Step by step we make a water floor on a wooden one with our own hands

Under­floor heat­ing is a very pop­u­lar type of heat­ing today, used both inde­pen­dent­ly and along with oth­er sys­tems. When it appeared, it was used main­ly on the first floors of build­ings, using a con­crete screed.


Such a screed has a rather large weight (about 300 kg per m2) and can­not be used in most wood­en hous­es, espe­cial­ly on the sec­ond and third floors, since the struc­tur­al floors sim­ply can­not with­stand such a load.

The Finns were the first to install warm floors with­out a wet screed, who came up with a spe­cial tech­nol­o­gy using hyp­no-fiber sheets. Over time, more and more new lay­ing meth­ods have appeared that allow the use of this type of heat­ing sys­tem in any build­ings, regard­less of their strength and num­ber of storeys. They make it easy to lay pipes with a coolant not only in full-fledged res­i­den­tial build­ings, but even in such light build­ings as a wood­en sauna or bath.

Underfloor heating on a wooden base.
Under­floor heat­ing on a wood­en base.

Today we will con­sid­er sev­er­al ways to step-by-step install a warm floor on wood­en logs, although in real­i­ty there are many more of them, and some changes can be made to each depend­ing on the design fea­tures of the room.

Warm water floor for wooden floors step by step

So, we step by step make a water floor on a wood­en one. If the lat­ter needs to be done from scratch, then work will start from the fol­low­ing points:

  1. Logs are the basis of a wood­en floor, and its arrange­ment begins with their instal­la­tion. They are laid at a dis­tance of 60 cm from each oth­er, which guar­an­tees high qual­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of the future sur­face. Fas­ten­ing is car­ried out using spe­cial gal­va­nized sup­ports, which can be bought at any hard­ware store.
  2. After the logs are fixed, a sub­floor is laid out from ordi­nary boards, which is nec­es­sary for lay­ing water­proof­ing and insu­la­tion. It is nec­es­sary to wrap the logs them­selves with a water­proof­ing film. As a heater, you can use a min­er­al slab on a basalt basis, laid in sev­er­al lay­ers so that its total thick­ness is 10 cm.
  3. On top of the hydro- and heat-insu­lat­ing lay­er, boards of the main floor are laid and mount­ed on the logs.
The device of the floor on the logs.
The device of the floor on the logs.

If you already have a fin­ished wood­en floor, and you only have to arrange a warm floor, you skip the pre­vi­ous para­graphs and deal exclu­sive­ly with the prepa­ra­tion of the base. It is thor­ough­ly cleaned of debris, if nec­es­sary, lev­eled to an accept­able stan­dard.

In the step-by-step instruc­tions for a warm water floor on a wood­en floor, the next item is the instal­la­tion of a dry screed, in which the under­floor heat­ing pipes will be locat­ed. It can be made from a vari­ety of mate­ri­als: gyp­sum-fiber sheets, poly­styrene foam, chip­board and oth­ers. In our arti­cle on how to make a water-heat­ed floor on a wood­en base step by step, we will con­sid­er the option with chip­board.

  1. Pre-pre­pared chip­board boards are laid on the fin­ish­ing floor. In order to cor­rect­ly cut out the frag­ments, the whole board is attached to the logs and a con­tour is applied to it, along which the pipes will be locat­ed. The cor­ners of the strips are made round­ed in those places where the sys­tem will bend. We lay the fin­ished frag­ments in the fol­low­ing sequence: first, one row along the walls, and then over the entire area of ​​u200bu200bthe room. We leave a gap between the strips, suf­fi­cient to lay pipes in it, but at the same time not leav­ing too much free space.
Chipboard installation.
Chip­board instal­la­tion

2. We mount heat spread­ers — spe­cial met­al sheets made of gal­va­nized steel or alu­minum, and hav­ing spe­cial pro­files for pipes. They are nec­es­sary in order for the sys­tem to work more effi­cient­ly, and heat is dis­trib­uted even­ly over the entire sur­face of the floor. If you want to save mon­ey, you can use ordi­nary gal­va­nized iron sheets sold at any hard­ware store. Their thick­ness should be 0.5 mm. Met­al sheets are attached to the laid chip­board with sim­ple nails.

Laying of heat-distributing plates.
Lay­ing of heat-dis­trib­ut­ing plates.

3. We lay the pipes of the heat­ing sys­tem in the grooves of the met­al sheets, which are then con­nect­ed to the col­lec­tor.

Pipe laying
Pipe lay­ing

4. The sys­tem is pres­sure test­ed (filled with water and kept under pres­sure) in order to make sure that it is tight and oper­a­ble.

5. Sheets of ply­wood are attached to the laid out struc­ture using self-tap­ping screws. They must be at least 1 cm thick. A 0.5 mm wide gap is left between the ply­wood, which can be filled with sealant if desired. It is nec­es­sary so that the fin­ished floor does not deform if the wood absorbs mois­ture and expands.

Plywood flooring.
Ply­wood floor­ing.

