Floor Heating: Types, Benefits and Drawbacks

Curious about floor heating? Underfloor heating comes with many benefits for your home. From warming flooring to keeping your toes warm after showering or acting as the chief home heating source, there are a range of ways to enjoy this affordable luxury. You may even want to replace your exisiting heating solution with heated flooring, as this type of heating can provide even warmth to an entire room.

While the overall purpose is the same, there are several varieties of floor heating systems to choose from for your home installation. Some offer cleaner, smart solutions for sustainability purposes, while others can be expensive to run. Either way, they bring additional comfort to any home, adding value, style and serious cosiness. You can forget those chilly floors when you brave the bathroom in the winter months.

So, before taking the plunge and purchasing an underfloor heating system, there’s a lot to think about, like how cost-effective it is, the running costs, the heating options and the installation process.

Here, we talk you through everything you need to know about floor heating, from the various types to the advantages and drawbacks of different heating systems, to guide you in finding the best solution for your home floors. Here we go!

What Is Floor Heating?

Floor heating is an underfloor heating system that supports internal climate control in your home. Essentially, it serves as a form of central heating. Many homeowners have underfloor heating installed to keep the floor space of certain rooms, primarily bathrooms and wet areas, warm and comfortable for use. It’s an excellent method to target colder rooms, especially in the wintertime.

Underfloor heating can go underneath almost any type of floor coverings, from concrete to timber floors. Still, it works best beneath tiles and ceramic flooring for the most effective heat transportation.

There are two primary types of underfloor heating systems: electric underfloor heating and hydronic underfloor heating (a water-based system). The two terms are often referred to as dry and wet systems.

While similar in terms of use, they each have advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll get into next.

Types of Floor Heating

As we’ve briefly discussed, floor heating falls into two categories: electric and water. Let’s explore both.

Electric Underfloor Heating

Also known as dry underfloor heating, an electric underfloor heating system uses your home’s electricity supply. This type generally works with wires secured to a mesh mat.

Electric underfloor heating warms floors quicker than hydronic systems that rely on water. While electric heating can work well in various spaces, it’s perfect for rooms like the bathroom where you’d like to reach your desired temperature quickly.

It makes for easy installation without disrupting your existing floor too much or raising the floor height excessively. It’s quick, and the initial installation doesn’t cost a fortune.

But while electric underfloor heating systems are easier and cheaper to install, they can be pricier to run than hydronic heating systems depending on the size of the room and the insulation in the room.

Hydronic Underfloor Heating

A hydronic heating solution runs through your central heating system. It’s powered through your boiler or another dedicated water heater. This type consists of installing several pipes that sit under the floor’s surface. To install this kind of underfloor heating, the pipes are placed within a sand and cement screed layer.

Water runs and circulates through the pipes when you turn it on, heating the floor. Generally, you can adjust the temperature with individual thermostat control.

Hydronic floor heating is more expensive to install when speaking of the upfront costs, but it is more cost-effective in the long term as it is cheaper to run, although on-going maintenance costs also need to be factored in..

Benefits of Floor Heating Systems

Still unsure about heating solutions for your floor plan? Let’s look at the range of advantages that come with underfloor heating systems.

Energy Efficient

Both electric and water-based systems heat a room from the floor up. This makes the temperature more consistent and effective in warming the entire space.

Underfloor heating systems can replace other systems that run at a much higher temperature to warm a room successfully. Floor heating achieves warmth quickly while operating at a lower temperature. For this reason, it uses less energy, keeping energy bills down.

Low Maintenance

Once you install underfloor heating, that’s pretty much it! One of the top benefits of underfloor heating systems is that they are effortless to run. They require little to no maintenance (although there are maintenance considerations with hydronic floor heating). You can generally make any adjustments with a click of the thermostat control.

Space-Saving

Most people who switch to underfloor heating for a new bathroom or any room for that matter enjoy the new space without obvious heating sources. You don’t need both, as underfloor heating is enough to heat the room effectively. You can now move furniture around and use the wall space that other heaters would otherwise take.

Balances Heat

Radiant heating such as under floor heating heats the air from the ground up so there are no cold spots with underfloor heating as the whole floor is covered. This provides a highly comfortable home environment.

Drawbacks of Floor Heating Systems

The disadvantages are few, but it’s essential to get the whole low-down before buying. Here are some of the drawbacks to consider.

Installation Costs

The cost to install underfloor heating is affordable compared to other heating systems. Electrical underfloor heating can be fitted quickly and relatively cheaply, but remember to consider labour costs, including electrical contractors to connect everything to the power system.

For hydronic floor heating, fitting times are longer as it requires a more complicated process. Installation costs can be high, but remember, the running costs are reduced long term.

Raised Floor Height

Most underfloor heating systems slightly increase the original height of your floor. Electric heating tends to be less disruptive to floor height than hydronic heating. But generally, you can expect a small difference.

Often, insulation is recommended, contributing to raising the floor height. However, insulation boards come in different sizes depending on the floor heating requested, so it’s something to bear in mind before you purchase.

Summary

Choosing heating solutions is an important and exciting endeavour whether you’re designing a new-build or renovating your old bathroom. Underfloor heating systems are the dream solution for many for fast and efficient heating in your property. Whether you opt to install electric or hydronic, both offer superior warmth that spreads evenly throughout the space. With a thermostat, you can control the temperature to meet your needs at the time.

Now that you know the pros and cons, you can start your underfloor heating area plans. The best heated flooring systems offer easy installation, reduced energy consumption and cost-effective home heating. And with low wattage and thermostat control, the result is extremely economical operating costs. Look for a free quote service, and say goodbye to cold floors!

FAQs

Is floor heating worth it?

Underfloor heating is worth considering if you’re looking to cut the cost of home heating bills. While the installation period can be expensive, the money and energy saved in the future combined with the new level of comfort makes floor heating a good investment.

What are the main types of underfloor heating?

Electric underfloor heating and hydronic underfloor heating are the two main types of floor heating. They are often referred to as dry and wet systems, as electric systems run from the power supply, while hydronic systems use water.

What are the disadvantages of underfloor heating?

While the advantages of underfloor heating outweigh the disadvantages, it’s essential to cover everything before you buy. The disadvantages include installation costs, installation time for hydronic systems, and issues with floor height.