Underfloor heating, unlike other, more traditional types of heating, is by far the most efficient and economical. Despite the fact that in most cases, homeowners are scared off by the very thought of a complex installation of a heating system of this kind, underfloor heating can radically change your idea of ​​\u200b\u200bhow to heat residential premises.

The main problem with underfloor heating is that many people imagine a warm water floor as a heating system that is inextricably linked with the arrangement of a new concrete screed. However, the technologies of our time have stepped forward significantly and today the screed is no longer a stumbling block for craftsmen. There are a number of ways that you can use when laying a water floor to do without heavy wet work associated with the preparation and pouring of concrete. What are the options for installing water floors without concrete screed equipment? Let’s consider these methods in more detail.

Is there an alternative to concrete screed?

Usually, we associate the laying of a water circuit for a warm floor with the installation of a new concrete screed. Is it really necessary to solve this difficult task at home, to engage in laborious and large-scale work. Logically, in order to protect the pipes of the heating system laid on the floor from damage and to give the entire structure the necessary rigidity and strength, it is necessary to create a solid and massive cast structure. If you are the owner of a private house and just played a housewarming party yesterday, there are no questions. The best option for installing a warm water floor is to fill a new screed.

The situation looks completely different in situations where you want to make a similar heating system on the upper floors of a private house or in a city apartment.

On a note: overlap is one of the main load-bearing structures of multi-storey buildings. When designing a building and during the construction process, it is necessary to calculate the strength of the floors. A conventional screed in itself creates a certain load on the floor panels. What can I say in those cases when, together with a warm floor, you create an additional load of several hundred kilograms on the existing floor by installing a new screed. There is an excessive load on the supporting structure, which is fraught with unpleasant consequences.


It should also take into account the fact that the new screed will significantly reduce the height of the ceilings in living rooms.

These factors become an obstacle to the implementation of the technological possibility to install heating at home according to the «warm floor» scheme. However, in this case there is a successful, convenient and practical option — an alternative to traditional technology. A water heated floor without a screed is today a fairly common technology that has recently become quite widespread. The engineering solution is to use ready-made materials that fit into a kind of pie through which the pipes of the heating circuit pass. In a professional environment, such systems — structures are called floor (dry).

This technology is very well suited for residential premises that are not designed for laying a new screed. Usually these are inter-apartment floors, attic floors. Floor systems are versatile and can be used in almost any situation.

On a note: giving preference to the flooring system as an alternative to a concrete screed, you really save your own money, both on the work itself and on materials. All work will take much less time. The absence of dirt, which involuntarily accompanies concrete work, also means a lot.

What are the flooring system options?


Among the existing options for installing a warm floor without arranging a screed, two are common:

  • polystyrene system;
  • wooden system.

Each of the proposed options has its pros and cons. In the first case, the main component is polystyrene plates, which already have a soldered water circuit. Such slabs can be laid directly on the concrete base of the ceiling or a wooden floor, wooden logs can be used for this purpose.

For reference: The polystyrene floor heating system is considered the lightest, therefore it can be used in wooden buildings and apartments in multi-storey residential buildings. A concrete screed with a height of 50 cm has a weight of 200-250 kg. per 1 m2. Based on the standard living area of ​​16-20 m2, we get: 20 x 250 \u003d 5000 kg. (5 tons!)

Another system — wooden, involves the use of special modules made from chipboard. Each module has special grooves (grooves) for laying the heating circuit. Lay the structure both on a rough concrete floor and on a plank floor.

The polystyrene system allows you to use a wide variety of finishing materials, such as parquet or laminate. In this situation, they can be laid directly on polystyrene plates. When working with tiles or carpet, before laying them on polystyrene panels, make a layer of chipboard or drywall. With a wooden system, the situation looks somewhat different. Before laying laminate or parquet, it will be necessary to lay galvanized plates.

On a note: so that the parquet does not click and creak, under it it is necessary to make a substrate of foamed polyethylene.

Conditions for equipment dry, deck construction

If you decide to make a warm water floor in your house, evaluate the full scale of the work ahead and the conditions under which wet screed equipment is impossible. The conditions under which a dry screed will be a good way out of this situation are as follows:

  • limited height of the interior;
  • insufficient strength of interfloor ceilings.

