring for laminate flooring, which is a picture of wooden flooring laminated onto high density fibreboard (HDF). Engineered wood flooring is available in a range of different wood species, plank sizes, finishes and styles, and once installed it is impossible to tell the difference between engineered wood flooring and solid wood flooring.

Engineered hardwood flooring cross section

Things to consider when using underfloor heating and wood floors

Although engineered wood flooring can be installed safely over an underfloor heating system, there are a few guidelines to follow:

• The whole of the chosen room has to have underfloor heating to allow the wooden floor to heat evenly.

• Your engineered hardwood floor can either be glued down with a full surface bond or floated over a low tog underlay.

• Nails or screws should not be used during the installation of the floor in case they puncture the underfloor heating pipes.

• An expansion gap of 12mm – 15mm must be left around the perimeter of the room to allow for the flooring to expand and contract with the temperature changes.

• The maximum surface temperature of the hardwood floor should be 26ºC.

Underfloor heating system