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Why Wood Is A Good Choice With UFH

Craig Pawson on underfloor heating

WITH a push towards more sustainable living, underfloor heating (UFH) has become a popular choice due to the reduced energy consumption.

As this trend continues to increase, many questions have arisen around the suitability of different

flooring materials.

UFH provides many eco-benefits in comparison to radiators and heaters. However, unlike these systems which sit within the room, UFH relies on the floor surface to help radiate the temperature, and therefore presents challenges over the choice and reliability of the flooring.

A common misconception surrounding UFH, is that only certainsolidflooringmaterials, such as tiling and concrete can be used. This is not the case. Wood, carpeting, stone, laminates and PVC flooring are all

viable options.

The most important element to consider is the screed. Not only does it work as a thermal conductor, it provides extra stability for the flooring, with the heating pipes and wires set into it.

Perhaps the most misunderstood and controversial option when it comes to UFH is wooden flooring. As many will have experienced, wooden flooring can shape, warp and swell, depending on what environment it is installed in.

This has meant that it has undeser vedly been avoided in many UFH installations, when in fact, there are many reasons that prove that wooden flooring is a fantastic product to use in this form of application. It provides brilliantheatinsulation,retaining the heat well to give the room a thorough, even temperature.

To avoid any problems, leaving space for expansion should be incorporated into the wooden floor fitting, with a space left around the edge of the room. This is easily hidden with a skirting, and will not detract from the overall finish of the flooring.

Many wooden flooring manufacturers will also help to advise the correct timber to use within a par ticular installation, as well as how much expansion room is advisable.

To further protect the installation, it is advised to run your UFH prior to the woods application, to drive out any excess moisture within the room and subfloor.

A suitable finish should then be applied to the timber after installation to ensure the continuedbreathabilityto maximise the resilience of the wood.

It is also important to consider the suitability of adhesives, fixings and subflooring insulators. Not all adhesives are compatible with UFH, which, if used, may cause damage to the flooring material, and may require replacing far quicker than compatible equivalents.

The structure of the subfloor is also highly impor tant. Ensuring expansion joints are used within the subfloor screed will allow for gentle movement, without disruption. Typically, this comes in the form of a foam perimeter around the room.

Thermal insulation below the heating elements is also an impor tant par t of the overall insulation, ensuring that minimal heat energy is lost below the floor level, and is instead radiated upwards towards the room.

Craig Pawson is Osmo’s flooring specialist

T: 01296 481220

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at