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UNDER COVER


The experts at Underfloor Climate Management (UFCM) offer some top tips when considering underfloor heating solutions with different types of floorcoverings.


Pressure to achieve targets on sustainability and carbon reduction mean that heat pumps paired with underfloor heating (UFH) were always likely to increase in popularity in 2021.


With consistent hygiene and interior air quality increasingly becoming a key factor in the construction and maintenance of commercial buildings – it’s possible that the more energy efficient and more hygienic option of UFH will be specified on a more regular basis.


If you add in the long-term cost saving and ease of design it’s likely that radiators will become less and less popular in the UK commercial market – which mirrors the situation in much of northern Europe.


The consistent ambient temperature within a water-based underfloor heating solution, offers efficient performance at reduced flow temperatures compared to traditional wall radiators, resulting in reduced energy usage and overheads.


FLOORCOVERINGS Underfloor heating is surprisingly adaptable and can be used with a number of different floorcoverings – but make sure you get specialist advice when choosing or designing your heating system.


The systems should work with most well-insulated floorcoverings but harder surfaces offer better conductivity and better heat output rates. Underfloor heating will turn stone, ceramic marble or flagstone floors into warm surfaces, but it is vital that the final installation of the floor structure is stable and rigid.


When covering a heated floor with carpet it is crucial to avoid fitting carpets with felt or rubber crumb underlay. These materials can restrict the effectiveness of the system as they prevent heat transfer. Sponge or waffle pattern moulded based underlay will work best and a TOG value of 0.5 is the maximum recommended.


Laminate flooring is the easiest to install over a heating system, while vinyl flooring is sensitive to long-term exposure to heat which puts temperature limits on a system. Underfloor heating manufacturers can offer advice on best options before the installation of any floorcovering


UFH SYSTEMS The wide range of underfloor heating designs available on the market provides options compatible with tiles, stone, wood, engineered wood and carpet, there is an option for every floor type.


SOLID FLOORS Solid floor underfloor heating is ideal for new build projects. Lightweight plastic floor panels can be installed quickly and easily before being covered with screed and the floorcovering is added on top. Tile, carpet, wood or laminate can be installed as the overall floorcovering.


42 | UNDERFLOOR HEATING


OVERLAY SYSTEMS Overlay systems can be fitted over existing floors and are an option for renovating or as a later addition to new-build projects if the flooring has already been installed. The different overlay options suit different floorcoverings.


Overlay systems are ideal for heavyweight flooring like ceramic tiles, or where the floorcovering needs to be secured directly to the panel, such as solid wood.


However, there are also tailored overlay systems which work very well with lightweight solutions such as laminate, engineered wood or carpet, offering easy handling and cutting, making them ideal for installation in larger areas and multiple rooms.


MODULAR HEATING PANELS Traditionally, installing underfloor heating into a building’s upper floors could be challenging in both refurbishment and new build projects, where it is often a difficult task to manoeuvre around the floor joists.


However, modular heating panels will deliver a pre-configured solution that can be easily fitted and connected on-site. They can be placed strategically in areas that need heat the most for maximum efficiency.


An underfloor heating specialist should be able to offer computer modelling which will detail heat loss to allow a consistent and efficient temperature throughout the building. The program used by UFCM assesses all the relevant data including U values and Tog ratings of materials.


www.ufcm.co.uk


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