What is an Underfloor Heating Mat?
Installing underfloor heating was typically an involved process that meant meticulously laying the heating pipes or wiring across the area that you intend to heat before laying your flooring down. That was before the underfloor heating mat. Underfloor heating mats remove the need to manually place the heating elements by putting them into one neat package that ready to lay down as easily as any flooring. Once installed, a previously chilly-feeling space can feel cosy and comfortable underfoot. Especially if that foot is bare and the floor is stone!
The Advantages of an Underfloor Heating Mat
The advantages of a radiant electric heating system are clear; they can turn a cold floor into something you can comfortably walk around barefoot on. Due to the nature of heat-and specifically hot air-underfloor heating is more effective than other forms of heating. The warmth is released gradually and rises, as opposed to being transferred directly into the air where it can rush upwards and not thoroughly heat the space. Underfloor heating mats are particularly useful in rooms with high ceilings, where a lot of heat energy (and, consequently, money) gets wasted as hot air rushes into that space high above, providing little to no benefit.
The advantages of underfloor heating mats go beyond ease of installation, however. The mats are designed to be low profile, meaning they cause as little uplift to your floor as possible. The heating wires are already laid out with the optimal spacing, making them efficient at heating the area around them and, thus, cheaper to run than alternatives. The mat’s come in clear and understandable sizes, making it far easier to determine how much you need to cover a specific space, which is not always the case when laying the heating elements down by hand.
What Kind of Flooring Works Well With Underfloor Heating Mats?
Most flooring can work with underfloor heating mats. The better question to ask is which ones should be used. For example, carpets are not great at transferring heat, but they are also comfortable underfoot naturally. It’s not often that someone steps on a carpet barefoot and marvels at how cold it feels. These two factors make carpet a poor choice for underfloor heating mats, as what little heat does transfer would is wasted on a surface that didn’t need it.
The best flooring for use with an underfloor heating mat system is one that transfers heat efficiently from the mat to the surface of the floor. The very best example of this-if we limit our options to standard types of flooring, of course-is ceramic and stone tiles. Polished screed and resin floors are also very good at transferring heat. Vinyl, linoleum, and polished wood are all quite good for heat transference, but not as good as stone, ceramic, and resin. It is a happy coincidence that the flooring types that most effectively transfer heat are the ones that benefit the most. For example, stone flooring is very good at heat transference and is also one of the coldest floors to walk on unheated.