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Using the correct insulation with your underfloor heating system



Completely different systems are required to heat under wood and under tiles.

Heating under Laminate or Engineered Wooden Flooring

The following solution assumes the sub-floor is rigid and level and already exists. Alternatively, If the underfloor heating can be designed in conjunction with a newly laid concrete floor a practical solution is to use a FLOORHEATPRO cable in screed electric heating system type RFC17 with the heating cables embedded under a minimum 65mm floor screed. This would not be possible on wooden sub-floors.
For existing floors you have to install the FLOORHEATPRO aluminium foil heating system RFLAM
This will provide the heat gradient required to ensure the system is safe and does not damage your top floor with warping and cracking due to overheating. RFLAM is the world leading system for this application and comes with a FLOORHEATPRO Lifetime Guarantee.

FLOORHEATPRO always recommend covering the sub-floor with 6mm thick LAMFOAM prior to installing the foil underfloor heating. LAMFOAM forms part of a system with the RFLAM foil mats. It has insulating properties equal to XPS but in addition provides other benefits.
The main additional benefits are as follows:

  1.  LAMFOAM acts as the underlay for the wooden top floor. LAMFOAM is a cellular foam material that provides a firm but more comfortable support than XPS. XPS is rigid and hard with no give.
  2.  LAMFOAM provides sound deadening properties due to its cellular foam properties

After laying the LAMFOAM over your sub-floor install the foil mat and then the wooden top floor – No other layers are necessary such as vapour barriers or underlay offered to you by the suppliers of your wooden floor etc.
XPS insulation sheet can also be used in conjunction with the foil heating system and laminate / engineered wooden floors. FLOORHEATPRO supply XPS sheets when requested, as it is still fit for purpose from an insulating point of view, although XPS lacks the other benefits highlighted above.

Sub-floors must be level and rigid. When using XPS sheet as floor insulation on a wooden sub-floor, the rigidity of the sub-floor is especially important.


XPS insulation sheet for under tile heating

If you have a sub-floor with no height issues, FLOORHEATPRO 6mm thick XPS insulation sheet is the most economical solution for a low profile thermal barrier which can be applied to the sub-floor, prior to installing the under tile heating system.

XPS sheets are not a mandatory requirement but they do provide a thermal barrier to improve system efficiency and prevent heat from being absorbed downwards into the concrete.

Due to the extra 6mm thickness of the XPS insulation it is not always possible to accommodate because of height restrictions so this will need to be considered.

In order to achieve the performance needed it is not necessary to install thicker layers of insulation or boards with a cement finish at additional cost.

Alternatively, and as an option, 10mm thick XPS insulation sheets are also available from stock.
XPS insulation enhances the performance of the underfloor heating by maximising temperature response when heat is needed. This is exactly what your underfloor heating requires for the most economical operation.

No matter how much insulation is installed below the top screed of a concrete floor, insulation board installed on top of the screed and directly under the heating will provide a thermal barrier and improve heating efficiency. Insulating floors in this way produces a real payback on your running costs.

FLOORHEATPRO also supply high quality German engineered 6mm and 10mm thick tilebacker boards but these are at a higher cost than XPS insulation sheet.

Tilebacker board is normally used to strengthen a wooden floor as well as insulate the sub-floor. However, when tiling on a concrete sub-floor the floor is already rigid and firm so the most economical thermal barrier is always with XPS.
Cement finished tile backer boards are suitable for both concrete and wooden floors and are available in 6mm and 10mm thickness. 10mm thick cement finished tile backer boards are used to strengthen a wooden floor, being waterproof and having greater stability than plywood.

Concrete floors without a thermal barrier will absorb around 30% of the heat energy downwards until stabilisation of the installed heat energy takes place. This is not a problem but the time taken for the heating to stabilise will be longer than a floor with insulation board placed directly under the heating.

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