When most people think about heated floors, they picture heated tile in a bathroom. Tile is the most popular flooring type to heat, but it’s not the only option. Radiant heating systems can be installed under nearly every flooring type — including more sensitive ones such as laminate.
Laminate flooring is becoming more and more competitive with hardwood flooring thanks to its high-quality look and budget-friendly price. As a result, homeowners interested in heated floors will want to read up on electric radiant heat under laminate floors, including operation, installation and cost.
Can I Put Laminate Flooring over a Radiant Heating System?
Typically, yes, but you’ll want to double check with the flooring manufacturer to confirm. WarmlyYours Radiant Heating specifically designed its Environ™ floor-heating system to be strong enough to heat a room but gentle enough to work under sensitive floor types like laminate. The electric floor-heating mats feature a reinforced, laminated aluminum foil that protects the flooring above from the heat of the cable.
If you’re concerned about warping your laminate floors by overheating them, a floor-heating thermostat can help ease your worry. Programmable thermostats, like the nSpire Touch, typically come with a setting for laminate flooring so the temperature won’t go higher than the flooring will tolerate.
How to Install Laminate Flooring with Electric Floor Heating
To install electric floor heating under laminate flooring, you’ll need WarmlyYours’s Environ™ heating mats, a thermostat with a sensor wire, underlayment, a digital ohmmeter, duct tape, and a utility knife.
Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor.
Before you do anything, you need to make sure your subfloor is clean and clear of any debris like nails and staples.
Step 2: Test the Heating Element.
Next, use your digital ohmmeter to test the heating element from core wire to core wire. Record the Ohm reading on the mat’s UL label and on your custom installation plan (provided by WarmlyYours). The Ohm reading should be within a plus or minus 15 percent variance of the Ohm value already noted on the UL tag. Then, measure the continuity between the core wire and the ground wire. The reading should be O/L or infinity.
Step 3: Install the Underlayment.
If your Ohm readings check out, it’s time to install the underlayment. You can select cork or synthetic cork underlayment. Each option comes in square or rectangular sheets that should be staggered so that the seams don’t overlap. Instead of adhering these sheets to the ground, you’ll simply tape them to each other so that they’re “floating” above the subfloor just like your laminate flooring will be.
Step 4: Install the Floor Heating Mats.
Unroll your Environ™ floor-heating mats and position them on top of the underlayment. Before adhering the mats to the subfloor, confirm that all cold lead wires will reach the thermostat or junction box when positioned correctly. If so, you can secure the heating mats to the underlayment with tape. Cut a ½-inch channel in the underlayment where the cold lead will go. Also cut out a channel for the floor sensor. The sensor should be placed 6 inches into the mat, directly centered between the heating wires (not overlapping them) using tape. Once this is done, perform a second Ohms test.
Step 5: Install the Laminate Flooring.
Once you’ve successfully installed the electric floor heating, it’s time for the laminate flooring installation. Install the laminate wood floor per the manufacturer recommendations. Once the flooring is completely installed, perform a third Ohms test and record the results on your Warranty Registration Card.
Step 6: Connect the Electrical.
Finally, connect the heating mats to your thermostat following the instructions provided in the thermostat manual. We do recommend that your thermostat is installed by a licensed, certified electrician.
Best Rooms for Heated Laminate Floors
Heated laminate floors are generally most popular in bedrooms and kitchens. Wherever you would typically put hardwood or engineered hardwood floors, you can put heated laminate floors — even in bathrooms.
Bathroom Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is becoming more and more popular in bathrooms because of new advances from flooring manufacturers. Today’s laminate has come a long way from its water-sensitive past. For instance, Pergo developed a new line of laminate called Outlast+, which is susceptible to liquid spills for 24 hours. The flooring uses patented UniClic locking technology to prevent water from infiltrating the space between the planks, which would cause the flooring to expand and bubble. The make all of the laminate flooring waterproof, installers can opt to seal the edges of the floor by the baseboard.
With more durable laminate available for water-prone rooms like bathrooms, installing radiant floor heat under laminate has never been more desirable.
Floor Heating Costs for Laminate Flooring
To find out how much it would cost to heat the laminate flooring in your home, check out WarmlyYours’s Operating Cost Calculator.
The Environ™ floor-heating system itself costs between $10 and $12 per square foot.
To calculate the cost of the system needed for your specific room, get an instant quote by using WarmlyYours’s Radiant Heat Cost Calculator