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Vinyl flooring is durable, easy-to-clean and comes in many designs. It’s also a perfect partner for underfloor heating

When choosing a floor covering for underfloor heating, it’s worth noting that vinyl and linoleum flooring work particularly well with this type of heating system. Whilst it’s not quite a durable or thermally conductive as ceramic tiles or engineered hardwood flooring, if you are looking for a more affordable and durable option, vinyl or lino may be the way to go!

Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride flooring is made from resin combined with plasticizers and stabilisers. In sheet form, a thin layer of material is laid over a foam to provide cushioning. Linoleum (e.g. Marmoleum) is made using natural materials – often linseed and/or tall oil, limestone, tree rosin, wood flour, natural mineral pigments and jute – which are then combined with a hessian or canvas backing to provide additional strength.

Both can provide a seamless, hardwearing floor finish and are suitable for use with all of Nu-Heat’s underfloor heating systems.

Benefits of vinyl flooring and underfloor heating

Vinyl flooring has a wide range of benefits that make it suitable for underfloor heating, and a great choice for the home in general!

Vinyl and linoleum flooring are often used as an affordable alternative to other floor covering types. This is one of the main benefits, and with so much choice out there, you no longer need to compromise on quality. There are many manufacturers who create high-quality, durable vinyl floor coverings that mimic natural products. For example, you can choose vinyl flooring that looks like hardwood or even tiles.

Whatever look you’re trying to achieve, whether you are replicating oak or granite, there is a vinyl or lino floor covering to suit!

In addition to this, vinyl flooring is hardwearing, making it ideal for high traffic areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. It can be wiped clean, withstand impact and can be replaced more easily and at a lower cost than other flooring types.

Also, the thin nature of vinyl and lino flooring makes it ideal for underfloor heating as the heat can permeate the floor more easily in order to heat the room. Always check the manufacturer’s recommended maximum floor surface temperature to ensure that the covering is suitable for use with underfloor heating. Most manufacturers state 27°C, which is more than adequate in most situations. For any sensitive floor coverings, or where a system with a high heat output is being installed, a floor temperature sensor should be fitted to limit the heat output from the floor.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles with UFH

What types of vinyl flooring are suitable for underfloor heating?

Whilst most vinyl flooring is suitable for use with underfloor heating, you should always check the maximum floor surface temperature as stated by the manufacturer. If this is 27°C or more then your flooring choice is likely to be suitable.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular vinyl flooring choices for UFH.

Amtico and Karndean with underfloor heating

Both Amtico and Karndean are types of vinyl flooring.

Amtico is a high quality vinyl flooring that replicates the visual effects of different flooring types including marble, stone and wood. With multiple options to chose from that are both practical and highly versatile, Amtico is a popular choice of floor covering. It’s worth noting that to avoid any discolouration or damage, the floor temperature should be limited to 27°C – something that can be easily achieved with a floor sensor.

Karndean flooring is also a popular choice for use with underfloor heating. Designed to be warmer and softer underfoot than stone or ceramic tiles, Karndean flooring can help a room to feel more comfortable and welcoming, especially if used with an UFH system.

You should always speak to the floor manufacturer to ensure floor coverings are compatible with your UFH system before fitting. Additionally, you will also need to check with them what the maximum temperature is, as this can vary between each floor type.

Lino with underfloor heating

Linoleum flooring is made from renewable, natural materials such as linseed oil, cork and wood – unlike Vinyl flooring which is made from synthetic materials. This makes lino the ideal flooring choice for those who are eco-conscious. Marmoleum is a popular brand of linoleum flooring that is over 150 years old and is suitable for use with UFH systems.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles or LVT with underfloor heating

Luxury Vinyl Tiles are available in tiles and planks, unlike more common sheet vinyl/lino flooring. This allows you to create a bespoke flooring design that looks realistic. You can by LVTs in a range of shades and finishes, from stone to wood and ceramic tiles. Made up of multiple thin layers, luxury vinyl tiles are hardwearing, do not require as much upkeep as other flooring types and can be easily wiped clean. Almost the same as other vinyl flooring types, simply in tile form, LVTs are an ideal choice for use over your UFH system.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Underfloor Heating

Installing vinyl flooring over underfloor heating

Marmoleum and vinyl flooring require acclimatisation to the environment in which it is to be installed. It should therefore be unwrapped and laid flat for a minimum of 24-hours prior to installation. The room temperature should be between 18–26˚C and the underfloor heating should not be used to achieve this.

Before installing vinyl flooring, the underfloor heating should have been tested and switched off for at least 48 hours. During installation, keep the underfloor heating turned off and for a further 48 hours after the floor covering has been laid.

You should note that because many vinyl floor coverings should not be heated to above 27°C, the underfloor heating temperature will need to be restricted. Because of this, vinyl should not be installed in any room with high heat losses, such as conservatories, as it would not be able to sufficiently heat the room when restricted.

Sub-floor considerations for UFH

Screed systems

The type of screed used will determine whether subfloor preparations are required for vinyl or lino floor coverings. Due to it’s more varied consistency, hand-mixed screeds (typically used in smaller installations) will require an additional skim of self-levelling compound to ensure a sufficiently flat surface before the floor covering can go down. This is not needed with mechanically pumped liquid screeds, which have a denser consistency and will dry flat enough for the floor covering without additional preparation.

Low profile systems

Our retrofit LoPro®Max UFH system is designed to be laid over existing floors, adding just a 22mm height build-up. Because the system consists of pipework fitted into castellated panel covered with a self levelling compound, which dries fully flat, it can have thinner floor coverings laid directly over the top without additional preparation.

Moisture content for vinyl and lino

You should be aware of the moisture content of the subfloor before laying vinyl or linoleum flooring. If the moisture content is too high, your vinyl flooring may become water damaged. This is most common with concrete and can cause the floor to rip at the seams, bubble up, become mouldy and more. Before installing vinyl over your UFH system, you need to make sure that the area is completely dry.

Providing the vinyl is properly fitted, water spillages on top of your floor should not affect its quality. Most vinyl and lino flooring is waterproof and so you only need to worry about moisture beneath the flooring.

Turning underfloor heating on for the first time

After you have fitted your vinyl or lino flooring, you should not turn your UFH system on for at least 48 hours. This allows the floor time to properly adhere, letting it acclimatise to the room temperature. UFH should also be turned off for 48 hours prior to the installation of vinyl and lino.

Fixing and maximum temperatures

When installing vinyl flooring you also need to take into consideration the adhesive used. The adhesive used to fix the flooring should be sufficient to sustain the working temperature of the underfloor heating, maximum 27˚C. If it cannot sustain this temperature then the floor may become unstuck, begin to bubble and the edges may begin to curl upwards.

Not sure if vinyl or lino is right for your home? Check out our guide to choosing the best flooring for underfloor heating.

For further information or to get a free quote for your bespoke underfloor heating system, get in touch!

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