Posted on 10/29/2012
Radiant heating systems are fast becoming the premier heating choice of the green revolution. More efficient than forced hot air and better for air quality, using minimal electricity and concentrated on using all natural convection currents to heat rooms, radiant floor heating is a great way to update your home for the eco-friendly 21st century. But as green and cost-efficient as radiant floor heating is, the systems don't work across the board with all flooring types. Consider this list of the three great floors for radiant heat and what each of them brings to the table.
1. Ceramic tile
This is, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most common and effective of floor coverings when it comes to radiant heat. Ceramic tiles both conduct and store heat well. Porcelain and stone react much the same way, largely because each is very resistant to warping in shape and won't crack the way solid wood can.
Carpeting has long been a great choice for keeping the feet warm when it comes to flooring, and it's no exception here. With the combo of radiant floor heating and a carpet, your feet are sure to be comfortable, but the carpet itself won't conduct heat or let the convection currents do their work quite as well as other materials. Keep both carpet padding and thickness in mind when installing radiant floor heating to make sure you get the most out of your system.
3. Laminate wood
Rather than using solid wood, laminate and engineered wood flooring is preferable because they reduce the possibility of wood shrinking or expanding based on temperature, which could lead to cracking and splintering. When raising the thermostat on your radiant heat system, do so gradually to avoid a sudden fluctuation in temperature that your wood flooring would be more likely to react to.
Engineered hardwood is preferable to solid wood, because rather than being a thick piece of timber, it's made up of stacked layers of wood, making it less likely to alter its shape with changes in temperature. Wood species can also make a difference, with bamboo - a popular and sustainable choice for those interested in radiant heat's green qualities - being a popular option. Speak with your flooring manufacturer about your radiant heat options when reflooring your home.
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