Underfloor Heating is a brilliantly versatile heating system that can be used in any room of your home. As a result, clients often want to know what is the best Underfloor Heating system for their application.
There are several ways we can look at this question, but as we don’t have enough eyes to look in every direction at once, in this blog we are going to focus on the best underfloor heating system for the different areas of the home and the different floor finishes. Included below is a list of the different rooms that we will cover in this article so if you wish, you can click straight to the room that you are interested in.
Ok so back to the list of room
- Living room
- Kitchen & laundry
- Bedrooms & offices
- Outdoor areas
- Entire home
- Tiles and stone floors
- Timber floors
- Vinyl floors
- Carpet floors
- Polished concrete
Ok, now that’s the list that we are going to address to help you find the best Underfloor Heating system for each room and floor finish, so let’s begin.
The bathroom is undoubtedly the most common room for Underfloor Heating. Why? Because tiles are one of the coldest floor finishes.
In any Underfloor Heating installation, you need at least 80% floor coverage with heating to make Underfloor Heating the primary heat source. In a bathroom, you quickly begin to lose that coverage
when you take out the areas where the heating won’t be installed such as the toilet, bath etc. As a result, to get the best heating performance you want to be aiming for 200W/m² of floor heating.
The blog explaining Under Tile & Inscreed Heating is worth checking out to ensure that you install the heating correctly in your floor build up and you may find the mats vs loose wire blog very helpful as well in selecting which system you need.
Based on aiming for the 200W/m², the best Underfloor Heating system for a bathroom would be one of the following:
- Thermonet 200W Mat – This is suitable for either above or below the screed installations and provides a fast install with consistent cable spacing across the room.
- Thermowire Undertile Loose Wire – This is the best option for an under tile loose wire system, still aim for your wattage to be at 200W/m².
- Thermoscreed Inscreed Loose Wire – This is the best below screed loose wire floor heating system and again aim for 200W/m2.
Underfloor Heating is the best way to heat any space, as the heating is even and consistent throughout the room so what better area to have this in than your living area.
So what is the best Underfloor Heating for your living room? On this one we are going to have to reference the different systems to fully answer this question, however, unlike the bathrooms, we are not aiming for such a high wattage. The best option is to aim for 150W/m² for these areas as you have a larger heat area and typically don’t require such an instant heat source as a bathroom.
You may also want to consider zoning your living areas with different thermostats so that you can control the different areas such as living, lounge, dining etc.
If you are after tiles then check the best system for tiles below, likewise with timber, carpet, vinyl or lastly a polished concrete floor finish.
Keeping the wattage at 150W/m² rather than 200W/m² will help to reduce your electricity draw and running costs, and you will have the best possible system for your living area.
Kitchen & Laundry
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home, so what’s the best electric underfloor heating system for your kitchen and laundry?
Similar to living rooms, we are going to need to look at the different floor finishes again and we are also typically aiming for a wattage of 150W/m2. We have put the kitchen and laundry together as we see a lot of homes with the laundry coming off the kitchen and a lot of people run it on the same zone. This isn’t always the case, and possibly you may want to consider a 200W/m² system as the best system for the laundry where you have a door directly to the outside, as you may lose more heat in this room.
If your kitchen and laundry include one of the following floor finishes, then check the below to find the best Underfloor Heating system for your home – tiles, timber, vinyl or a polished concrete floor finish.
Bedrooms & Study
Your bedroom is generally a great place to get away to for a bit of peace and quiet, the study maybe not so much peace & quiet but hopefully quite enough to get your work done. So what is the best Underfloor Heating system for your bedroom or study?
Typically bedrooms are carpet, not always but mostly, so in this case, with a loose lay carpet, we will use the Thermofoil system. Thermofoil is the best Underfloor Heating for the bedroom with carpet as it is installed between the underlay and carpet, thereby efficiently heating the room whilst minimising downward heat loss. Check out the carpet section below for more information.
Your study could have several different floor finishes so to work out the best Underfloor Heating system for your study check out the different floor finishes below. Again you are ideally aiming for 150w/m2 for your study heating. Just one point on if you have carpet in your study and a wheelie office chair, Thermofoil will not be a suitable system to use. The pressure from the wheels running over the cable will cause potential cable damage in the future.
This is one that you may not have considered but you would be surprised at how common Underfloor Heating is becoming in outdoor areas. Ok then so what’s the best Underfloor Heating system for an outdoor area?
There are two common options here:
Alternatively, you may be having the exposed concrete slab as the floor finish. In this case the best floor heating option for your outdoor area is to use the Inslab system. This will take longer to heat up however it will heat the entire slab in time and provide a good heat bank.
