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Underfloor Heating with Bamboo Flooring
Underfloor heating is becoming an increasingly popular method of heating rooms in a domestic property for both energy saving and comfort reasons. Underfloor heating can offer a great alternative to radiators in bathrooms, kitchens or an entire house. In the colder winter months it is especially beneficial as the thermostat can be set to a certain temperature prior to going to bed so you can enjoy a warmer floor space in the morning. Because bamboo flooring is a natural product it retains heat much better than something that is man-made like laminate flooring. This prolonged heat transfer means that not only do you benefit from a floor that stays warmer for longer but it also costs slightly less to run.
Generally underfloor heating systems are linked to being used with tile or stone floors but all of our Uniclic engineered and solid bamboo floors are fully compatible too. When laying either our engineered or solid Uniclic bamboo flooring over an underfloor heating system, either a special underfloor heating underlay (with a low tog rating) can be used or you can adhere the boards directly to the concrete subfloor using a flexible flooring adhesive. Nails or screws should not be used to install the bamboo flooring in case they puncture the underfloor heating pipes.
Our engineered and solid Uniclic bamboo flooring products are very stable and can be used with both types of underfloor heating system, providing the temperature levels are kept within the flooring manufacturers guidelines.
Different types of Underfloor Heating Systems
There are two main types of underfloor heating: water underfloor heating and electric underfloor heating. The names of the systems suggest how they work, powered either by warm water running through pipes, or electrical heating cables laid underneath the floor. The basic principle of generating heat from the underfloor heating system remains the same regardless of which type of system is being used. As the warmth radiates from the floor, the heat is spread evenly across the room and naturally rises, compared to radiators where a lot of energy is wasted as the heat is emitted into the surrounding area surrounding first.
Water Underfloor Heating
When installing a water underfloor heating system you must ensure that your boiler is compatible. Once this has been approved then a series of pipes are connected to your boiler, these then circulate warm water throughout the floor space, in turn heating it up. Alternatively, you can use a solar water heating system but again you will need to check whether your particular heating system is compatible.
Efficiency is one of the many reasons why people decide to use water underfloor heating systems. They can be more expensive to purchase and install but are far more financially efficient in the longer term compared to electric underfloor heating systems. This is because the water underfloor heating system creates a large radiating heat surface, which to be effective, only needs to be a few degrees warmer than the air temperature in the room. This means that the temperature of the water in the heating system can be significantly lower than if conventional radiators were used. Based on tests carried out through the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) in 2009, water underfloor heating systems usually improve a condensing boiler’s efficiency by 3%, compared to radiators.
How it works
When installing a water underfloor heating system you will need to ensure that there is enough space underneath the floor to fit the pipe work. This will most likely mean you will have to elevate the floor level, making it complicated and expensive to install retrospectively into existing rooms. Therefore water-fed underfloor heating systems are usually thought to be best suited to new builds or floor constructions where the floor can be designed specifically to hold the pipework. All water underfloor heating systems should be installed by a professional who will help to advise on the best type of system for the size and shape of your room. They should also carry out tests on the boiler to check that it can support the desired system.
Although a water underfloor heating system is initially expensive to install, it is more efficient than depending on radiators to expel the heat. Also, as a fully qualified heating engineer or underfloor heating specialist should always be used to install a water system, the cost can run into the thousands if you are installing into numerous rooms. According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), water underfloor heating costs less to run and is more efficient than using radiators (though the savings figure will always depend on how energy efficient your home is). That said, the savings are very minimal; an average sized three-bedroom semi-detached house could expect to save around £20 a year on energy bills, when compared to a home that uses a new condensing boiler with radiators.
Electric Underfloor Heating
An electrical underfloor heating system is a series of electrical wires, installed underneath the floor to provide an even distribution of heat. Different electrical systems are available, including: heating mats, electrical cable system and loose fit wiring. The choice will ultimately depend on the size and shape of the room.
How it works
An electrical underfloor heating system, which consists of a series of sheets, mats or cables, is installed beneath the floor. Electrical underfloor heating systems are usually quite flat and easier to install into an existing room, meaning that there is less need to alter the height of the floor. For this reason, they are becoming more popular when fitting underfloor heating retrospectively, as they cause less disruption than water systems. A small area of electric underfloor heating can be installed competently by an experienced DIYer, as they require fewer components and are simpler to install than water-fed systems. However, if a large area or a whole property is to be installed then it is advised that a fully qualified heating engineer or underfloor heating specialist is used.
Electric underfloor heating is generally cheaper to purchase and install than a water underfloor heating system, but it can have significantly higher running costs. As it is straight forward to install, it can be done by a competent DIYer, which reduces the costs, however, a qualified electrician should be used to ensure the wires are connected properly to your electric mains supply. As electric systems are seen as more expensive to run, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) does not recommend them for large areas or for long term use.
Pros and Cons of Underfloor Heating
Pros of underfloor heating
- Offers a modern feel to a property
- A comfortable environment with warm floors during cold, winter months
- Distributes the heat more efficiently
- No need for radiators if the underfloor heating system is large enough
- Water underfloor heating is a more efficient way of heating a room (compared to radiators)
- Various different underfloor heating systems available to suit needs
- Very little maintenance is required once installed
- Can be installed in a new build, renovation or under a floor retrospectively
- Can be seen as a good selling point for properties
Cons of underfloor heating
- Can have a slower heating time compared to other heating methods
- Not all systems are sufficient to heat a whole room (so may still need radiators)
- Can be expensive to purchase and install
- Electric underfloor heating can be expensive to run