Getting Cold Feet? Flooring Materials That Match Well With Radiant Heating

Walking on cold floors is never fun, but it’s nearly unavoidable during the winter months or in colder climates. With the ever-increasing cost of heating your home, you may find yourself wondering if there is any way around cold floors.

Radiant flooring heating systems are water-heated pipes, or electrically powered coils are installed underneath your floors. Not only do they keep your floor warm, preventing chilly toes, but the heat from the floor radiates up into the rest of the room to keep your home warmer too. This heating type is more efficient than many other heating systems, such as baseboard or forced-air heating. Because it doesn’t rely on a duct system, it’s also ideal for many who suffer from allergies.

However, this type of heating may not be suitable for all types of flooring. Hardwood flooring can be warped by fluctuating heat. Carpets are a particularly poor choice as they don’t conduct heat well, and the heat can easily damage them.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the most common recommendations as a pair of radiant heating for various reasons. For one, ceramic tile is naturally pretty cold, so if you have it in your home, you’re going to want to warm it up somehow. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, ceramic tile is an excellent conductor. It will heat quickly when the heating system is turned on and retain heat for a while after the heating is turned off.

Ceramic Flooring

What’s more is that if you choose to go with a water-heated flooring system, you will not have to worry about rot, mold, or degradation. It’s also very durable so that it will last you a while.

Laminate Flooring

Like ceramic tiles, laminate flooring is thin, so the heat will move through it and into the rest of the room with ease. Also, because of the wood in the laminate base and the foam underlayment installed underneath it, laminate is naturally much warmer than ceramic tile. This means that you will likely need the radiant heating much less than you would with tile. In fact, you may only choose to install it in the colder rooms of the home.

Modern Laminate Flooring

However, when you pair laminate flooring with radiant heating, you must take the necessary steps to keep your floors in good condition. For example, the water-heated system isn’t necessarily recommended with this type of flooring. If moisture escapes, it can damage your laminate flooring permanently.

Also, it would help if you were sure that the heat is kept at or below the manufacturer’s recommended temperature. Otherwise, the laminate could be damaged. Usually, the recommended temperature is about 85F.

Natural Stone Tiles

Because it’s made of naturally occurring minerals, natural stone tiles are another great heat conductor. These are also safe to use and incredibly efficient. You don’t need to worry about water around these tiles, and they won’t shrink or expand due to fluctuating temperatures.

Natural Stone Flooring

Furthermore, since the tiles are made of stone and slightly thicker than other flooring options, they naturally retain the heat longer than most other materials even after the radiant system is turned off.

The only slight drawback of this material is that stone tiling takes a bit longer than most flooring types to heat up. However, as it holds onto that heat longer, this concern is relatively negligible.

Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is also an attractive option for radiant heating but is only recommended if it is engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood is often of higher quality than traditional solid wood. It’s also designed to be more stable than conventional hardwood flooring. Because of this, engineered wood is less likely to warp than hardwood flooring is.

However, despite engineered wood being the better option, you still need to know that it is not the greatest heat conductor. It’s made from organic materials, and it’s thicker than some other flooring options. This means that the wood will not heat up as quickly, nor will it disperse the heat as efficiently as the other options listed here. Additionally, the heat will likely dissipate more rapidly than it would with a mineral-based option.

Finally, both traditional and engineered wood flooring is susceptible to water damage, so you should be careful when using wood flooring with a hydronic heating system.

Hardwood Kitchen Flooring

The choice of flooring you have a radiant heating system is up to you. Remember that you need to be warier if you go with laminate or wood and always consult with a radiant heating specialist.

When it comes to pairing a flooring material with your newly installed radiant heating system, you have many options. All these flooring types can fit beautifully in your home, but some are better options than others. When you’re making your decision, consider the flooring’s energy efficiency and the risk of damage. Contact 123 Remodeling for a free consultation and our experts will help you find and install the perfect flooring for your home.


 Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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