Most often, when people think of heated floors, tiles unanimously come to mind. This is because they are the most common and affordable option to heat. They are also very easy to maintain. However, tiles are not the only flooring types that radiant heating systems can be installed in.
Electric underfloor heating systems can be installed under stone floors, granite, marble, laminate flooring, you name it.
Laminate flooring is getting increasingly popular due to its affordability and luxurious appearance. So if you’re considering installing laminate floors in your home, here’s all you need to know about installing a floor heating system underneath it.
First and foremost, if you’re in doubt about whether you can put laminate flooring over a radiant heat system, the answer is yes.
There are radiant heating systems designed to provide maximum heat while being gentle with laminate floors. However, I’ll advise that you check this with your laminate floor manufacturer.
The key to helping prevent your laminate floors from overheating is to install an automated thermostat. They usually come with a laminate flooring setting and help prevent heat from accumulating to temperatures your laminate flooring cannot withstand.
Installing Electric Floor Heating with Laminate Flooring
When contractors are hired to install electric floor heating underneath your laminate flooring, here’s how they do it. They’ll often use a number of heating mats, an underlay, some duct tape, a thermostat, and a utility knife.
First, they have to sweep the floor clean to ensure that it’s free from nails and any other construction debris. Then, the heating element has to be tested using the digital ohmmeter. They simply measure the resistance across the core to the core wire of the heating element and take note of its value. This value is compared to the value written on the UL label. Their recorded value has to fall within a 15 per cent margin below or above the UL value.
Afterwards, they test for continuity and this value should be infinity or O/L. Now, it’s time to install the underlayment. These are usually available in square or rectangular sheets that can be arranged in such a manner that their seams do not overlap. Using the duct tape, they are taped to each other so that they float above the ground as laminate floorings should.
Now, it is time to install the underfloor heating mats.
This is done by unrolling them and positioning them above the underlayment. Confirm that the lead wires are positioned in places that they can reach the thermostat. After this confirmation, the mats need to be firmly attached to the underlayment using duct tape.
A path is then cut out through the underlayment that both the floor sensor and the cold lead will pass through. For the cold lead, a path of 0.5 inches will do while for the sensor, it should be placed 5 inches to 6 inches into the mat. The sensor should not overlap the wires.
A second Ohm test is conducted just as was described earlier. Now, it’s time for the laminate flooring to be installed. Installation is usually done by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
After the installation, a third Ohms test is conducted and the results are recorded on the Warranty Registration Card. Since all is good, a licensed electrician will be required to connect the heating mats to a thermostat following its instruction manual. That’s the process of installing electric floor heating with laminate flooring.
Looking After Laminate Flooring with Electric Heating
A lot of people tend to have concerns regarding using laminate floorings, especially for their bathrooms. Simply because they feel that water spills will immediately seep through them. However, there is no cause for alarm, technology advancements have made them waterproof.
It could take over 24 hours for spills to seep through their openings. This makes them highly durable. However, here are some tips on how to care for your laminate flooring with electric floor heating installed.
Clean it regularly
To be honest, laminate floorings do not require much cleaning. A light cleaning bi-weekly or even weekly will do. Simply use a good cordless vacuum cleaner that comes with a soft brush.
Regular brooms with hard bristles can ruin the laminate finish.
Also, a cleaning solution made using some baking soda and water is great for mopping. Finally, choose mops with antimicrobial protection to keep the laminate flooring bacteria and mould-free.
Clean spills immediately
This is simply the best way to tackle stains. Wipe them up as soon as they happen using a paper towel or dry cloth.
Use hot water or vinegar
Hot water is a suitable option for cleaning laminate flooring as it does not leave any water streaks once it dries. Also, if you don’t have a special laminate floor cleaner, a solution of warm or hot water and vinegar can be used to clean your flooring.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the best rooms to have heated laminate floors in?
Heated laminate floors are usually installed in bedrooms and kitchens but these days they are getting increasingly popular in bathrooms. Typically you can have it installed in any place you can install hardwood floors.
Also, significant improvements in technology have made laminate flooring less water sensitive. It could take over twenty hours for spills to seep through the space between the planks. Now that laminate floors have become waterproof and durable, they can be used almost everywhere.
How much does it cost to heat laminate floors?
This is dependent on how much your tariff is per location as well as the number of hours you leave the heating running for.
If you use heated laminate flooring for 35 square feet of your home and you leave it running for 8 hours daily. If it costs 2 pence per kilowatt-hour at your location, a day will be £0.15 and a year will cost you £70.60.
Which is better, foil or fibreboard underlays?
Both foil and fibreboard underlays perform the same function. They are both recommended to be placed over concrete slabs when installing floor heating systems to create a form of thermal break and increase energy efficiency.
None is better than the other, it simply depends on the function. Foil underlays are lighter than fibreboard underlays. Also, some foil underlay manufacturers, design theirs specifically for stone and tile floorings.
In terms of sound dampening effects, both provide this feature, fibreboard underlays do this better than foil underlays. In terms of moisture resistance, fibreboard has a higher R-value and moisture resistance.
Can the electric floor heating melt into my toilet connection’s wax ring?
No, so long as the floor heating is installed at least 4 inches away from the heating rings, no overheating occurs. Thus, no melting can occur.
Is flooring underlay an absolute must?
No, it isn’t. However, for floor heating installations over a concrete slab, an underlay is absolutely necessary.
In summary, heating installations can be done for laminate flooring but you should check in with your manufacturer. It is an affordable home upgrade in terms of its electrical costs and they are easy to maintain.