Creating coziness and comfortable modern environment in your own home is one of the tasks that we solve throughout our lives. Overhaul in our homes is often associated with the desire to equip new communications, to make the main structural elements of residential premises practical, beautiful and comfortable. In this regard, it will be interesting to consider a combination of new technologies and new finishing materials. Underfloor heating is a heating system, which today is considered one of the most efficient and practical interacts with floor coverings. Among all currently used floor finishing materials, laminate is in the first position.
How do underfloor heating and laminate flooring actually fit together? Laying laminate on a warm floor is a fairly common phenomenon in private housing construction. Consumers are captivated by the fact that a water heated floor under a laminate is able to solve the problem of heating residential premises and, at the same time, is distinguished by high aesthetic data. The installation technology of underfloor heating with water heating circuits with laminated flooring is not particularly difficult. Everyone can do such work in their own home, eventually getting a beautiful floor and an efficient heating system.
Laminated warm floor. Peculiarities
The principle of operation of a warm floor is the ability to heat the surface of the floor due to the heat transferred by the coolant. As a result of the interaction of the heating circuit laid in the floor and surfaces, the internal space of the heated room is heated. The system circulates a coolant with a certain temperature (up to 500C), but on top of the pipeline lies a concrete screed and flooring. Concrete has excellent thermal conductivity, so the screed performs not only a constructive function in a residential building, but also has the largest heating surface. The heat from the concrete screed is evenly distributed throughout the room.
In order for the operation of the heating system to be effective and efficient, it is important to choose a floor covering that meets the necessary requirements in this case. Here it is already necessary to take into account not only the beauty and aesthetic data of the material, but also its technological characteristics. Traditionally, a warm water floor, the contour of which is the main working tool, is hidden in a concrete screed or in a floor structure. Therefore, on the prepared surface, you can safely lay a laminate specially made for a warm water floor. Such a coating will immediately give the room a presentable look, make your contact with the floor pleasant to the touch.
What are the features of laminate floor heating?
Laminate is a type of wood flooring, but compared to conventional boards and parquet, it has better technological characteristics.
On a note: despite the fact that many consider laminate to be an unsuitable material for underfloor heating, its latest modifications produced by foreign companies have qualitatively improved the overall picture.
Here it is worth mentioning two main aspects that are put forward by opponents of the use of wood-containing materials for finishing hot water floors.
- First aspect. The reason for this skepticism is that this material is 90% wood based. Wood, as you know, does not have a high thermal conductivity, so when working with a warm water floor, there may be problems with heat transfer. The water circuit heats the screed, which in turn gives off heat to the floor covering. At this stage, it already becomes clear whether the floor surface is heated enough or most of the heat is captured and absorbed by the laminated board.
- Second aspect. The next point to which opponents of the use of laminate as a flooring appeal is harmful phenolic fumes. Here we can partly agree. Modifications of the material used for floor finishing contain formaldehyde. When heated, formaldehyde begins to evaporate intensively into the surrounding space, which can cause significant harm to the inhabitants of the home. However, in the case of underfloor heating, the situation does not look so critical. Especially for this heating option, a coating is produced that contains harmful substances and components in minimal quantities.
In order to avoid trouble in the future, when purchasing a laminate, you need to look at its marking.
Having omitted the cons and betting on this material, we can say that there will be more advantages in the future.
The laminate has a smaller thickness compared to a wooden board, however, due to the production technology, the density of the material is quite high and, accordingly, the strength is high, at least 900 kg / m2. Covered with a special film, the material is sufficiently resistant to moisture, both from below and from the outside, on the front side. The laminating layer gives the product a special gloss and respectability, complementing the beautiful pattern.
Nuances in terms of selecting the optimal brand of material
With thickness, the situation is more or less clear. It remains only to figure out which laminate is suitable for use with underfloor heating. Laying laminate on a warm floor will be successful if you purchase material with the appropriate marking.
Today, most products that are specifically designed to interact with warm water floors are labeled «Warm wasser», which literally means «hot water». The figure shows the icons that can be found on products offered today in the distribution network.
Underfloor heating laminate must be compatible with underfloor heating options. Usually, next to the marking icon, the value of the recommended heating temperature of the material is placed. As a rule, it is 27-280FROM.
When purchasing material, pay attention to the contents of the accompanying documentation. Usually, manufacturers write in the passport the desired types of heating equipment, methods and intensity of heating.
Important! Do not use a laminate designed for lining a warm electric floor in combination with water heated floors. The same principle is valid in reverse. Electric and water floors are tiled only with tiles specially made for each type of heating.
