Exploring the Types of Underfloor Heating Systems

Underfloor heating has established itself as a reliable and beneficial technology for both residential and commercial buildings. Unlike traditional convection-based heating solutions like radiators, underfloor heating operates on the principle of radiant heat, providing consistent warmth to occupants and objects throughout the room. In this article, we will delve into the different types of underfloor heating systems, their advantages, and considerations for various construction scenarios.

Screeded Solutions:

One popular method for underfloor heating installation in new residential construction is the screeded solution. This approached involves designing the building structure to accommodate the application of screed, along with an insulation layer. By utilising techniques like precast flooring or structural joists, this system eliminates the need for pipe joints within the building fabric. However, it does require careful attention to structural requirements and may involve additional costs and project delays associated with screed drying and the risk of cracking.

Modular Composite Wooden Flooring Boards:

Another option for underfloor heating is areas with lightweight construction is the use of modular composite wooden flooring boards. These factory-manufactured chipboard or ply panels integrate underfloor piping. Installed on top of the joists, these panels are laid in back-to-back arrays, with piping extending from one end. Wile this solution offers rapid thermal response and eliminates the need for screed drying, it involves multiple pipe joints within the building fabric, which can complicate maintenance and increase labor-intensive installation. Uneven joists may require a substrate application, and insulation between the joists is necessary to prevent heat deflection and overheating in the area below. Additionally, once damages, this system cannot be easily repaired.

Piping and Aluminum Diffuser Tray:

For a different approach. A system involving piping and an aluminum diffuser tray can be considered. This configuration includes the application of battens below the top of the joist, with plywood serving as a carrier layer. Insulation is inserted between the joists, while the routed channel in the aluminum diffusion tray accommodates the underfloor heating pipe. Although this solution offers advantages such as low skill level requirements and no joints in the floor, it can be labor-intensive to ensure successful installation. Complex room designs may pose challenges in complying with regulations for notching, and the lack of mechanical fixing may lead to unwanted noises due to expansion and contraction. Furthermore, the finished floor application requires a layer of ply or OSB for stability.

EPS Panels with Aluminum Diffusion layer

A versatile and low-profile option is the use of EPS panels with an aluminum diffusion layer. These panels, available in configurations as thin as 13mm, feature factory-cut grooves to hold the heating pipe. They are bonded to a ply substrate layer, with the pipe laid into the grooves. This system allows for direct application of tile adhesives and tiles, while a floating plywood floor can be added for softer floor finishes. Benefits include no pipe joints in the floor, a low build profile, rapid installation, and excellent thermal response. However, it requires a higher skill level compared to screeded installations, and necessitates careful consideration of the project’s specific requirements.

Choosing the most suitable underfloor heating system for your project depends on various factors, including construction type, structural considerations, and desired outcomes. Each system offers unique advantages and considerations. For further guidance on selecting the right solution for your specific needs, please contact our team of experts.