On cold Wisconsin winter days, underfloor radiant heat can feel excellent—especially when coming in from the cold. For homes built with in-floor radiant heat, the heating system is installed during the building process. Other homeowners add an in-floor radiant heat pad to certain rooms, such as laundry rooms, bathrooms, and mudrooms.
Radiant Heat Floor Covering Tips
The specific kind of in-floor radiant heat system does not matter. There are quite a few kinds of flooring that can be installed over both types of radiant heat. These tips for choosing flooring for homes with in-floor radiant heat should be used:
- Always discuss your options for flooring with a knowledgeable local installer. Some flooring products are not recommended while other types may require additional underlayment or specific installing requirements.
- Know the maximum temperature your floor can take. For instance, most vinyl flooring can be installed over radiant in-floor heat ONLY if the temperature is kept below 85 degrees (contact a local flooring professional for details on the specific vinyl product). This can easily be done by setting the thermostat to a consistent temperature.
- Wood floors (except engineered hardwood) and rubber flooring is not a recommended flooring option for rooms with in-floor radiant heating. Wood floors can become damaged by the heat and moisture. Rubber flooring can emit an odor.
Flooring Options for Rooms with In-Floor Radiant Heat
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) products are durable, water-resistant, and comes in a variety of styles and colors. Both kinds of luxury vinyl can be installed as a do-it-yourself project (use these tips for a smooth luxury vinyl installation). If considering luxury vinyl, ask a flooring professional for products that can be installed, any limitations with the products, and any installation specifics that need to be utilized during the installation process.
Carpet feels soft and can be incredibly durable in high-traffic rooms. They can also be installed over in-floor radiant heat; ask a flooring professional for carpets and the pad size that has worked in other homes with in-floor radiant heat.
Laminate flooring is installed as a floating floor, making it an ideal (and easy) install in homes with in-floor radiant heat. Though hardwood is not recommended for installations over radiant heat, laminate gives homeowners the look of wood, as well as the durability. Laminate is also easy-to-clean and ideal for high-traffic rooms with frequent foot and paw traffic.
Tile is one of the most popular floors to install over in floor radiant heating. It’s easy to see why: without radiant floor heating, tile can be cold to the feet. With in-floor radiant heat, tiles conduct the heat from a radiant floor heating system and look great.
These floors are wood floors, giving homeowners the beauty of wood and durability busy families appreciate. The key difference in the structure of these floors is what makes engineered wood an option for homes with radiant heat. Engineered wood floors are manufactured with many layers; the top layer is wood. Depending on the width of the top layer, some engineered hardwood floors can be sanded down and refinished. Talk to a flooring professional to see engineered hardwood products that can be installed over radiant heat.