Wooden Floors

Whether you are installing engineered wood flooring or natural wooden floorboards, most Warmup electric floor heating systems can be used.

Underfloor Heating for Wooden Floors

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Floor heating for wooden floor finishes is increasingly popular amongst homeowners. Warmup systems have been extensively researched and developed for use with a wide variety of wooden floor options. The key with radiant-based heating of wood flooring is the wood's thermal conductivity; the thinner and denser the wood, the quicker the heat-up time and therefore, the more efficient the system. Using a Warmup Thermostat to control the underfloor heating system facilitates an optimum temperature output that never exceeds 81°F – warm enough to heat your home but not too hot that it may damage your wooden flooring.

Electric Systems for Wooden Floors

The most frequently used electric underfloor heating system installed with floating wooden flooring is our Foil Heater. However, read our Buying Guide or Request a quote for a more detailed breakdown of your floor heating options.

Foil Heater System

The Foil Heater system is an electric heating mat that offers quick installation beneath wood flooring and other floating floor types. Its foil-wrapped heating wires offer unparralled thermal conductivity into the wooden flooring, allowing rapid heat-up times and efficient and consistent heat distribution.

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Foil Heater System

Wood Floor Types

Whilst many Warmup heating systems can be used with wooden flooring finishes, it's worth noting that care should be taken with some soft-wood flooring as some soft woods may create a thermal barrier, blocking the heat rather than transferring it to the floor surface.

Engineered wood

A common alternative to solid wooden floors, engineered wood is manufactured to give the look and feel of natural wood and is perfect to use with underfloor heating.

Hardwood

Natural, solid wood is typically more expensive than an engineered option and offers different options in density and moisture content which can influence the chosen floor heating system. For solid wood nailing is normally required. For this installation, Warmup recommends the sleeper method. 

Thermal Conductivity

When installing an underfloor heating system with a wooden floor, thermal conductivity is an important factor to think about. Ensure the wood is as dense as possible for greater thermal conductivity; the thinner and denser the wood, the quicker the heat-up time.

Thermal Conductivity

Floor thickness

While there are no rules for the thickness of the wood you can use with underfloor heating, we recommend that wood thickness should be no more than 18mm as any thicker than this will hinder the efficient performance of the heating system.

Also, as wider boards will often show more "movement" than more narrow boards of the same material, we recommend that the ratio of thickness to width should be in the region of 7 to 11. A board with a thickness of 16mm and width of 160mm would give a ratio of 10, so that would be ideal.

Check with your wood flooring supplier to check for suitability of your chosen floor finish for use with underfloor heating.

Foil Heater System

Moisture Content of Wooden Floors

Wood is a natural material that absorbs humidity around it; meaning that the moisture content varies depending on the environment. If you were to lay wood flooring with high moisture content in a very dry house, the wood would dry which would cause shrinkage – opening up potential gaps. The floor could also become noisy with creaks as it pulls away from the subfloor.

Moisture Content of Wooden Floors

Humidity

Installing wood flooring in a house that was significantly more humid than the moisture content of the wood flooring finish means the flooring could expand and swell but underfloor heating does not affect humidity.

Speak with your flooring supplier to ensure that the wood flooring has the correct moisture content corresponding to the moisture content of the environment the flooring will be installed in.

Floor Temperature

A wooden floor should never be heated above 81°F and a Warmup Thermostat-controlled heating system will guarantee this.

Installation

Electric floor heaters are quick and easy to install by a qualified contractor.

When installing a system with wooden flooring, an expansion gap should be left around the edges of the room. This can easily be hidden with a skirting board and should be about 10mm wide.

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Underlay

Warmup's Insulated Underlay is always recommended for use with a floor heating system used with wooden flooring. The underlay optimises the heat output and efficiency of the heating system and prevents heat from escaping downwards and leaving the room. Underlay also acts as an effective moisture barrier for moisture expansion of the wood.

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Limits of Heat Transfer

When using the system with wood flooring, care should be taken to ensure effective performance of the system and we do not recommend installing a floor heater if the limits below are not met. This may hinder the performance of the system and result in the system not working as desired.

The figures below are for electric underfloor heating systems only. Water systems have a broader range of limits due to the variables of the specification.

Transfer of heat limits
Tog 1.5 (Unless otherwise stated)
RSI  0.15m² K/W (Unless otherwise stated)

Heated Laminate Flooring

Warmup electric systems can be used with laminate flooring. Our wide range of products ensures that you have the perfect solution for heating a laminate floor.

Underfloor Heating for Laminate Floors

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With laminate floors, the key is to ensure thermal conductivity, which is best when using a more dense laminate. The thinner the flooring material, and the higher the density, the shorter the heat-up time and the more responsive the system will be.

Electric Systems for Laminate

The most used radiant floor heating system for laminate floors is the Foil Heater. However, the best system for your project depends on the size of the room, floor height and many other factors. To help with deciding which system to choose, read our Buying Guide or contact us.

Foil Heater System

The Warmup Foil Heater is an electric underfloor heating system for laminate and other floating floor finishes. The Foil heater is made up of a fiber reinforced foil wrapped around a thin multi-strand, dual-core heating cable, that is insulated with an advanced fluoropolymer. The foil provides a continuous earth layer within the floor construction whilst diffusing the heat away from the heating cable.

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Foil Heater System
Thermal Conductivity of Laminate

Thermal Conductivity of Laminate

When choosing the laminate flooring ensure that the material is as dense as possible for good thermal conductivity. The denser the material, the better it transfers heat. Also, the thinner the flooring material and the higher the density, the shorter the heat-up time and more responsive the underfloor system will be.

Floor Thickness

Both laminate and solid wood flooring make a good floor covering to go with underfloor heating as long as the wood is not overly thick. We recommend that wood or laminate thickness should be no more than 18mm as any thicker than this will hinder the efficient performance of the system. When it comes to the board width, wider boards will often show more "movement" than more narrow boards of the same material, so we recommend that the ratio of thickness to width should be in the region of 7 to 11. A board with a thickness of 16mm and width of 160mm would give a ratio of 10, so it is ideal.

Floor Temperature

Laminate and wooden floor surface temperatures should not exceed 27°C. This top temperature restriction is secured by using a thermostat which controls the heating system. If you are thinking of using floor heating as the sole/primary source of heat, get a heat calculation done to ensure that the floor heater will meet your heating requirement for the room.

If you need help with a heat loss calculation, our expert team is available to help.

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Installation for Laminate Flooring

Installation of underfloor heating is dependent on the type of the system. Foil Heater being a popular system with underfloor heating the installation will include:

  • The type of underfloor heating
  • Underlay
  • Fitting the final floor covering

Underlay Thickness

It is good to note that everything above the heater, including underlay and final floor finish, needs to be in the limits set in the table below.

If the manufacturer of the laminate flooring states that it must be used in conjunction with an underlay, the underlay must be no more than 3mm – 6mm thick and breathable.

Limits of Heat Transfer

When using the system with laminate flooring, care should be taken to ensure effective performance of the system and we do not recommend installing a floor heater if the limits below are not met. This may hinder the performance of the system and result in the system not working as desired.

Transfer of heat limits
Tog 1.5 (Unless otherwise stated)
RSI  0.15m² K/W (Unless otherwise stated)
R-Value (US) No more than 1.42
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