These are the two best Underfloor Heating systems for your outdoor area. If you are wondering why heat an outdoor area, well consider that it’s very common to entertain in your outdoor area on a winters evening and generally you are sitting a lot of the time, and therefore need to keep warm, and what better way than with heat gently rising from the floor. Also, if your outdoor area is partly closed in or has pull down blinds you will be able to reduce the amount of heat loss and enjoy the comfort and warmth of Underfloor Heating with your friends & family.
Well then is there a best Underfloor Heating system if I want to heat my entire home? There are two answers to this, firstly you could go through and use the best system for each area based on the recommendations above and the different floor finishes.
Or, you could use an Inslab system throughout the home regardless of the different floor finishes. An Inslab system is designed to heat your entire concrete slab, and while this does take longer to heat up, it builds a heat bank which makes it an effective heating system. You can find out more about our Thermoslab system and how it may be the best Underfloor Heating option for your entire home here.
Well, that’s an overview on the different rooms in the home and the best heating system to use. In a number, we have advised that it does depend on what the floor finish is in theroom so let’s now explore the best Underfloor Heating system for the different floor finishes.
Tiles and Stone floors
Tiles and stone floors are the most common floor finish for Underfloor Heating as they are such a cold floor finish. So what is the best Underfloor Heating for use with your tiles or stone?
For tiles elsewhere in the home, we would recommend using 150W/m² and Thermonet 150W mats or Thermowire Loose Wire would be the best systems, unless it’s outdoors then we would recommend 200W/m2 as metioned above.
For stone, we have two options. Firstly if it’s a standard 10-12mm thick stone then 150W/m2 will be fine, as long as it’s not in the bathroom. Anything thicker than that we would recommend using the 200W/m² to provide more heat to get through the thicker floor finish. This is not mandatory, a 150W system will still heat it up but we are talking about the best Underfloor Heating option for your stone, right.
There are two different installation methods for your timber floor and this affects which is the best Underfloor Heating system to use.
For floating timber floors, the best Underfloor Heating system is our Thermofoil system. Thermofoil is like an electric foil blanket that you install onto an underlay, cover with an overlay and then lay your floating timber floor on top of that. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to get any wet trade involved in the floor build-up.
The other option is when you have a glued timber floor. In this application, the best Underfloor Heating system would be a 150W/m² system, if this is a larger room then a mat system might be best, and then the system must be covered with a 10mm of self-levelling before gluing down your timber floor.
Always check with the flooring manufacturer that the timber is suitable to be installed over Underfloor Heating.
The best Underfloor Heating system for Vinyl floors is essentially the same as timber floors. It will depend on if your vinyl is glued down or a floating vinyl plank. If it’s a glued vinyl, then you will need to use the 150W/m² system and cover it with a self levelling compound. If it’s a floating vinyl plank you could use the Thermofoil system.
Always check with the flooring manufacturer that the vinyl is suitable to be installed over Underfloor Heating.
A lot of people don’t realise that you can bring the luxury and comfort of Underfloor Heating to carpet floors. The best Underfloor Heating system for carpet is the Thermofoil system. The Thermofoil system is installed directly on top of your carpet underlay and then covered with an overlay before the carpet is installed over the top.
This is the best way to heat carpet as the heating is directly below the carpet and the underlay acts as an insulator to prevent downward heat loss. The overlay provides protection for the system by eliminating any abrasion against the carpet.
The final floor finish that we would like to discuss in our search for the best Underfloor Heating system is polished concrete. There are two main ways that a polished concrete floor is achieved which may affect the system used.
Firstly in an application where the main slab is bing polished to create the finished floor finishthe best system to use is the Thermoslab which is installed in the slab before the slab is poured. An in slab system will take around 1-2 days to heat up, so it’s a much slower heat-up time than our systems directly below the substrate but the slab will hold the heat for longer.
The other method for polished concrete is to pour a second slab on top of the original slab which is then polished to create the polished floor finish. In this case the best system will depend on the thickness of the second slab. It if is 50mm or less then the Thermoscreed system is the best option with a desired output of 200Wm². If the slab is thicker than 50mm we would recommend that you use the Thermoslab system to stick onto your first slab to ensure that you have sufficient heat to heat up the thickness of the slab.
Polished concrete is becoming a more common floor finish and it would typically be a very cold floor so you certainly want to use the best system to ensure that your floor not only looks amazing but feels amazing when you walk across the room.
Well, that wraps up our answer to the question of what is the best Underfloor Heating system. We have looked at it both from the room and the floor finish point of view, aiming to cover the most common floors and rooms that we get requests for.
If you have a special request though that we haven’t covered we would still like to hear it, Why? We are heating experts so the chances are we will still have a recommendation and solution on what is best for your application, secondly, we can add it to this blog so that other people who have the same situation as you, know what the best Underfloor Heating system is for them.
Find the perfect Underfloor Heating for your home
Question not answered yet? We are here to help