Understanding the basics of underfloor heating isn’t always easy due to the numerous factors that need to be considered for each individual project. Tile and stone protection specialists Schlüter-Systems have put together a brief overview to help in selecting the most suitable option for each individual project.
Hydronic underfloor heating
Hydronic (or ‘wet’) systems are suitable for large scale coverage and whole-house scenarios. Designed to heat the air within a room as well as the surface covering, they are a primary heat source and can therefore replace radiators, connecting directly to a boiler. Although installation is more expensive than with an electric system, running costs are cheaper. Hydronic systems can be powered by several different fuel sources, including ground source heat pumps, and as well as warming a space can also be used for gentle passive cooling during the summer months.
Schlüter’s BEKOTEC-THERM is a hydronic underfloor heating solution with what the company describes as an ultra-low construction height. A screed height of just 8mm above the studs of the panels is all that’s required, which is said to result in quicker warm-up times as well as considerable material and weight savings in comparison to other wet systems. A building can also be put into use more rapidly, the company says, as there is no need to wait weeks for the screed to cure before tiles are installed.
Electric underfloor heating
Electric systems are suitable for providing additional comfort in specific areas or rooms. There are a couple of reasons why electric systems are best used in this way, namely the cost of electricity and the characteristics of the heating experience. An electric system is designed to raise the temperature of the surface rather than the room, so is an enhancement to as opposed to a replacement for a primary heat source. They are generally cheaper to install, quick to warm up and easy to retrofit.
Schlüter’s DITRA-HEAT-E is an integrated electric solution for the heating and protection of tile and stone coverings. The uncoupling matting is designed to prevent cracks in the finished installation and eliminates the need for self-levelling, and its studded design means the cable is easily pressed into place with no need for tape, glue or measurement, the company says. Provision of the mat and cable as separate elements means that the heating system can be custom designed around the features of a room, helping to ensure the most efficient use of materials and saving on running costs.