For example: in your house or apartment, the ceiling height is less than standard values ​​​​(240-250 cm). Any addition of 5-7 cm as the thickness of the new screed will be critical to the level of comfort. As for the additional weight that will be the load on the existing floor, this is the most important condition. For country houses, frame and panel buildings, this condition is critical. The decking system is significantly lighter, only 30 kg/m2.

Compared to wet screed, dry, underfloor heating systems have a number of advantages. Simple and fast installation, which is free from the wet process. Light weight, which averages 30 kg/m2 allows you to create structures without overloading interfloor panels. Due to the small thickness of the cake (only 35-60 cm), the optimal height of the ceilings in the interior is maintained. Both systems, both polystyrene and wood, perfectly withstand temperature changes, have good heat and sound insulation.

Most of these systems can be successfully used in country houses and temporary buildings. If desired, such a warm floor can be easily dismantled.

The only significant disadvantage of such systems: poor resistance to moisture. Therefore, when laying polystyrene and wooden systems, do not forget about the installation of a waterproofing layer.

Polystyrene underfloor heating system


Let’s start with the fact that special preparation for the installation of a polystyrene floor heating system is not required. You can mount the plates on a ready-made concrete base, on a plank, wooden floor. Due to the lightness of the construction itself, the polystyrene system can be installed in frame and panel houses. The structure in this case looks like this:

  • polystyrene plates consist of special heat-distributing elements — lamellas made of aluminum and galvanized steel. Directly in the grooves, the pipes of the main heating circuit are installed. The basis of the whole structure is to create the necessary rigidity, which is achieved through the use of a finish coating made from GVL sheets. The sheets of the finishing layer are stacked in a checkerboard pattern.

The plates used in the work can be of two types, ordinary, foam and extruded. The thickness of the plates required for underfloor heating is only 10-40 mm. Heating circuit pipes are mounted into the thickness of the plates, which are covered with polystyrene mats from above. Thanks to special grooves and bosses, the plates and sheets are securely fixed to each other. Polystyrene mats have mounting fasteners on the sides, thanks to which individual elements are fastened into a single, solid field.

Do not forget about metal plates (aluminum or galvanized iron). For this system, such plates are the main element of heat exchange, transferring heat from the heating circuit to the floor surface. With the help of plates, heat is distributed evenly over the entire floor area.

For reference: The peculiarity of this system is that the height of such a cake is only 50 mm. For comparison, the minimum height of a concrete screed is only 80 mm.

Wooden system for underfloor heating


Another underfloor heating system that is an alternative to concrete screed is a wooden system.

Such systems are very convenient for creating heating in country houses, in residential structures made of wood. Depending on the type of building, rack and modular systems are used.

Slatted wood system and modular

The name of this type accurately conveys the design principle. The main bearing element in this case are slats, which are cut from wood or other wood materials.

Important! The thickness of the laths should not exceed 20 mm at a moisture content of not more than 10%.

For laying the heating circuit pipe with a pitch of 150 mm, the width of the rails is 130 mm. for a contour with a pitch of 200 mm, the length of the rails is 180 mm, with a pitch of 300 mm, the length of the rails is 280 mm, respectively.

The rails make up the support structure on which the pipes of the heating circuit are directly laid. When installing a warm floor using this technology, uneven bases are allowed within 2 mm per 1 running meter. Waterproofing is made of a polyethylene film 200 microns thick. A mandatory element of the entire structure is a damper tape. The layout is carried out across the lags or support boards. After laying the pipes, they are covered with support strips on all sides. The contour is inserted into the grooves in accordance with the plan, either with a snake or a snail.

From above, the entire structure is again covered with a polyethylene film 200-200 microns thick. After all, GVL sheets are applied to the very top in two layers, the total thickness of which is 20 mm. GKL sheets are finishing, on top of which a decorative coating is already being laid.

The modular assembly differs from the previous type in the use of ready-made modules, chipboard boards in which there are special grooves for laying the heating circuit. Due to the lock fasteners, it is possible to connect the individual modules together. Installation in this case is faster. No additional calculations are required for laying the pipeline.

Finally, it should be noted. Polystyrene and wooden systems are equipped with GVL boards as a finish, on top of which decorative coatings are already being laid. When choosing a coating, you need to pay attention to the markings. Especially for underfloor heating, laminate, parquet or carpet must have appropriate designations and markings.

Before using ceramic tiles, it is necessary to lay the third layer of GVL boards on the entire structure.


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