Open living spaces are frequently central to new build projects and are also increasingly popular in major refurbishments; removing walls or extending existing rooms allows for spaces to blend into one another. With open plan arrangements you naturally have less wall space; this can make siting radiators a challenge, however this isn’t a problem if you opt for underfloor heating. Hydronic—also known as ‘wet’—underfloor heating is installed using loops of water-bearing pipe, which are laid and fixed in a pattern in rows across the floor. They don’t take up any wall space, and easily distribute even warmth throughout the room.
Naturally if you can’t see the heating system, you don’t have to make it match your interior design—this is a huge factor for why people choose underfloor heating. This gives you a completely free hand with décor and even allows you to change your living space around from season to season, without needing to factor in where the heating is situated.
See also: Update Your Bathroom
It used to be thought that you could only lay underfloor heating in a new build property, because it had to be laid within a new screeded floor. But while this is still very popular and effective, it is by no means the only method of installation and it is perfectly possible to choose underfloor heating for an older property and on upper floors. If you have a joisted floor, aluminium diffuser plates can be used. These are essentially sheets of aluminium with preformed grooves which carry the hydronic pipework; they are installed on the wooden floor joists, so can be used upstairs as well as at ground floor level.
An innovative new low-profile sheet material called Microboard has made retrofitting underfloor heating simpler. Manufactured with preformed grooves, Microboard is installed straight over the top of existing floors, even solid ones. As it is only 18mm deep, it barely changes the height of the floor and now allows us to install underfloor heating almost anywhere, in new or established properties alike.
To make life even easier or if you are just looking to add underfloor heating to a single area, handy underfloor heating room packs have been created. These contain all that you need to install heating in a single room—another reason to choose underfloor heating. These packs are available in 20m² and 40m² and are a cost effective way of creating a warm space in your home.
There is also an increase in the use of electric underfloor heating, especially when updating a bathroom or cloakroom in an existing property. Electric underfloor heating comes in the form of a woven mat carrying electrical wires, which emit the heat. The mat is cut carefully to shape, laid over the existing floor and fixed in place. An electrician must install the sensors and controls, before a new ceramic or laminate floor covering is laid. You can use electric underfloor heating when the rest of the heating is turned off: a bonus on an unexpected chilly morning.
Underfloor heating doesn’t have to be used in isolation; many homeowners and particularly self-builders opt for underfloor heating on the open plan ground floor and radiators upstairs, so that everyone can set their own preferred temperature in each bedroom. Towel warmers are still very popular for use in bathrooms and cloakrooms. Some 30% of the project enquiries that Myson now receive involve the use of underfloor heating in combination with other technologies such as radiators; and this is growing.
See also: The Heat Is On
If you do choose to combine underfloor heating with radiators and towel warmers, you should be careful to source all your products from a single manufacturer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as this is really the only way to ensure consistently high quality, and to be confident that they will work effectively together.
We’d like to thank Michelle Taylor—Product Manager for Myson Underfloor Heating—for her assistance with this article. As part of Europe’s leading supplier and manufacturer of heat emitters, Myson is the only place in the UK where you can get a complete range of heating solutions and services for commercial and domestic applications. Myson offer full and comprehensive support from design layouts, including underfloor and integrated radiator plans, to advanced technical advice and support from heating experts. Myson are able to offer RIBA accredited CPD training courses and their core radiator products are available on BIM Store and on the Myson website: myson.co.uk
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