There is obviously a huge choice of flooring materials available, depending on the look and feel you want to achieve in your home and the amount of traffic that each area experiences. High quality carpet may be an appropriate choice for high traffic areas, such as hallways, stairs or living rooms, while tiling – in stone, ceramic, etc. – is a fashionable and practical, option in areas where traffic is high and moisture resistant is required, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Vinyl or lineoleum flooring presents a resilient, easy to clean surface – that may, indeed, last up to 40 years, if properly looked after – but is economical to buy and easy to install. Real hardwood, or laminate, flooring, too, is readily available in a variety of woods, or wood effects and can add warmth – perceived and real, if installed in conjunction with underfloor heating – to a living room, or dining room, for example. Many wood products can simply be snapped together, avoiding nails, or glue, for easy installation.
Undefloor Heating Benefits & Considerations
Electric underfloor heating is becoming the most popular type, not least because it can be laid onto a wooden, or concrete subfloor without major disruption – that is, physically digging up the floor – and without raising the height by more than a few millimetres. This means that it can be installed during new build and renovation products. Furthermore, electric underfloor heating, nowadays, can be installed beneath almost any type of flooring, including wood, laminate, carpet and vinyl. Electric heating cables, or cables woven into thin heating mats, are typically available in output wattages of 100W/m2 and upwards and so can be installed beneath wooden or laminated flooring without risk of discolouration or damage to the floor surface.
Electric underfloor heating can allow the entire surface of a wooden, or laminated, floor to heat up quickly and provide a more natural temperature gradient in the room above than a traditional radiator system. Underfloor heating is also completely hidden from view, so you can do away with unsightly and intrusive, radiators, allowing you to arrange your furniture as you want to, rather than as dictated by the available wall space. The heat generated by underfloor heating systems is also drier and more hygienic, than that generated by traditional radiator systems; no convection currents, which can circulate dust, are set up and reduced moisture can prevent the growth of dust mites and other harmful organisms. Underfloor heating is also between 15% and 40% more economical to run than traditional heating systems and quiet in comparison, with no clunking or ticking of plumbing as it expands or contracts.
With regard to the installation of underfloor heating systems, many are designed such that they can be installed as a “do-it-yourself” project, or by a handyman of reasonable proficiency. Electric connections to in floor heating however, must be performed by a qualified electrician, in compliance with British Standards and Part P Building Regulations.