Are tiles suitable for underfloor heating?
Tiling over underfloor heating is a popular option. Tiles are not only easy to clean, they’re also practical for bathrooms and kitchens where underfloor heating is commonly installed.
Underfloor heating and tiles are a great pairing due to their properties. This is because tiles tend to conduct heat well, meaning that heat is transferred easily to the tiles, warming the room quickly. Tiles are also good at retaining heat, therefore helping to improve the overall efficiency of your underfloor heating system.
The best tiles for underfloor heating
Not all things are created equal and this is also true of tiles! Different types of tiles have different properties, making some more suitable for underfloor heating than others.
Stone and ceramic tiles
The best floor coverings for use with underfloor heating are hard surfaces such as stone and ceramic tiles, as they have the least resistance and transfer heat effectively.
Stone and ceramic tiles are arguably the best tiles for underfloor heating as they are the most thermally conductive of all floor coverings, allowing the energy from the UFH heating tube to transfer quickly to the floor’s surface.
Increasing the thickness of the tile will have little effect on the heat output, but it will slightly increase the time taken for the tile to heat up.
With stone and ceramic tiles, it is always advisable to use a de-coupling membrane and flexible adhesive to reduce the potential for any hairline expansion cracks.
- Limestone – Of all stone floor coverings, limestone requires the most care and attention during installation
- Slate – An extremely conductive natural finish, ideal for use with underfloor heating
- Marble – An excellent conductor available in varying thickness.
Ceramic tile and natural stone floor finishes are a perfect partner for warm water underfloor heating – conducting heat efficiently and effectively. When choosing floor coverings for your underfloor heating, tiles or natural stone floor finishes are durable options that are easily maintained. A heated tile floor is also a good solution for kitchens and open plan living areas where a continuous floor covering emphasises the sense of space.
When choosing a ceramic tile or natural stone finish, it’s important to take into account which tiles are suitable for underfloor heating. The vast majority of companies will state which tiles in their collection are the best tiles for underfloor heating. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are good flooring materials to use with underfloor heating and present a more affordable option than natural stone.
Whatever tiles you decide to use, tiling over underfloor heating results in a warm room, quicker, and it also retains heat well. Having a heated tile floor means no more chilly bathrooms, utilities, entrances or conservatories.
Benefits of tiling over underfloor heating
There are many benefits to choosing to pair tiles with your underfloor heating:
- Tiles conduct heat evenly and efficiently from your underfloor heating system to the surface of the floor
- You can install ceramic tile or natural stone finishes on any floor level
- Ceramic tile or natural stone floors provide a high-end finish
- Tiled flooring is highly durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean.
Installing tiles over underfloor heating
When laying tiles over underfloor heating, the main criteria for the successful installation of ceramic tile or stone floor finishes is a stable, level sub-floor. Tiling over underfloor heating is relatively straightforward once the sub-floor is level.
When installing ceramic tiles and natural stone products as the final floor finish, we always recommend using a decoupling membrane. Over time, it is possible for movement to develop in the sub-floor, which could result in cracked tiles. A decoupling membrane is a separation barrier between the tiles and the substrate, ensuring that any movement is isolated and does not affect the tiles or stone floor finish.
Tiling and underfloor heating – things to consider
When tiling underfloor heating there are a few things you should take into consideration before making your final floor covering choice.
Whilst most tiles are generally suitable for underfloor heating, thicker tiles may take longer to heat a room than thinner tiles.
Different materials conduct heat differently; this is also true of tile materials. Ceramic and stone tiles are recommended for use with underfloor heating as heat is transferred easily from the underfloor heating system to the tiles in order to warm the room efficiently.
When tiling underfloor heating, the sub-floor needs to be level. Once this is the case, tiles can be installed over UFH like any other tiles. You should always use a decoupling membrane however to prevent tiles cracking due to movement in the sub-floor.
Get in touch for expert advice on pairing your flooring of choice with a Nu-Heat UFH system.