Although we still have hot days to go, winter and cold weather are getting closer. For this reason, to avoid last-minute pressure, and perhaps even price increases, it is now a good time to prepare our house and make it a cozy place for the winter season.
An increasingly common alternative is use underfloor heating to heat the home but when the time comes to install one, the question may arise as to whether to opt for ceramic or laminate floors. And according to Iberdrola, this is the best option that we can adopt.
What is underfloor heating
And before continuing, it is convenient to clarify what we mean when we talk about underfloor heating. underfloor heating is a heating system that is installed under the floor, whether in a home, a commercial or industrial building. This system uses pipes or electrical cables embedded in the ground to heat the space from below. Underfloor heating works by transferring heat from the floor upwards, providing an even distribution of heat throughout a room or space.
When referring to a radiant floor, it is necessary to differentiate above all with tthree main types of systems:
- Hydronic underfloor heating: The most common, this system uses hot water pipes or liquid to heat the floor. Hot water is heated by a boiler or heat pump and then circulates through pipes under the floor, transferring heat to the floor and eventually to the room. This type of system is energy efficient and can be used for both heating and cooling.
- electric underfloor heating: In this system, heat-conducting electrical cables are installed in the ground. When electricity is applied to these wires, they generate heat and warm the surrounding ground. Electric underfloor heating is easier to install compared to hydronic, but it is often less energy efficient and more expensive to operate, especially in areas with high electricity costs.
- underfloor heating with air: is the least used of the three. Little used due to its low efficiency. It is a type of heating and cooling system that uses hot or cold air to regulate the temperature of a space. Unlike traditional underfloor heating systems that use hot water or electrical cables in the floor, air-filled underfloor heating uses air ducts built into the floor to distribute heat or cold.
Keep in mind installing a radiant floor system can be expensive and complex and require modifications to the existing structure. Besides, its efficiency largely depends on proper installation and good insulation from the ground.
Underfloor heating offers several advantages, such as a even heat distribution, manages to heat a room with little water and at a lower temperature, since it is enough to have the water at a temperature of between 30 and 45º compared to 70º of a conventional system. This translates into a energy saving which increases if the boiler is changed for an air-water heat pump or aerothermal energy. Besides there are aesthetic improvementssince radiators or visible air ducts are eliminated, and to all the comfort of walking on a warm floor in winter is added.
Underfloor heating can be used with different types of coatings floor, such as tiles, ceramics, laminated wood, among others. And this is a fundamental aspect.
The most common is underfloor heating by water which, as we have already seen, uses a network of pipes installed below the ground through which hot water circulates. Either with a boiler or with aerothermal energy, it is necessary to determine which surface is the most suitable to use: ceramic tiles or wood laminate?.
Any of them is compatible with this system. Leaving taste and aesthetics aside, different studies indicate that ceramic tiles, stone or porcelain floors, They are better at transmitting heatand they also have the possibility of achieving a kind of thermal storage, something that we do not find in the other options.
Faced with these, heLaminate wood floors are another widely used option.. It is recommended that they be laminated with foam underlayment instead of using solid wood. The purpose of this option is to prevent the floors from shrinking or expanding with changes in temperature, causing cracks or bulging. Laminate floors have the advantage that by themselves they provide a greater sensation of warmth and comfort, but in return they do not have the effect of storing heat and they also transmit it worse. If we were to establish a list with pros and consit could be this:
- The pottery has a high thermal conductivity, which means that it can efficiently transmit heat from the underfloor heating system to the surface of the room. This makes it compatible with underfloor heating systems and is an excellent option for underfloor heating.
- Laminated wood has a lower thermal conductivity compared to ceramic which means it can take longer to heat up and will not distribute heat as efficiently as ceramic. However, it is still possible to use laminated wood with a radiant floor system.
- Laminate wood tends to feel warmer to the touch. than ceramic. This can be more comfortable for walking barefoot on the ground, especially in cold weather.
Durability and maintenance:
- Ceramic is extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- It is also easy to clean.
- Laminate wood is durable, but not as waterproof as ceramic. It can be damaged if exposed to excessive water. Also, it can be scratched more easily than ceramic in high-traffic areas.
- The cost of installation can vary depending on the area in which you live and the quality of the materials, but in general, ceramic tends to be cheaper than laminated wood. However, costs can vary significantly depending on the specific brand and type of product you choose.
In summary, both laminated wood and ceramic can be used with a radiant floor system, but lCeramic tends to be a more efficient option in terms of heat conduction.. However, the final choice will depend on your personal preferences, specific needs, and budget.
Either ceramic or laminated wood flooring, both options are the most used and also the most efficient and advisable when it comes to taking advantage of underfloor heating. It is not interesting to use carpets or carpeted floorssince these reduce the transmission of heat that is trapped while acting as a barrier.
Don’t forget that underfloor heating requires more time to air-condition a room (underfloor heating takes longer to heat than a water radiator system with a boiler) but once the temperature is reached, they manage to maintain it for longer.
If you are considering installing an underfloor heating system, It is important to consult a professional for specific recommendations to ensure a successful installation.
Cover image | erik mclean
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