Some foil systems advertise that they can be used with laminate and some specifically warn against it.
Underfloor Heating Systems
An electric system (radiant heating), which is commonly referred to as a dry system is generally used in renovations due to installation being, in comparison, more straightforward.
A water system is a hydronic system and is commonly referred to as a wet system. This type of underfloor heating is most common in newbuilds.
A wet system basically pumps warm water through pipes laid within the subfloor, whereas a dry system uses electric coils to create heat.
Both wet (water) and dry (electric) underfloor heating systems can be used with laminate.
If you are in any doubt you should reach out to the manufacturer and follow their guidelines.
Planning Your Laminate Project
When installing laminate over underfloor heating it is strongly advised that you never opt for laminate flooring that is thicker than 18mm. Thicker laminate boards will affect the heat transfer from your heating system.
When combining underfloor heating with laminate, you should ensure that the overall thermal resistance does not exceed 0.15m² K/W. Anything over this will decrease your floor’s efficiency to heat up the room.
To ensure you do not exceed this I would suggest reaching out to the manufacturer of your heating for advice during the planning stages of your flooring project.
They should provide you with advice on suitable laminate and what underlay would be most suitable for their system.
Regardless of the system, your laminate flooring should always be installed as “floating” and not glued or nailed down.
Installing Laminate Over Underfloor Heating
To install laminate over your underfloor heating you will want to have your heating running for at least 6 consecutive days.
Once installed it is recommended to always change the heating gradually, and not to simply switch this on and off, you should also make sure the temperature never exceeds 27°C (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
You will need to acclimate your flooring within the room for at least 48 hours before the installation and keep the heating on for a further 48 hours once you have completed the installation.
Use The Right Underlayment
At this stage you should already be clear that the only foolproof method of ensuring your underfloor heating is compatible with laminate flooring is to contact the manufacturer and when deciding on the right underlayment this should become even more apparent.
Underfloor heating manufacturers will almost always recommend a certain type of underlayment to be used with their system – pay attention, there are normally sound scientific reasonings for this and could affect any future warranty claim that you may look to make.
You will almost always need to use a moisture barrier (vapor barrier) as well as underlay, this is because underfloor heating is more often than not within a screed bed. A moisture test is also recommended to ensure that your floor does not exceed the recommended levels. This is especially true with new builds or houses that have recently had new flooring laid (including a new underfloor system installed).
I would strongly advise reaching out to both the manufacturer of your underfloor heating and the manufacturer of the Laminate flooring you propose to install.
Outline your plans to the underfloor heating manufacturer, and request advice with regards to whether it is advisable to install laminate flooring while using their system, what underlay you should use, and ask whether they have any further information they can provide with regards to how best to go about your project.
Once you have received the above information and have chosen a preferred laminate flooring supplier, reach out to the manufacturer of the flooring and discuss your project requesting feedback and suggestions.
Keep any responses from these companies in case you may need them in the future.
Learned something? why not read our full guide on how to successfully install laminate flooring!