Underfloor heating is a great, modern way to heat your bathroom. By heating the floor and allowing the heat to rise you can heat your bathroom more efficiently than with a normal, more traditional radiator. It also feels lovely on your feet on a cold winter’s morning.
But where do you start and what do you need to consider?
Underfloor heating is not as simple as a radiator. Obviously you need to think about the size of the bathroom to determine your radiator, but there’s a lot more to floors than there is to hanging a radiator.
Size matters with your bathroom flooring
The size of you floor will decide how much heat your can have… or at least how much energy you’ll need to keep the room warm… or if the underfloor heating will heat your room at all!
The size of your floor will obviously give you the area to heat. Most underfloor heating runs the length and breadth of the floor, and if you want an evenly heated room then you should plan to do it this way. That is, after all, why underfloor heating is so superior to radiators.
To heat a larger floor requires a larger power source and the larger that power, the more it will cost you.
As with all larger rooms, the amount of heat you lose is greater. So a room twice the twice will lose twice the amount of heat.
You also need to look at the insulation of your room. If it’s poor then you’ll spend a lot of energy and money trying to heat it, only to have it escape through poor windows and badly insulated walls.
Style and type matters with your bathroom flooring
As with the size, the type of flooring you’re having on top of the underfloor heating affects how it all works too. The type of flooring, or more specifically, the material of the flooring will affect your heating in a big way.
The best type of flooring to keep the heat and transmit it the best is stone. Of course we should know this, as years ago we all had stone floors. Although we think of them as cold and sometimes uninviting, once they’re warm they do hold the heat well. Stone tiles work well above underfloor heating as stone conducts heat really well, keeping it toasty for your tooties.
Laminate, vinyl and carpet have a lesser conductivity for heat but also struggle to cope with high temperatures.
If you have a large room you’ll need a lot of heat and sometimes your underfloor heating will have to pump out heat at a temperature of over 30 degrees c, and that won’t work with vinyl, laminate or carpet as they have a threshold of 27 degrees c.
If you have a large room then you’ll need to have a high temperature, so therefore your best bet is to have a stone tiled floor.
The amount of floor you can heat matters too…
Think about your bathroom floor now… There’s a WC, maybe a basin pedestal, plus of course a bath or shower.
You won’t be able to put heating under those and because of this, your underfloor heating won’t heat the entire space of the floor.
Thinking about that space versus heat argument from above you can now see that your ‘heatable’ floor area will have to work really hard.
If your bathroom is on the compact side, check with your installer if you can heat your bathroom with the small amount of floor you have that can be heated.
Remember that you may have to pump out quite a high heat and therefore rethink your flooring material choice, too.
Insulate, insulate, insulate!
Why make your heating work harder? Just conserve what heat it creates. You are probably wasting heat right now and that heat costs you money. Insulate your home and bathroom and save money on future energy bills.
You wouldn’t expect your heating to work with it on full power and all your home’s windows open so don’t forget the invisible holes in your walls, cracks, old glass and doors.
You can insulate your actual flooring too.
With products like Warmup insulation boards you’ll keep as much heat in the flooring as possible and this will get you a far better energy efficiency. Warmup also cuts up to 90% from your ‘heat up’ time, too.
Planning is everything
With underfloor heating you need to consider:
- The size of your bathroom floor
- The type of flooring you’ll use
- How much ‘heatable’ floor you have
- How well insulated your bathroom is already.
Underfloor heating can be a really economic way to heat your bathroom and often better in the long run after the initial expense.
But do make sure you plan.
Plan what you want and what type of flooring you’d like. Look at the size of your bathroom and how well it’s insulated currently. It all adds up to give you the answer… whether it’s an expensive one or not.
If you need help or advice then give Alan Heath and Sons a shout.
We’re always planning new bathrooms and we’d be happy to discuss yours with you in our Coventry bathroom showroom.