Thermal resistance coefficient
Do not omit the heat-insulating properties of facing materials. Also, as an important parameter, pay attention to the thermal resistance of the material (thermal resistence). For hot water floors, laminated boards are specially produced with acceptable parameters for heat transfer. The higher the coefficient of thermal resistance, the more the laminate will retain heat. It is necessary to lay a warm floor using a substrate, which also has its own coefficient of thermal resistance.
For example: you purchased a laminate with a coefficient of 0.051 m2x K/W. The substrate has a coefficient of 0.049 m2xK /W. As a result, we have a total thermal resistance value of 0.1 m2hK/W. This value is in accordance with accepted standards. The total thermal resistance value for a laminate flooring with European standards should not be more than 0.15 m2hK/W.
The thermal resistance index directly depends on the density and thickness of the material. For water heated floors, it is recommended to use tiles whose thickness does not exceed 8-10 mm. Neglect of technological parameters can lead to the fact that the lower part of the material will overheat, which will result in damage to the floor covering.
The last aspect to pay attention to is the class of the material.
In this regard, the picture is as follows. The higher the class, the better the quality of the material, the less its surface is subject to abrasion. It should be noted that under the influence of the heating circuit, the laminate is in a complex physical state, so it would be better if the tiles on the warm water floor are made with materials of class 32 or 33.
As a rule, all products marked accordingly for underfloor heating have the required strength class.
There is another important detail that you should pay attention to when buying material, the area of \u200b\u200buse. Not every material will be equally suitable for flooring in different premises.
Heated premises are conditionally divided into three zones:
- Sleeping area — rest rooms, bedrooms;
- Working area — kitchen, pantry;
- Transit zone — Korilo, entrance hall;
- Recreation and relaxation area — balconies, loggias, bathroom.
In each individual case, a certain type of material is selected, on which there are corresponding marks. The division takes place according to the class and the level of formaldehyde content.
The proposed video tells in great detail about how to choose the right laminate and for what purposes:
Laying laminate on the finished screed. Features and nuances
Despite the fact that the installation of a water heating floor is already a laborious and painstaking task in itself, laying the finishing floor covering becomes important. Not only the aesthetic condition of your home and the level of comfort, but also the efficiency of the heating system depends on what material you use.
On a note: the slightest technological violations at the time of laying the water circuit can lead to uneven heating of the floor surface. Accordingly, the «capricious» laminate will behave differently on such areas of the floor surface.
When considering the installation of underfloor heating, it is important to determine in advance which method is right for you, under a screed or using a flooring system. In the first option, you will have to lay the finishing floor covering on the finished surface of the mature screed, in the second case, the laminate is laid on the prepared stacked structure. It’s worth noting right away. Both in the first case and in the second, a perfectly flat surface is required for the normal behavior of the laminated plates.
Laying a hot water floor under a concrete screed looks preferable and is very convenient in cases where the design of a residential building allows you to equip the heating system in this way. For wooden houses, where there is a wooden floor base and wooden floors, you will have to limit yourself to a flooring system. The load created by the concrete screed (according to calculations, this is about 3-4 tons for an average room) will be critical for wooden floors.
Important! Laminated plates are laid only after starting the heating system. Within 2-3 days, the heating is checked in all operating modes, the condition of the screed is assessed.
The methods of laying laminate on both surfaces are fundamentally the same. There are only a number of technological subtleties, the observance of which will provide you with a beautiful, and at the same time, warm floor. A set of plates is carried out from one corner of the room towards adjacent corners, along the entire perimeter of the heated room.
Recall these subtleties:
First. Laminate underfloor heating should not be covered with carpets and sticks, thereby not creating overheating of the floor covering. For the same reason, it is not recommended to install furniture on the floor in places where heating circuits pass. Try to avoid using underfloor heating with laminate flooring in areas where radiators are located close to each other.
Second. By relying on laminate as the main flooring, try to solve the problem with the ventilation of the floor surface. For these purposes, when laying the plates at the interface with the walls, a gap of 10-12 mm is left. The gap is subsequently easily closed with a decorative plinth.
Third. In order for your laminate to behave adequately to the environment inside the heated room, install several thermostats on the heating equipment that can prevent overheating of the water circuit and, accordingly, the entire floor surface.
Fourth. Before installation, the floor material is placed in a heated room for adaptation. The plates in a short time will gain the necessary moisture, get used to a stable temperature. Such a procedure will certainly affect the quality and speed of assembly of the floor covering.
In conclusion, I would like to say the following. The performance of a “warm water floor” home heating system that interacts with laminate flooring is quite successful and efficient. Observing all the rules and features of laying technology, adhering to strict material selection criteria, you yourself can guarantee the necessary comfort and coziness inside the heated room.
Do not experiment with laminate flooring. Overheating, flooding with water can adversely affect the quality of your floor. If you want to have beautiful and pleasant to the touch floors in the house, make sure that the indoor humidity is not lower than 50-60%.