Can I install luxury vinyl over radiant heat?

luxury vinyl floor in kitchen with radiant heating

Luxury vinyl flooring and radiant heating are two of homeowners’ favorite products. They can also be installed together for an INCREDIBLY comfortable floor underfoot.

It’s easy to see why luxury vinyl flooring and radiant heating are so popular. Luxury vinyl floors are durable and stunning. Many floors resemble wood and tile so closely that it’s hard to tell the difference.

There are three types of luxury vinyl: luxury vinyl tile, luxury vinyl plank, and sheet vinyl. All three are water-resistant and can be installed in any room in a Wisconsin home, even moisture-prone rooms like mudrooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Luxury vinyl is a top candidate for basements, where moisture can seep through the slab.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is also a great flooring for do-it-yourselfers because it comes in products that can be easily installed. Sheet vinyl is soft underfoot and a good option for basements that are prone to moisture.

Radiant underfloor heating is a wonderful addition to luxury vinyl flooring. It can be installed in a single room with an electric mat or with a hydronic heating system with a boiler. Radiant floor heating makes the floor feel warm underfoot, which is why it’s incredibly popular in bathrooms and basements.

Luxury Vinyl Floors and Radiant Heating Tips

  • Always make sure the subfloor is level before installing luxury vinyl flooring to avoid damage over the life of the floor. Use underlayments recommended by the manufacturer to avoid voiding the manufacturer warranty. (Read more DIY flooring tips here before installing flooring.)
  • If installing radiant floor heating with a wood floor, read the manufacturer guide to see if the radiant floor heating system should be on before the flooring is installed. Many flooring manufacturers recommend that the flooring should be operating for weeks (typically 4 weeks) at 60-70 degrees before installation. This ensures that the subfloor is dried out. The subfloor may also need to be checked to see if the moisture level is low and the PH is suitable prior to installation. Follow manufacturer directions for prepping and installing wood flooring closely to ensure that the warranty is not voided.
  • Most radiant heating flooring comes with a thermostat that can be adjusted. The main advantage of a thermostat is that it can be set to warm up during peak use times and cool down when not in use. These settings can result in lower energy costs and keep floors in peak condition.
  • When setting the thermostat, always check the luxury vinyl flooring manual to see the maximum temperature the radiant heating floor can withstand. Never set the thermostat to go above that maximum temperature.
  • Be careful when installing hardwood floors over radiant heating. Some types of wood floors are unstable and can be prone to damage after installation. When shopping, tell flooring pros that the floor is going to be installed over radiant floor heating so they can recommend the right floors for the project.

Floors that Can Be Installed Over Underfloor Radiant Heating

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are natural conductors of heat so they are a top candidate for rooms with underfloor heating. They are also incredibly durable and can withstand foot and paw traffic. Tile comes in a variety of colors and styles, and can be installed with light or dark grout. Dark grout is a top choice for busy homes who want to hide stains.

Laminate. These floors look like wood and tile, and are a great choice for rooms with underfloor heating. Laminate floors are durable enough for rooms with heavy traffic, though they are prone to damage from standing water. (There are some water-resistant laminate floors that lessen the risk of water damage. Ask a flooring pro to see water-resistant laminate products.)

Carpet. This plush and soft flooring can be the perfect complement to underfloor heating. As with wood flooring, carpet manufacturer specifications should be followed for long-term comfort and to avoid voiding the manufacturer warranty.

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