Wood Floors and Radiant Heat

Underfloor heating, known as radiant heating, is a type of heating system (as the name implies) that is installed under flooring, eliminating the need for unsightly radiators or warm air ducting that must be cut into ceilings, walls, and floors. Radiant heating may be either hydronic (water/fluid flowing through pipes) or electric (electric resistance heating elements).

The comfort level of the floor surface is the key to determining what temperature is necessary to achieve proper comfort. Building occupants – especially homeowners who might be more inclined to walk around without shoes — may feel uncomfortable with floor surfaces that are too warm or too cool.

To provide adequate comfort, many factors must be taken into account, including the size of the room, the construction of the home, R-value of the windows, HVAC systems, the number and age of the occupants, and the interior finishes that may be directly affected by these requirements.

Most wood flooring can be installed over radiant heat, provided that all of the necessary conditions are met. That means the heating system designer and installer and the homeowner must understand what’s required for the entire flooring system and fully communicate any concerns, preferences for the type of wood flooring, and the installation method to be used. This will help ensure that all parties involved understand how radiant heat may impact the wood flooring, as well as what precautions to take before, during, and after installation. The homeowner, or other occupants if it’s a commercial building or rental property, should also have a clear understanding of the flooring product use and maintenance requirements, as well as the radiant heating system features, limitations, and capabilities, and how all of these work together to ensure optimum performance and efficiency.

All wood absorbs and exudes moisture, shrinking or swelling in different directions depending on whether it’s taking in or giving off that moisture. It’s important to select a type of wood that is as stable as possible so that it will work well with a radiant heating system. The good news is there are a number of attractive, durable woods that will work in a variety of décors and buildings.

If you’re considering radiant heat in your home or business, talk with the wood flooring experts here at Bingham Lumber – we’d be happy to recommend the right wood at the right price to ensure you get the best results possible.