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trainspotter 12-08-2007 10:59 AM

Wood Flooring for Underfloor Heating
Hello! My new 2 bedroom flat is fitted with underfloor water pipe heating system. Now I'm at the stage to choose the floor boards and have a few questions. I'm a complete novice in home DIY stuff, but I need some clues before I can decide what type of floor to buy and cannot trust sales people on this!

1. Do you have to have special floor boards if you have a underfloor heating system? If so, what is special about these floor boards?

2. I know there are floor boards that are laminated and there are real wood ones, and I can see why the real wood ones are better. However, within each type, what differentiates them as the expensive ones can be 10x more than the cheap ones? I don't want to pay for things that are "intangible".

3. I saw on one website that they have "engineered floors" which are laminated and layers are laid in different directions. Are these the ideal ones to have for underfloor heating?

4. Any other general advice are greatly appreciated!!!!

ToolGuy 12-08-2007 07:14 PM

I'm assuming you're refering to in-floor radiant heating? You're not limited in what type of flooring. What you are limited to is installation methods. Real wood flooring is typically nailed down, but you can't do that cuz you'll puncture the heating tubes. However, I've seen where hardwood is glued down for just this reason. I don't know if they used fasteners of any sort.

Laminate flooring comes in a wide varietey of material compositions and levels of quality. Some brands and styles look real plasticy, not something you'd want to use in a bedroom or any common living space. Others however, can look very realistic. Going one further, some are finished with real wood. Laminate flooring is not nailed down at all, but is termed 'floating floor', because it's not attached in any way.

In short, your only limitation is that you can't use anything which requires nails, as the nails will puncture the heating tubes. With this in mind, shop around and find what suits your fancy.

glennjanie 12-09-2007 06:09 PM

Welcome Trainspotter:
I agree with all Tool Guy said and want to add one more detail to his post.
Whatever kind of floor you use should be distributed around (in the packages or bundles, as long as they are not sealed in plastic) so the material can adjust to your living conditions. Like heat, humidity and such. Then, when you lay the flooring it will not expand itself into bumps and valleys.
Cherrio, Glenn

ToolGuy 12-09-2007 06:28 PM

Absolutely a good point, Glenn. Flooring materials should always be allowed to acclimate to the room environment before installation.

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