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Are rugs suitable for underfloor heating?

Should I use rugs with underfloor heating?

The good news is that many rugs are suitable to use with warm water underfloor heating.

However, adding a rug on top of a heated floor can restrict the amount of heat that passes from the floor into the room. Think of it as adding an extra layer for the heat to go through – you’re essentially making your underfloor heating system work a little harder to warm up the room you’re in.

This is why it’s best to choose the right thickness and material of rug.

Also, if you don’t use the right type of rug with underfloor heating, it can affect sensitive floors. So it is important to consider the type of floor covering, as some heated floors can be affected by rugs.

Read on to find out how to choose the right rug to go over your underfloor heating.

Can using rugs with underfloor heating cause damage?

Some floor coverings, such as engineered wood, have a maximum temperature limit. Adding a rug to a heated wooden floor risks crossing that temperature limit, which can actually cause damage.

However, this is more a problem with electric underfloor heating, than our warm water UFH systems.

A thick, heavy rug with high thermal resistance on top of a wooden floor could cause ‘heat spots’. The wood may become warped and floorboards may lift, if the rug makes the temperature too hot.

Engineered wood flooring can often cost more than laminate or vinyl floor tiles, which makes it even more annoying if you accidentally damage it. Always check your floor covering’s installation instructions – it should specify a maximum temperature for use with underfloor heating.

Our underfloor heating thermostats can integrate with remote sensor probes, which monitor the temperature of your heated floor (although these won’t be able to sense under a rug).

We can help you design and install a UFH system that takes flooring and rugs into account.

What’s the best rug material for underfloor heating?

If you want to enjoy rugs in a room with underfloor heating, the best types are rugs that won’t block the radiant heat from your underfloor heating system. With underfloor heating, heat moves upwards to warm people in a room, so choose a rug that allows your UFH system to do its job.

When choosing a rug to use with underfloor heating, consider:

  • Thickness

As with carpet, thick rugs can trap heat and insulate rather than allowing it to be released into the room which will reduce the effectiveness of the UFH system. Try to choose a rug with a tog of 2.5 or less to maximise on heat transfer into your room.

  • Rug Material

Synthetic materials may not be designed to hold or transfer heat, and could even be damaged or melt if subjected to too much heat for an extended period of time. Rugs suitable for underfloor heating will be made from natural materials such as wool, which is more resistant to heat.

  • Underlay material

Underlay materials such as felt or polyurethane are poor at conducting heat, and as with carpet underlay they will reduce the effectiveness of your UFH system and risk causing ‘hot spots’. Rugs with a hessian underlay are preferable.

Rugs with underfloor heating and tiles

Rugs with underfloor heating and tiles

Tiled floors are best for conducting heat throughout your room as they have high thermal conductivity, providing the best efficiency for your system. Tiled or natural stone floors are also very good at keeping the heat in meaning that your floor and room will maintain a comfortable temperature.

Tiles are more resistant to heat than wood and won’t be subjected to damage from heat spots making them ideal for rugs. That being said, it is still a good idea to choose a rug that is not too big to ensure your UFH system heats up quickly.

Rugs on tiled underfloor heating can help add different textures to the room, and feel comfortable underfoot. Small rugs or bath mats are useful for bathrooms with UFH systems to provide comfort and warmth after showers in the colder months.

Compare the best flooring types for underfloor heating to see how different surfaces affect the heat transfer from your UFH system.

Rugs with underfloor heating and wood

Wooden floors are a popular choice for UFH systems as they add a warm looking finish to the room and transfer heat well. They are also hard-wearing and offer a timeless finish.

Hardwood and softwood timber flooring are susceptible to warping under higher temperatures, this can present a problem if you want to use a rug on top of your wood flooring as the heat could build up and cause ‘hot spots’ which could damage your floor.

To minimise the chance of damage, check our recommendations for rug materials above. Thinner rugs with lower tog ratings that are made with natural materials are the best choice to avoid causing damage to your floor.

We recommend using engineered wood with your UFH system, as its structural stability allows it to perform well with fluctuating temperatures. It is more resistant to changes in temperature and moisture and will keep its shape more readily than solid wood floors, while still maintaining the visual look of solid wood.

Rugs with underfloor heating and laminate

Laminate floors are a popular choice due to their versatility and wide range of finishing looks. They can mimic the look of wood and stone flooring and are easy to take care of. As with solid wood flooring, rugs and underfloor heating is a common combo that helps to add some warmth and texture to your room.

Laminate flooring can expand when subjected to an increase in temperature. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on the maximum temperature your laminate flooring can withstand to ensure its longevity.

As with hardwood or softwood flooring, the best recommendation for a suitable rug is one made from natural materials, with a backing or underlay that doesn’t trap and insulate heat between the rug and floor. It is also preferable to choose a smaller rug that doesn’t cover too much floorspace and insulate the heat provided by your UFH system.

The Ultimate Underfloor Heating Buyer’s Guide

Find out how to choose the right underfloor heating for your home.

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The Ultimate Underfloor Heating Buyer’s Guide

More about Jo Snell

As the Self Build Manager here at Nu-Heat, I am focused on making sure our customers get accurate and honest advice on the best heating solutions for their homes.

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