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Originally posted 4th December 2016

Last updated 7th June 2022

Everything You Need To Know About Wood Floors And Underfloor Heating

Wood floors are an ever more popular flooring option for the home, helping to make...

Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

3 min read
Written by Expert

Wood floors are an ever more popular flooring option for the home, helping to make many homes look elegant and welcoming. The same can be said for underfloor heating with their unobtrusive heating systems helping to make any home into a cosy retreat. Whether or not these go together is the issue though, with many homeowners worrying about the combination of heating with a wooden flooring system.

Do wood floors and underfloor heating mix?

Never fear, as wood floors are well suited for use with underfloor heating, as long as the floor is dense enough, as this allows for more effective thermal conductivity. This is why you often find underfloor heating underneath tiled floors, as the denseness of the stone tile means the floor warms up gradually and retains the warmth for a long time.

Image of feet on wood floor

The thinner your flooring material above your underfloor heating, the more rapidly your floors will heat up, whereas particularly thick floors will impede the progress of the heat through the flooring. You should also take care with softwood flooring as these types of flooring can block the heat, rather than transferring it.

Wood floors and underfloor heating thicknesses

There is no set guideline for what thickness your flooring should be when combining it with underfloor heating, but it is generally recommended that your flooring be no thicker than 18mm, as anything thicker may stop the heating system from being effective. Before you select your flooring boards, you should make sure to check with the supplier whether or not they are suitable for use with underfloor heating.

Wood floor and underfloor heating installation

Fitting an underfloor heating system is a relatively quick and easy process, with the options being either electric or warm water-based heating systems. When fitting either of these options with a wooden floor you should leave an expansion gap as you would usually when installing a wood floor without a heating system. In this case, it's even more important as the floor will expand with the heat coming from below.

Image of underfloor heating

The best wood flooring for underfloor heating

When it comes to deciding what the best floors are to use alongside underfloor heating then choosing one that deals well with changes in temperature and environment is your best option. For this, engineered wood flooring is the optimum choice, able to adapt much more effectively to shifts in heat and moisture.

Solid wood is much more prone to gapping and shifting and so you should always check with the manufacturer if it is suitable or not for use with heating systems like these. A parquet floor is generally suitable for use with heating systems, however, as is bamboo.

Image of wooden floor selection

Will it be effective?

The flooring option that you decide to use above your heating will affect the time it takes for the floor to heat up, as well as how long it will stay warm. The most effective flooring option when considering thermal output are tiles, but wooden floors also perform very well and are able to manage temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. This can be improved with insulation boards, but it is not recommended that your wood floors exceed a temperature of 27 degrees Celsius as an absolute maximum.

Our Flooring Calculator

When you browse any type of flooring at Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, each product has a flooring calculator on the page. Simply enter the surface area in either metres or feet squared and our My Project flooring calculator will tell you how many packs you’ll need and how much it will cost you.

By simply measuring your room and entering your dimensions, we will provide you with an instant price which will show on every type of flooring you browse across our website. You can either input the total coverage or your width and length measurements, in meters or feet. You can even save your measurements room by room to make your shopping experience stress-free.

It also offers to add an extra 10% for wastage. While this may cost a little bit more, we highly recommend adding it just in case there are mishaps during the installation process. Enjoy the My Project flooring calculator below:

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Will you be trying underfloor heating under your wood floors? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Paul Hambidge, Managing Director

Paul has 32 years of flooring industry knowledge & experience from both an installation and manufacturing perspective. He started out as installer of very large commercial flooring projects for multiple retailers. As director of Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, he has been involved in all aspects of flooring and has worked with some of the largest producers of wood flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate floors.