How To Install Underfloor Heating On Concrete Floor?

How To Install Underfloor Heating On Concrete Floor?

Getting out of bed on a chilly winter morning and feeling a warm, cosy floor beneath your feet. That’s the wonder of underfloor heating systems, a comfy and practical way to warm up your home from the bottom up. Adding underfloor heating is also a fancy touch for your home, but it’s more budget-friendly now for those wanting extra warmth.

Underfloor heating systems work well with various flooring types, like wood, laminate, stone, and even carpet. If you’re thinking about adding it to an existing concrete floor, that’s doable, too. Besides, concrete floors are good at holding heat, making them a great match for this particular project.

While concrete is sturdy, you should be cautious to avoid messing it up by installing the underfloor heating system incorrectly. Also, make sure you insulate properly before placing the underfloor heating, or it won’t work as it should. With the right tools, the installation process is quite simple, and you can finish it in no time.

Read more: How To Insulate Concrete Floor?

Preparing for Underfloor Heating Installation on a Concrete Floor

Before you begin installing underfloor heating on a concrete floor, you’ll need to complete several essential preparatory tasks. It’s a good idea to explore different options for the system so you can plan the installation, estimate the time it will take, and calculate the cost. Anyone with electrical and plumbing skills can handle the installation. If you lack these skills, it’s best to hire a professional.

To prepare, start by ensuring your home is well insulated, including windows, walls, and the attic. Further, drafty windows and inadequate insulation can negate your energy bill savings. Without proper insulation, your underfloor heating won’t perform as efficiently because heat will escape through:

  • Walls
  • Gaps around windows
  • The roof, especially if the attic lacks sufficient insulation.

Before you consider installing underfloor heating, check that the existing concrete floor is solid, crack-free, level, and, ideally, has a smooth finish. If it’s deteriorating, it may need replacement or a few repairs. Thoroughly clean the floor surface to make it dry and free of grease. Additionally, before you start with your project, verify that you have all the necessary components to complete the job.

Do you have any doubts? It’s advisable to seek assistance from a professional underfloor heating specialist.

Read more: Install Damp Proof Membrane On Concrete Floor

Let’s Get Started!

Prepare the Floor

When setting up underfloor heating, you have two options:

  • Water underfloor heating
  • Electric underfloor heating

Yes, the latter is the simpler and faster choice!

Start by removing the skirting boards and room doors, which will need modification to accommodate the higher floor level. Before laying any pipework, you must place insulation boards over the concrete floor.

Read more: Lay Vinyl Flooring On Concrete

Cutting the Boards

Ensure that insulation boards are laid flush against the internal walls for both underfloor heating systems. These boards are typically made from polystyrene or polyurethane and can be easily trimmed with a sharp knife. Now, you can tape any gaps between the boards with insulating board tape.

Without insulation boards, most of the heat will be absorbed by the concrete floor beneath, with very little warmth reaching the surface.

Placing the Heating Pipes

Next, proceed to position the heating pipes, securing them on top of the insulation boards. These coils should be placed near one another to guarantee an even distribution of heat.

To prevent chilly areas, maintain their proximity.

Read more: How To Clean Concrete

Applying the Floating Screed

If everything checks out, the next step is to cover the pipework with a layer of screed. This mixture, known as a floating screed, is a blend of sharp sand and cement mixed in a 1-to-4 ratio. It serves a dual purpose as:

  • An insulator
  • A foundation for the final floor covering

It’s advisable to plan this phase so that you have enough time to apply the screed to the entire pipework installation in one go rather than working on small sections at a time.

  • For underfloor heating where the concrete floor serves as the sub-base, the floating screed should be around 65 mm to 75 mm thick. As you lay the mixture, maintain a 6-bar pressure in the pipework.
  • Further, Mix the dry screed with water and a plasticizer to make it more manageable. Be careful not to step on the pipework during this stage.
  • Use a finishing trowel to work the screed between the pipes, ensuring each pipe section is uniformly covered to the same depth.
  • It is time to employ a wooden batten or another straight edge to level everything before compacting and smoothing it with the trowel. The goal is to achieve a smooth and even surface. If you encounter difficulty getting the level, add a thin layer of levelling compound.
  • Following this, you’ll need to allow the screed to set. Typically, it takes up to 48 hours to cure, but it can take as long as 100 days to fully dry and be ready for the final surface covering.
  • If needed, you can use an accelerator to expedite the drying process. But confirm with the supplier that it’s suitable for the job at hand

Read more: How To Seal Concrete Floor?

Floor Coverings

Once the surface of the floor screed has fully cured, you can install your preferred final floor covering.

  • Ceramic and stone tiles are recommended due to their high thermal conductivity. It is needed for underfloor heating systems.
  • Polished screed and resin are also favoured for the same reason.
  • Linoleum, vinyl, solid, and engineered wood have a high heat transfer capability, while carpets and rugs are considered to have moderate heat conductivity.

Read more: Use Ready Mix Concrete For Any Construction Project

Some Things You Should Keep in Mind

Use a Perimeter Joint

Incorporate a perimeter joint around the floor area to lock in permanently so that everything remains securely in place. This safeguard helps maintain the integrity of the insulation, the heating system, and the concrete applied on top.

Prevent Concrete Cracking

Concrete is prone to cracking if it dries too quickly. To prevent this, maintain proper room ventilation and lightly spray the concrete with water a couple of times each day during the first week after pouring.

Consult a Concrete Specialist

Do you have any concerns about the concrete installation or the underfloor system? It’s wise to seek advice from a concrete specialist. These experts possess the knowledge and experience needed to guide you in achieving a flawless concrete installation.

Enlist Experienced Heating Engineers

Are you confident about everything except the heating system installation? Hiring experienced heating engineers to handle the task for you is the answer. The last thing you want is to complete the work and discover issues requiring tearing up the new flooring.

Further, retrofitting underfloor heating can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to seek assistance!

Read more: Lay a Concrete Floor with Insulation

Ending Notes

Concrete floors offer excellent heat conductivity and the remarkable ability to retain warmth long after the heating system is switched off. This is due to their high-density composition, which enables concrete to efficiently absorb and store heat.

If you find yourself in need of guidance or have questions concerning the installation of underfloor heating on a concrete floor, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of knowledgeable professionals.

Pro-Mix Concrete is here to provide the advice and assistance you require to guarantee a successful and efficient underfloor heating system installation on your concrete floor. Your comfort and satisfaction are our top priorities, and we are committed to helping you make the most of your DIY projects with anything related to concrete.