The best flooring materials for radiant heating systems are ones that conduct heat well, are thick enough to withstand temperature changes, and are resistant to heat and water damage.
In this article, we’ll discuss the properties of floor coverings that make them suitable or unsuitable for radiant heating systems. We also touch on the best type of floors to use with a radiant heating system in your home.
What Makes Flooring Materials Good or Bad for Radiant Heating?
When considering which type of floor covering is best suited to a radiant heating system, several factors need to be considered. These include the following:
- The thickness of the flooring
- Its thermal conductivity
- Its tendency to expand and contract
- Its vulnerability to heat and water damage
Thicker floor coverings, such as solid hardwood
and engineered wood, tend to be poor thermal bridges. In other words, they do not conduct heat very well. Solid hardwood can also easily be damaged by both heat and moisture.
On the other hand, mineral-based floor coverings like ceramic
and porcelain tiles
will conduct heat better than thicker materials. Due to their thinness, rooms warm up quickly using far less energy than other materials.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles retain heat longer than other types of flooring. They also won’t succumb to rot or decay in cases of a hydronic radiant heating system leakage.
The Best Flooring Materials for Radiant Heating Systems
The best types of floors for radiant heating systems are those that are made from ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone. Ceramic tile is an excellent conductor of heat while capable of retaining heat between system cycles.
On top of that, ceramic tile is inexpensive, widely available, easy to install due to its thinness (around 1/8 inch), and waterproof. Natural stones such as marble or granite have similar properties but may be more expensive depending on where you purchase them.
Porcelain tile is another great option because it has all the same benefits as ceramic tile but with even greater durability due to its higher compressive strength rating.
What Is Compressive Strength Rating and Why Is it Important?
Compressive strength measures the ability of a material or structural element to resist failure when subjected to compressive forces. Knowing the compressive strength of a material allows engineers to design structures with confidence.
Learning about the compressive strength rating is essential for making thoughtful decisions when designing, analyzing, and building structures.
Installing a radiant heating system in your home requires careful consideration when picking new floors. After all, not all materials are suitable for use with these systems. However, if you choose wisely, you can greatly benefit from your new heated floors.
Ceramic tiles provide excellent insulation while also being relatively affordable compared to other floor coverings. Natural stones such as marble or granite offer similar benefits but at a slightly higher price range. Porcelain tiles offer even greater durability than ceramic tiles—and are also much easier to maintain.
Whichever material you choose, make sure you factor in all the pros and cons to arrive at the best decision for your needs.
Need help choosing the right flooring for your radiant heating system? Contact us today