Can You Install Radiant Heat Under Wood Floors?

Imagine walking over heated wood floors on a cold winter night? Radiant heat is becoming more and more popular in residential heating. Most people are not aware of how radiant heat works. In fact, many people do not know that radiant heat can be installed under wood floors. If you would like to consider radiant heat for your home, there are a few issues to consider before making your final decision.

What is Radiant Heat?

Radiant heat is a system using electric coils or tubes of hot water underneath the flooring. Traditionally it has been used for tile floors but now it is also used with wood flooring. Heating floors is becoming increasingly popular due to the ease of warming up your entire home. One of the first objections raised by skeptics is that it will increase your electric bill. In reality, radiant heaters are very cost effective and those that have them installed noticed a slight decrease in their electric bills.

Do Radiant Heaters Really Warm Up A Floor?

Yes! This isn’t a fad or a limited-time promotion. Radiant heaters really do work and can warm your floor up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit! Some manufactures would recommend that you maintain a consistent temperature, ideally between 78 and 80 degrees. The type of wood flooring that you install over the radiant heat mechanism will ultimately determine your temperature guidelines.

Limitations

There are some limitations on the type of wood flooring that can be used with radiant heat. If you are considering radiant heat in your home, consult with experts to advise you which species are best suited for this application. Be sure to discuss how the thickness of the flooring will affect heating; how the natural shrinkage and swelling will affect your floors, and which types of wood are most stable when heated. This factor varies with wood species as well as the flooring manufacture.

Installing Wood Floors

If you choose to have radiant heat installed beneath your wood floors, the next step is planning the installation. Floating floors work best. It is recommended that you do not glue or nail down your wood floors. This would be affected by the heat in the near future and cause conflict in case of any repairs. Instead, aim for interlocking, floating floors. This will allow you to easily replace any floors in case of a damage.

Remember to always check with the manufacturer to ensure that the wood floor you are considering is compatible with radiant heat. Not all radiant heating systems will work with wood flooring. There are several radiant heating manufacturers so make sure you equip yourself with as much information as possible. While most radiant heating systems can be installed by the homeowner there are various technicalities to consider or you may opt to have it professionally installed.