Underfloor heating is becoming an increasingly popular choice; not just because it’s so lovely underfoot, but for lots of practical reasons too. It frees up wall space by replacing the need for radiators, it can be very energy efficient and it creates an even, ambient heat, removing cold spots. And, in terms of a flooring ‘partner’, stone is considered to be one of the best; it’s a great natural conductor of heat, with high thermal conductivity, as well as great heat retention.
Although underfloor heating is often associated with kitchens, hallways and bathrooms, it can potentially be used in any room in the home. It’s also particularly good in areas where heating loss can be an issue, like in a conservatory or garden room. And, there aren’t any particular rules in terms of which type of stone flooring should be used. The thickness of the tile or flagstone will have minimal impact on the efficiency of the underfloor heating, although very thick stone will take a little longer to heat up.
In terms of the actual heating system, there are two main options: a warm water or ‘wet’ system – sometimes referred to as a capillary system - and an electric system. Insulation is an important consideration in both cases; it’s worth seeking advice on the best methods of insulating under the system. Also, whilst electric systems can be laid by an experienced DIYer, professional installation is recommended for wet systems, in terms of calculating floor heights, achieving the correct temperature and the actual installation into screed.
Warm water underfloor heating
Warm water systems can be installed in renovations but there will be a fair bit of upheaval. They tend to be most popular in new builds and extensions, where there’s scope to revise floor heights in relation to doorways, etc. The systems basically take warm water from the central heating system and it’s carried around in plastic pipes under the floor. A screed is then poured over the pipes. The installation is more expensive than an electric system but running costs are lower. The system also operates at a lower temperature than a standard system, so it’s more efficient than radiators. We recommend Schluter Systems, you can find more information here.
Electric underfloor heating
With electric systems, cables or a heating element mat are installed underneath the stone flooring. The whole process is a lot cheaper and less disruptive, though running costs tend to be more. There don’t tend to be any floor height issues, so it’s a great option if you’re just updating a room or replacing a floor. We recommend Heat Mat.
So, gone are the days where stone flooring was discounted for being chilly underfoot. And, using the two ‘products’ together can actually bring lots of other benefits, in terms of cost savings and design scope, as you’ll have more wall space; not to mention comfort as winter approaches!
We’ve got a huge range of beautiful stone flooring that can be used alongside underfloor heating. To find out more about our collections, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or, contact us here.