Design & Decor in San Ramon>Question Details

Joe, Other/Just Looking in

what is better for radiat floor heat tile or laminated wood flooring?

Asked by Joe, Tue Jun 11, 2013

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There are a few different types of systems - the one we see the most here is an electric system installed under tile flooring - typically in bathrooms. It's a mesh that's installed as a part of the underlayment. As such, it's usually covered in thinset or mortar. However, there is a newer product available to install under carpet or laminate - my only concern with laminate is that it usually sits on a foam backing that may actually impede heat distribution.

Here is a link to a product that will work under laminate:

The other type is a boiler driven hot water system with piping that is either built into the subfloor in specially designed panels with grooves for ducting, installed as an integral part of a concrete slab or retrofitted on the underside of the floor between the floor joists. Since hot water radiant systems are actually an integral part of the sub-floor per se, you can put just about anything you want on top of them. Although many hot water systems have been installed in the Bay Area, they are much more expensive to install than any other type of heating system. Older systems (typically in Eichler homes) are prone to leak because of the way they were installed. Since they are boiler driven, hot water radiant systems are more prevalent on the East Coast where oil-fired boilers are commonly used for heating instead of the natural gas-fired forced air systems we see here in the west.

As for what is better to install over a radiant floor, my personal choices would be tile, stone or hardwood flooring. You have to very careful installing a hardwood floor as you cannot nail it down (nails may damage the radiant system) - it has to be glued down. All of these will provide even heat distribution. I'm not sure I'd go with laminate, but the, laminate is not one of my favorite choices for flooring to begin with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 13, 2013
That is a good question. I've seen it used with hardwood flooring in the east coast and I've seen it with tile, and even concrete, but never seen anyone install laminate over it.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 11, 2013
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