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Is laminate flooring suitable for underfloor heating?

Laminate is a popular choice for anyone wanting to replicate the look of hardwood or stone flooring, without having to worry about caring for the wood or stone itself. Laminate flooring is often available in scratch resistant finishes, and is more resistant to water and spills, making it ideal for families with small children or pets.

As with engineered wood flooring, laminate is made of multiple layers. A core made of high density fibreboard provides stability, with a design layer and protective layer providing the look and protection. A good quality laminate flooring can effectively mimic the look of wood or stone flooring.

If you are looking to install underfloor heating under laminate flooring, there are some things you may want to consider.

Benefits of laminate with underfloor heating

Laminate flooring is a lot more hard-wearing than solid wood, or even engineered wood flooring, as the protective layer on top of the laminate helps it to resist wear and tear. more easily than wood.

One particular benefit of laminate is that it is not as prone to warping under changes in temperature when laid over underfloor heating. When wood is used with underfloor heating systems, care must be taken not to ‘shock’ the timber floor. Laminate is much more resistant to temperature changes and as a result will not warp or change shape at higher temperatures.Benefits of laminate with underfloor heating

Installing laminate flooring with underfloor heating

Laminate floorboards can be easily installed on top of your underfloor heating system. As with wooden floorboards, laminate floorboards are designed to fit together to make them as easy as possible to install.

Leaving an expansion gap during installation

Leaving an expansion gap around the edge of the laminate flooring eliminates the risk of ‘buckling’ from increases in humidity or temperature in the room. An expansion gap of 15mm is usually sufficient to account for expansion, and is commonly hidden by the skirting board.

Fixing methods for laminate floors

Adhesive

Adhesives can be used to create a strong seal between the laminate boards and the concrete screed. It is recommended to check with your flooring supplier to see what types of adhesive are suitable for your choice of flooring.

Floating

‘Floating’ the laminate flooring involves slotting the boards together and laying them over the underlay and subfloor without any adhesive or further fixing. This is a common option for saving time and labour during the installation process, and also gives the laminate boards more flexibility to adapt to changes in temperature and humidity.

Underfloor heating and laminate floors

Underfloor heating and laminate floors – things to consider.

Maximum temperature

While laminate flooring is suitable for use with both electric and wet underfloor heating systems, the recommended maximum temperature that the floor should be heated to is 27˚C, to avoid damaging the laminate. A floor temperature sensor is the best way to monitor the temperature of the floor and Nu-Heat provides these as standard whenever temperature-sensitive floor coverings are being used.

Thickness of laminate

Thicker laminate boards will affect heat transfer, slowing it down rather than conducting heat into the room. When using laminate flooring with underfloor heating, we recommend that it is no thicker than 18mm in order to maximise heat transfer.

Warming up the floor for the first time

As with all types of flooring, heating up your UFH system for the first time slowly is the best way to start the system. Increasing the temperature of the underfloor heating system by 5 degrees per day, up to the desired temperature.

If you have any questions about installing an underfloor heating system with laminate flooring please get in touch.