Home Design Choosing the Right Flooring for Underfloor Heating: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the Right Flooring for Underfloor Heating: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Insulate the Floor – Choose the Best Material

Have you decided to swap out your old radiator for a bespoke underfloor heating system? Well, you’ve certainly made an excellent choice. However, before you start the installation process, there are many things you need to consider. For example, what type of underfloor heating system are you going to install? And what type of flooring is going to go with it?

It can seem a bit daunting to try and figure it all out at once, but we’re here to help you make a start with the flooring. The type of flooring you choose can make or break how well your underfloor heating system works, so we will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a type of central heating system that warms up a room or your entire home. It works differently from radiators as it provides heat from below and covers the whole surface area of the floors, ensuring no spot in the room is missing out on the warmth.

You can choose from two different types of underfloor heating systems:

Water underfloor heating

Water (or hydronic) underfloor heating systems involve the circulation of warm water through a connection of pipes that are strategically installed below your floors. A layer of cement screed usually covers them. As warm water flows through the pipes, it warms up your floors and eventually the whole room above.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating works in a similar way to the water system, except instead of a series of pipes, it uses cables or heating mats installed underneath the floor’s surface. It doesn’t require a layer of screed, and the moment it is turned on at the thermostat, an electric current will flow through, warming up your floors and the room.

What to consider when choosing flooring

Before you even start looking at the types of flooring you want installed above your underfloor heating system, there are three main factors you need to consider:

Heat conductivity

Since the whole point of an underfloor heating system is to warm up your home, you need to choose flooring that has good heat conductivity. This ensures the flooring can efficiently transfer the heat from the system to the room and help you feel comfortable. On top of this, flooring with good heat conductivity can provide your home with better energy efficiency too.

Material compatibility

The type of underfloor heating system you choose, whether it’s water or electric, will play a big part in the type of flooring you have installed on top. This is because electric underfloor heating is compatible with most materials, as long as they aren’t too thick, whereas wet underfloor heating benefits from materials that have better heat conductivity.

Thickness and insulation

How thick your flooring is will strongly affect the insulation of your underfloor heating system. Regardless of the type of system you’re installing in your home, you should opt for flooring that isn’t too thick. This is because it can limit the amount of heat that comes through. The ideal thickness for your flooring should be around 10mm to ensure the best results.

Best flooring options for underfloor heating

You now know what to look out for when choosing flooring for your underfloor heating, so let’s look at the options you can actually choose from:

Tile and stone flooring

Tile and stone are very similar materials that are both an ideal choice when installing an underfloor heating system. This is because they both have really good heat conductivity, ensuring each of your rooms will feel warm and comfortable when you want. They are also extremely durable and easy to maintain and clean.

Engineered wood and laminate flooring

Wood and laminate flooring are also good options for underfloor heating because they have excellent heat conductivity, ensuring you make the most out of your system. Alongside that, they offer a high aesthetic appeal as they tend to make a room look a lot more modern while also coming in a wide range of styles and finishes.

Luxury vinyl and cork flooring

Luxury vinyl and cork flooring are also becoming more popular options for underfloor heating, as long as they aren’t too thick. If you opt for a thinner variant, you will be able to make the most of the heat conductivity that comes with it. Similarly, you can enjoy the warmth a lot as cork is soft on the feet compared to harder floors.

Carpet and rug

Carpets and rugs aren’t often the first choice when it comes to flooring for underfloor heating, but they can still work if that’s what you desire. There are certain types of carpets that have a low thermal resistance, which can help transfer heat more effectively to your room. You should also opt for carpets with shorter pile heights.

Installation tips

While we recommend using a professional to install your flooring over your underfloor heating, you might have the skills to do it yourself. If that’s the case, we have a few installation tips to help you out:

  • Allow the flooring to acclimate to your room’s temperature for a few days before installing it.
  • Ensure the flooring is completely clean, level and dry to guarantee the underfloor heating works to its best ability.
  • Put down an underlayment that works well with both the flooring and your underfloor heating system.
  • Perform heating tests before, during, and after the installation of your flooring to ensure your system functions correctly.


Underfloor heating can bring a lot of comfort and warmth to your home, but you need to ensure you have the best flooring option possible so it functions to its best ability. If you’re still unsure after reading this guide, you can always talk to a trained professional with expertise in underfloor heating, and they can recommend the best option for you.


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