Insulation for underfloor heating

For an underfloor heating system to work efficiently it needs an insulation layer below, to ensure all the heat goes up directly into the floor. This also allows the floor to heat up more quickly and keeps running costs down. The type of underfloor heating insulation will depend on the type of system that you choose – water or electric – the type of floor, and the thickness it can accommodate. Choosing an acoustic thermal insulation product will have the added advantage of cutting down noise.

Solid floors, whether concrete or screed, are required to have some form of insulation layer, and the type and thickness is usually defined in the Building Regulations. Insulation comes in the form of boards or sheets, usually made from a combination of carbon, polystyrene and fibreglass. Aluminium foil insulation should only be used with wet underfloor heating systems. The water pipes, or electric cables are then placed on top and encased in a layer of screed, or tile adhesive. When underfloor heating is added to a suspended or floating wooden floor, the cables or pipes usually lie above the joists or are attached to the underside of chipboard, with space for insulation below.

Some electric underfloor heating kits designed to go onto an existing tiled floor don’t need an insulation layer. These are usually mats which are covered with flexible tile adhesive before new tiles are laid on top. Always check with the supplier and manufacturer about the type of underfloor heating insulation required.

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