Underfloor Heating Guide: Pros, Cons & Costs

Underfloor Heating

What’s in this guide?

Introduction

Why would you consider underfloor heating?

Perhaps you have read about them online and like the idea of cutting your heating costs?

You may have visited a home with underfloor heating and loved the feeling underfoot?

Or, you might like the idea of removing radiators from your home, which can be an eyesore and take up valuable wall space.

This guide will tell you about underfloor heating, from how much it will cost, the pros and cons as well as the different options available, so you can decide whether it is right for you.

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is where you use either pipes or electricity to produce heat underneath your floors so that it will be warm to the touch and as temperature rises, it will heat the entire room and any rooms above it.

The vast majority of houses aren’t built with underfloor heating, but some flats have this feature installed before they go up for sale.

Underfloor heating: Pros

✔Underfloor heating isn’t visible
✔The heat under all areas of the floor makes it more efficient
✔It will heat a much larger area
✔Underfloor heating uses less energy as it doesn’t require the temperature to be as high as radiators
✔You can install underfloor heating yourself
✔It works well with stone and tiles, making it accessible in bathrooms and kitchens

Underfloor heating: Cons

✗The cost; while the actual system may not cost a lot, the actual installation can be pricey
✗Underfloor heating takes a bit longer
✗They do not work well under certain types of flooring
✗It is not advised to use underfloor heating under the solid wooden flooring

The types of underfloor heating

There isn’t just one type of underfloor heating; instead, there are two; electric and water systems.

Check out the two different types below and what systems are available.

Electric

‘Dry’ systems use necessary heating cables, sometimes woven into mats that are linked together and then will be connected to the thermostat.

Three types of dry UFH:

The loose wire system is suitable for stone or tile floors; matting is ideal for stone or tile floors and large, a foil mat system.

Generally speaking, dry systems are much cheaper than wet systems and cause less disruption to your floor. They will heat your room a lot quicker, but they are more expensive to run than their ‘wet’ counterpart.

Water

‘Wet’ systems use pipes that are connected to your central heating system.

Luckily, any boiler can be used with underfloor heating as long as it has sufficient capacity, but it would be best if it were a condensing boiler.

The water is pumped through the pipes under the floor, most of the plastic pipes that are installed today are often continuous which means that they won’t leak, thanks to there not being any joints.

Usually, water systems are more expensive to install as sometimes it requires levelling the floor, but they are the most cost-effective solution to run.

If you are looking to heat a larger area, this might be the best solution for you.

Which floors are appropriate for underfloor heating?

Most flooring is appropriate for underfloor heating, thanks to the ‘wet’ and ‘dry options that are available.

  • Laminate flooring: A foil mat system.
  • Stone or tile: Loose wire system.
  • Wood: Foil heater system.

Costs & Installation

Although it does entirely depend on which underfloor heating system you choose, there are some general costs to consider.

An electric system will likely cost you £75 per square meter for underfloor heating mats, or £100 for loose cables.

Some further costs you may be able to expect are installation, insulation of the existing floor and heating controls.

Water systems will likely cost you more, with complete installation potentially costing you thousands of pounds, but they are more cost-effective to run.

Is an underfloor heating system for me?

This depends on what you want and what you can afford.

While having an underfloor system may realistically only save you £20 a year, for some customers the comfort level is worth the installation fees and running costs.

According to Property Price Advice, underfloor heating can add to the value of your property thanks to the luxury factor, so it may be worth looking into investing in this if you are planning on selling your property.

Conclusion

Have you got an underfloor heating system? Are you interested in taking a closer look at your energy and what you could be saving?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.