Picture the scene: It’s some ungodly hour, your eyes are barely open from the alarm, it’s still dark outside and you’re about to start the grind of your daily routine. But, instead of wincing at your cold floor tiles, imagine you walk into the bathroom and are instantly welcomed with toasty toes thanks to underfloor heating. Now, I think that’s a great way to kick start your morning, don’t you?
Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn’t it? And, not only does underfloor heating keep you warm by distributing heat evenly, it can help you save money as it runs at lower temperatures than standard radiators, and leaves you more wall space for decor or storage.
With this in mind, I’ve popped together some of our most asked questions about underfloor heating to help you make the right choice for your bathroom.
What types of underfloor heating are there?
There are two main types of underfloor heating; one that has electric mats, known as ‘dry’ and the second is a water based system that’s laid into screed or concrete.
Electric mats can be laid in one or two days, but a warm water system will take longer as you’ll need to lay pipes and connect them to the central heating.
Are they both suitable for bathrooms?
Absolutely, as long as your tiles are sealed properly to avoid water seepage!
The electric mat system is probably best suited to a retrofit project such as a bathroom refurb as it can be laid with little mess and disruption, as it can be simply laid under new flooring. Also good to know – it works well in a wetroom as it dries splashes after showering and runs independently of the central heating.
However, if you’re planning a total renovation a water-based system will usually be the most energy and cost efficient. Although more expensive to install – as it involves embedding lengths of pipes into the screed or concrete – although the running costs will be lower.
A wet system can be linked to a range of heat sources, from a standard boiler to newer sustainable technologies such as solar thermal energy or heat pumps, but bear in mind you may need to upgrade the boiler due to the increased pressure on the existing central heating system.
Is underfloor heating expensive?
It’s a tricky question this one – as it all depends on your budget, the system you go for, and the size of your bathroom, and if you’re just doing your bathroom or the rest of the property. Electric mat systems can start anywhere from around £60 per sq m, and a wet system from around £120 per sq m.
Whichever system you go for, make sure you get at least three different quotes from different suppliers, have it fitted by a professional, and look at online reviews from previous customers – even better, speak to someone who has worked with a company before. They do say recommendations are worth their weight in gold.
What bathroom flooring can I have with underfloor heating?
Ok, solid wood is not suitable as it will warp with changes in heat and humidity, so a multi-layered engineered wood floor is better. But really, ceramic or porcelain tiles are the ideal choice as this material helps bring the heat up to the surface quickly and spreads it evenly, thanks to its excellent conducting properties.
Polished concrete retains heat well too, has quick heat- up times and even stores the warmth from the sun during the day.
Luxury vinyl tiles, natural stone and laminates are also viable options but in most cases you will need to incorporate insulation boards to help dissipate the heat evenly and help reduce cooling times.
Featured image: Electric foil or carbon mats are recommended with all CTD tiles, such as the Contrasti Tappeto Ottanio glazed-finish floor tiles priced £41.66 per sq m.