Underfloor Heating with Our Flooring

We’re going to be asking Tom Bedford some questions to help resolve the myths around using underfloor heating with solid wooden floors.

Hi Tom, thanks for coming along today, I know you’re busy, but it would be great to ask you a few questions. Underfloor heating is becoming more and more popular, and I know a lot of your customers use your flooring over it. I hear you have laid it in your own home under your Character Oak and also Ash.

How much experience does UK Hardwoods have providing floors for underfloor heating?

“Over about 70% of our clients lay our flooring in conjunction with underfloor heating systems. With over 40 years experience, UK Hardwoods ltd can advise on laying your floor over underfloor heating, helping provide a solution to many home heating scenarios. 

My Parents, the founders of UK Hardwoods ltd (previously Bedford Timbers), Steven and Jonathy Bedford, first installed water based underfloor heating under our Oak flooring 40 years ago in our family home. A beautiful warmth spreads itself up through the boards warming your feet gently. 40 years later, and I have recently laid electric underfloor heating in our barn conversion, under UK Hardwoods flooring of course.”

So, would you advise me to use underfloor heating if I were renovating or building or simply just changing my floor?

“It’s up to the customer of course! We find we’re always fighting a small battle against misinformation into hardwood flooring and it’s relationship with underfloor heating. So many believe you can’t have solid wood flooring if using underfloor heating. Whereas the truth is we actually prefer people to use this method of heating, as it gives a low even heat distribution across the entire floor, as opposed to radiators.

If you are going to use underfloor heating, I would almost always suggest placing battens in the screed, to allow you to have a fixing for the boards. This makes laying the floor a lot easier.”

So why do so many people believe you can’t use solid wood flooring over underfloor heating? 

“It is a common misbelief that solid wood flooring can’t be used over underfloor heating that has been exaggerated by cheaper fast process firms, that then go on to market engineered or laminate flooring. Many customers, who have since chosen our flooring, were previously afraid of the boards ‘warping’ over time. Warping occurs as a result of 2 scenarios; High moisture conditions when laying, due to building works still drying, or a fast drying process at the beginning of the floorboards life, (tree to floorboards phase).”

pack of timber

What is the solution to this at UK Hardwoods?

“A slow drying Process of the tree to floorboard is essential and mitigates against any stresses which may occur as a result of quick drying.  Our process here can take over 2 years from tree to board. Time which consists of; 12-18 months air drying, 2-3 weeks kiln drying, acclimatised in shed of 11% moisture content before orders are prepared. For this latter point, we don’t expect people to acclimatise the boards in their home before laying, as we have acclimatised them already to typical house conditions. All we specify is that the sub floor and walls are completely dry when laying, and after.” 

Does underfloor heating result in cracks in the flooring?

“No, not at all. If the air humidity of our home is kept fairly neutral (this is between 30-60% RH relative humidity) then you shouldn’t experience any cracks within the flooring at all. It’s only if the floor surface is heated to that of about 30 degrees and over, that the air humidity would drop below 30%, coupled with poor aftercare of the timber and neglect minor cracks might be seen.”

Character Oak floor
Estate Range Real Wood Flooring

So it’s easily possible to have a warm toasty room, AND your flooring?

“Easily. Providing you have good insulation in your home, you can reach up to and over 20 degrees quite happily in air temperature. If you follow our guidance, and ask us questions, we’re always happy to help with any questions relating to underfloor heating.”

Thanks Tom, it has been really interesting to talk to you. Thanks for your time, I guess you have to get back to the sawmill now, but do you have anything else you would like to add?

No, just that we are always here to talk to, no problem is ever too big or too small. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a phone conversation, email info@ukhardwoods.co.uk or send us a message via our contact page.