Installing heated hardwood floors can be a great way to add value to your home. Not only will it make your home more comfortable, but it can also increase the resale value.
In this article, we’ll discuss the cost of heated hardwood floors and what factors you need to consider when making your decision.
How Does Heated Flooring Work?
By heating the floor rather than the surrounding air, radiant floor heating systems generate heat through thermal radiation. They supply diffused, indirect heat by warming the floor rather than the surrounding air. The objects in the path of the electromagnetic waves absorb this heat, which then warms other items in the room. Thermal energy is transferred through electromagnetic waves throughout the atmosphere via radiation.
These electromagnetic waves contain potential energy until they come in contact with a solid object, such as flooring, furniture, etc., they release their energy in the form of heat. You, therefore, enjoy the benefit of the radiant heat, which is more evenly distributed than forced air heat, even when the surrounding air temperature is low.
Comfort is typically felt sooner and at a lower temperature with radiant heat. There is less air circulation, resulting in a consistent and pleasant temperature throughout the space.
Can Hardwood Floors Be Heated?
The short answer is “Yes!” There are a few factors that need to be considered when using underfloor heating with natural wood flooring: moisture, thickness and density, and method of installation.
While the wood will not be harmed by the heat produced by underfloor heating systems, changes in moisture content will cause it to shift in various ways. Hardwood flooring that has been properly dried to a humidity level between 6 and 9 percent will avoid excessive movement.
The thickness and density of the wood have an impact not only on how quickly it heats up, but also on its efficiency. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding the thickness of the wood for underfloor heating, we advise utilizing wood with a maximum thickness of 18mm, since any thicker would interfere with the heating system’s performance.
In addition, boards that are wider often exhibit more “movement” than those that are narrower and made of the same materials. For this reason, we recommend a thickness to width ratio in the realm of 7:11. A board with dimensions 16mm x 160mm would have a ratio of 10 and be considered ideal.
It is recommended that solid or engineered hardwood flooring nailed or stapled down be installed on sleepers that provide space between the finished flooring and the subflooring to allow a heating mat to be installed between.
As with any flooring, check the requirements of the manufacturer as it relates to underfloor radiant heat before purchasing and installing.
How Much Does it Cost to Heat Hardwood Floors?
The actual cost will include factors such as:
- The type of system installed – hydronic or electric
- Whether sleeper boards are needed before installing the flooring
- Overall size of the system
- Available labor force qualified to perform the installation
Types of Radiant Floor Heating
There are two types of underfloor heating systems in use today: hydronic and electric. Hydronic systems use heated water pumped through piping under the flooring, and electric radiant flooring uses electric heating cables. Which system you choose depends on many factors, but the main issue is available space. Hydronic systems can add inches to the existing floor height, so they are better utilized in new construction where the extra height can be accommodated. Electric systems can add as little as 1/2″ to existing floor height, making them the best for remodeling applications.
Electric systems range in price from $8 to $15 per square foot, while hydronic systems range from $6 to $20 per square foot. Since the electric system may be installed as mats, it is less expensive. When it comes to running costs, however, the hydronic system spends less on power, since water retains heat longer.
Don’t get so absorbed with the costs of installation that you forget to factor in the cost of operating each sort of system. The source of heat will impact the price: geothermal, solar, propane, and electric all have varying prices. In addition to the size of the flooring you want to install radiant heating on, the type of flooring you choose may also influence its cost.
Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating can be set to a specific temperature and programmed with a thermostat, making it easy to operate. They require almost no upkeep and are available with extended warranties.
A large room with high ceilings and no windows can require up to five times more energy than a smaller one. Since they consume less power, electric radiant floor heating systems may help you save money on your power bills. Electric radiant floor heating systems cut heating costs by 15% in most cases due to their efficiency.
Since radiant floor heating is located underneath your flooring, it opens up space on your walls that would traditionally be taken up by radiators.
6iE Smart Thermostat
The 6iE Smart WiFi Thermostat is the first underfloor heating controller with a smartphone touchscreen. It includes cutting-edge technology to maximize the energy efficiency of a Warmup system, which can lower your utility bills by up to $500.
The 6iE doesn’t need programming and takes advantage of Warmup’s most up-to-date innovations to ensure your home is always at the proper temperature, and at the correct time, when you need it.
Can Laminate Floors Be Heated, Too?
Laminate floors, including hardwood laminates, are great for radiant floor heating systems, but Warmup recommends using their foil heating system rather than the mats, and in some cases can be used with the Warmup Foil heating system eliminating the need for thinset or leveler.
Take Advantage of Radiant Floor Heating Under Hardwood Floors with Warmup
Warmup is a leading designer and manufacturer of electric radiant floor heating systems, with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Our systems are designed to be easy to operate and provide efficient heat for your home. We offer a wide range of products that can be tailored to your specific needs, and our experts are available to help you select the system that is best for you.
To learn more about heated hardwood floors and the many benefits that radiant floor heating offers, visit our website or get a quote today.