6. In the step-by-step instruc­tions for a water-heat­ed floor on a wood­en base, the last step is lay­ing the fin­ish floor­ing. Using the described tech­nol­o­gy, it can be made from any mate­ri­als — tiles, lam­i­nate, car­pet. If a lam­i­nate is cho­sen, then a ply­wood under­lay is not used due to the ther­mal insu­la­tion prop­er­ties of this mate­r­i­al. If you have to lay linoleum, you can not choose cheap options, since when heat­ed they can emit an unpleas­ant odor.

Tips: 1. For a warm floor, it is bet­ter to pur­chase pipes with a diam­e­ter of 1.6 cm, since it is in them that the coolant cir­cu­lates in the most opti­mal way.

  1. Do not make the length of the heat­ing cir­cuit more than 100 m, because when trav­el­ing longer dis­tances, the coolant will cool down, and in some areas the floor tem­per­a­ture will be sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er. If you need a longer con­tour, it is bet­ter to break it into sec­tions.
  2. In order to make the heat­ing sys­tem more effi­cient, experts rec­om­mend using foil pipe wind­ings.
  3. Chip­board mod­ules, milled at the fac­to­ry and ready for use, can be bought at spe­cial­ized hard­ware stores. Such kits include all the nec­es­sary com­po­nents — from fas­ten­ers to met­al heat spread­ers and pipes. The cost of such sets sig­nif­i­cant­ly exceeds the price of con­ven­tion­al sheets, but at the same time, labor costs and time for cre­at­ing a dry screed are sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced.
  4. Cor­rect­ly select the cir­cuit along which you will lay the pipes — the “snake” sim­ply fits, but is only suit­able for small rooms, since the coolant has time to cool down along the way, and cold spots will form in some areas of the floor. In large rooms it is bet­ter to use a “spi­ral”.
Underfloor heating contours
Under­floor heat­ing con­tours

The second option for arranging a warm floor along the lags

There is anoth­er tech­nol­o­gy that many may like. It is done step by step as fol­lows:

  1. Between the lags, a raised floor is made of wood­en boards, OSB and chip­board.
  2. A heater is laid between the beams, for which it is best to use expand­ed poly­styrene with boss­es. It not only has excel­lent ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty char­ac­ter­is­tics, but also allows you to quick­ly and con­ve­nient­ly lay pipes and met­al reflec­tors. The sur­face of the insu­la­tion should prac­ti­cal­ly reach the upper edge of the log, but at the same time the ele­ments of the warm floor should not rest against the sub­strate.
  3. In the logs, grooves are pre­pared in those places where the pipes will cross them. The pipes them­selves must be wrapped in cor­ru­ga­tion in those places where they will pass through the groove, so that as a result of ther­mal expan­sion of mate­ri­als they do not rub against the wood.
  4. Met­al heat reflec­tors and water pipes are laid.
  5. The sys­tem is test­ed for oper­abil­i­ty and tight­ness, after which it is pos­si­ble to start man­u­fac­tur­ing the sub­strate and fin­ish­ing.
Underfloor heating on insulation.
Under­floor heat­ing on insu­la­tion.

Underfloor heating with insulation

In order to short­en the work­flow, under­floor heat­ing pipes can be placed direct­ly on the insu­la­tion lay­er locat­ed on the raised floor. In this case, only poly­styrene should be used as a heater, which will make the sys­tem work as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble. Min­er­al wool does not have such heat-con­duct­ing prop­er­ties.

With this method, the pipes will be locat­ed below the lag lev­el. The space can be filled to the desired lev­el with a gyp­sum mix­ture, or, if you want to com­plete­ly dis­pense with wet process­es, fill it with ordi­nary sand. These mate­ri­als will become a kind of ana­logue of a con­crete screed, albeit less effec­tive, and will con­duct heat to the main floor.

The easiest option for laying a warm floor on the logs

There is a very sim­ple option for lay­ing a warm floor along the logs, which does not involve cre­at­ing a screed at all. It is mount­ed much faster, but at the same time it has a sig­nif­i­cant draw­back: due to the lack of heat-con­duct­ing mate­ri­als, the floor heats up worse, and a cer­tain part of the heat does not go up, but down. Accord­ing to this tech­nol­o­gy, the heat-dis­trib­ut­ing ele­ments are attached direct­ly to the logs them­selves, and the pipes, as it were, sag in their gut­ters above the raised floor. Met­al plates in this case also act as anoth­er lev­el­ing lay­er before fin­ish­ing the floor.

Warm floor on the lags.
Warm floor on the lags.

Con­clu­sion. Prop­er­ly designed and installed under­floor heat­ing can sig­nif­i­cant­ly influ­ence the tem­per­a­ture and cre­ate a com­fort­able envi­ron­ment in the house. Installing a warm water floor on a wood­en base is not as dif­fi­cult a task as it might ini­tial­ly seem to a per­son who does not have much expe­ri­ence in con­struc­tion work. If you strict­ly fol­low the instruc­tions, you will be able to make a high-qual­i­ty heat­ing sys­tem that will last for many years. There are a lot of tech­nolo­gies for installing sys­tems on logs, so every­one choos­es the most suit­able one for them­selves, depend­ing on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the room and their own capa­bil­i­ties.


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