What Underlayment is Compatible with Radiant Heat?

Are you looking for an underlayment compatible with radiant heat? Learn what materials work best and how to ensure your warranty won't be voided.

What Underlayment is Compatible with Radiant Heat?

Porcelain, ceramic and natural stone are the best floor materials for radiant heating, as they cover all four factors. Tiles tend to feel colder than other types of floors, so the need for underfloor radiant heating is greater. When installing radiant heating under the laminate, humidity must be taken into account. If moisture affects the laminate floor by changing the temperature, it can cause the boards to warp and bend. If you are going to install it on a concrete subfloor, it is recommended to place a 6 mm vapor barrier to prevent moisture from reaching the floors.

The ideal design for laminate floors is the subfloor, the 6 mm vapor barrier for concrete, the QuietWalk underfloor and the QuietWarmth radiant heat mats. Some radiant heating systems require a membrane (which does not need a subfloor) during installation, which will increase floor height. If you are looking for a subfloor that dampens sound and is also capable of generating radiant heat, QuietWalk is a recommended underlayment in the flooring industry. With a thickness of 2.5 mm, this will allow the height of the electrical heating wiring to be channeled and will not increase the height of the floor. While not all radiant floor heating projects require a subfloor, they are especially useful in projects where there is a concern that the subfloor will lose heat or when subfloor problems threaten to compromise the integrity of relatively fragile types of floors, such as tile, marble or stone.

The R value is an important consideration when looking for a subfloor and becomes even more important when looking for a subfloor compatible with radiant heat. However, you will have to create a channel for the conductive cables, either on a lower subfloor or in the basement. If you're worried that your floor's warranty will be voided with the addition of radiant heat, it's best to contact the floor manufacturer for more information. However, if you want to place radiant heating under solid wood, use sawn wood floors in rooms instead of smooth sawn wood floors. The properties that make a floor covering good or bad for radiant heating systems tend to focus on the thickness of the floor, the heat-conducting nature of the floor, its tendency to expand and contract, and whether it is prone to damage by water and heat. However, there are some situations in which it would be necessary to use a subfloor, such as heating on a cement slab (where an insulating subfloor is most likely needed).

Provided that proper precautions are taken, it's perfectly fine to install the laminate on a heated radiant floor. While there are some radiant floor heating systems that can be installed under floor beams, most electrical floor heating systems will need to be installed below the floor itself. If you already have solid wood floors and have access to floor beams, you can install QuietWarmth Retrofit Radiant heating mats between the floor beams. Shaw laminate floors need a quality underfloor between this and the subfloor for the laminate to have the expected performance.

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