The specifics of laying a warm floor in an apartment


Today, each home­own­er can often choose options and meth­ods for heat­ing res­i­den­tial premis­es. The main thing is that the cho­sen option for home heat­ing should be done legal­ly, have high effi­cien­cy and remain eco­nom­i­cal. A water heat­ed floor in an apart­ment is one of the most suc­cess­ful and prac­ti­cal ways to orga­nize high-qual­i­ty heat­ing at the moment. Today, there are the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties, mate­ri­als and com­po­nents to inde­pen­dent­ly orga­nize a res­i­den­tial heat­ing sys­tem in this way.

Under­floor heat­ing is, first of all, a com­pe­tent project, appro­pri­ate prepa­ra­tion and com­pli­ance with all tech­ni­cal norms and stan­dards. Com­pli­ance with the list­ed con­di­tions and require­ments will allow you to equip a warm floor in your apart­ment, cre­ate the nec­es­sary com­fort and cozi­ness. What are water heat­ed floors? How they are installed and what are their main advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages, we will under­stand in more detail.

Underfloor heating — the principle of operation, features and specifics

Under­floor heat­ing is not a new phe­nom­e­non in house­hold infra­struc­ture. Even in ancient Rome, air heat­ing of this type was used to heat res­i­den­tial and pub­lic build­ings. Heat­ed air through the chan­nels locat­ed in the floor was dis­trib­uted through­out the room, heat­ing the inte­ri­or. The main idea of ​​this method of heat­ing was that the cold­est part of the build­ing, on the con­trary, became the warmest. Hot air spread across the floor and rose from the bot­tom up, even­ly fill­ing the entire inte­ri­or space.

This method of heat­ing was remem­bered when new types and types of heat­ing devices, new mate­ri­als, fix­tures and equip­ment appeared. Cen­tral­ized heat­ing, the pres­ence of autonomous heat sources today make it pos­si­ble to use a water floor in an apart­ment as the main or aux­il­iary method of heat­ing a dwelling. The tech­nol­o­gy is based on the prin­ci­ple of using ther­mal ener­gy, which has a coolant cir­cu­lat­ing in a cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem or through an autonomous heat­ing pipeline. The pipe, which is a heat­ing cir­cuit, is laid direct­ly into the under­ground. The heat­ed coolant enter­ing the pipeline trans­fers ther­mal ener­gy to the floor sur­face.

Screed, floor­ing serve both as a heat accu­mu­la­tor and a source of ther­mal radi­a­tion of a large area, heat­ing the inte­ri­or. Due to its effi­cien­cy, such a heat­ing sys­tem is active­ly used not only in pri­vate hous­es, cot­tages, but also found its place in the orga­ni­za­tion of heat­ing city apart­ments.

Struc­tural­ly, the water floor is a lay­er cake, which con­sists of the fol­low­ing ele­ments:

  • floor cov­er­ing (clean);
  • pil­low (lay­ing cov­er);
  • pipeline made of poly­mer pipes;
  • col­lec­tors (devices for con­nect­ing the water cir­cuit to the heat­ing sys­tem);
  • pipeline fas­ten­ers;
  • heat­ing device or cen­tral­ized heat­ing medi­um sup­ply sys­tem.

The final coat­ing can be made from any build­ing mate­ri­als used for these pur­pos­es.

Impor­tant! When equip­ping a warm floor, pref­er­ence should be giv­en to fin­ish­ing floor mate­ri­als that not only have good aes­thet­ic data, but also have good ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty.

Depend­ing on the man­u­fac­tura­bil­i­ty of the premis­es, porce­lain stoneware, ceram­ic tiles are usu­al­ly used as a fin­ish­ing coat­ing for these pur­pos­es. For res­i­den­tial premis­es, lam­i­nate, par­quet and linoleum are bet­ter suit­ed. The floor lay­er must be not only durable and suf­fi­cient­ly rigid, but also prac­ti­cal, pro­vid­ing access to the heat­ing cir­cuit. Each type of floor­ing has its own specifics and fea­tures.

For exam­ple: lam­i­nate or par­quet will require a spe­cial cush­ion before lay­ing, which will pro­tect the wood from dry­ing out. Linoleum must nec­es­sar­i­ly com­ply with the nec­es­sary envi­ron­men­tal safe­ty stan­dards. Oth­er­wise, under the con­stant influ­ence of high tem­per­a­ture, the PVC com­po­nents of linoleum can release chem­i­cal com­pounds harm­ful to the body into the inte­ri­or.

Depend­ing on the use of the floor cov­er­ing and the instal­la­tion method, the water-heat­ed floor in the apart­ment can be of the fol­low­ing types:

  • wood;
  • poly­styrene (syn­thet­ic);
  • con­crete.

In the first two options, main­ly dec­o­ra­tive and insu­lat­ing fin­ish­ing mate­ri­als are used. In the last, in the third case, we are talk­ing about a con­crete screed. This type is the most time-con­sum­ing and involves a large amount of prepara­to­ry, instal­la­tion and wet work.

Water floors in the apart­ment, made of wood, have a fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent design. The water cir­cuit is laid direct­ly on wood­en slats or logs. A lay­er of ther­mal insu­la­tion (wool, poly­styrene) in this case is mount­ed in the spaces between the water pipes. An alu­minum lay­er is laid on top of the pipeline, and card­board or foam plas­tic is already mount­ed on top. This type of sub­strate is also called a pie, where each lay­er has its own prac­ti­cal and tech­no­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

For the equip­ment of syn­thet­ic under­floor heat­ing, the empha­sis is on the use of a ready-made ther­mal insu­la­tion lay­er, in which a water cir­cuit and plates are already laid that dis­trib­ute heat over the floor sur­face. After that, an absorbent mate­r­i­al is laid to absorb mois­ture. A dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish­ing coat­ing is already being installed on top of the cake.

Advantages and disadvantages of water floors

With­out going into tech­ni­cal details, the sub­tleties and nuances of lay­ing under­floor heat­ing, it should be not­ed that such a scheme for heat­ing an apart­ment in an apart­ment build­ing is quite fea­si­ble. Even tak­ing into account the objec­tive design dif­fi­cul­ties and the offi­cial ban on equip­ment, many res­i­dents in city apart­ments today rely on this method of heat­ing their homes.

The issue is solved much eas­i­er when there is an autonomous gas boil­er in the house. Instal­la­tion of heat­ing accord­ing to the “warm water floors” scheme can be car­ried out legal­ly, espe­cial­ly if we take into account the advan­tages that open up to the own­ers of the apart­ment. What does under­floor heat­ing pro­vide in the gen­er­al con­text of home heat­ing?

  • a warm floor with a liq­uid heat car­ri­er is con­ve­nient and prac­ti­cal in oper­a­tion;
  • the cost of installing and main­tain­ing a water floor is an order of mag­ni­tude less than oth­er types of under­floor heat­ing;
  • the water floor heat­ing sys­tem is absolute­ly harm­less in san­i­tary and hygien­ic terms;
  • cost-effec­tive oper­a­tion, con­ve­nient oper­a­tion and adjust­ment.

The main com­par­i­son that water floor heat­ing stands up to is with elec­tri­cal­ly pow­ered heat­ing sys­tems. In terms of ease of instal­la­tion and fur­ther main­te­nance, elec­tric floors look prefer­able. In terms of prof­itabil­i­ty and effi­cien­cy, a water heat­ed floor is unri­valed.

As for the short­com­ings that can be encoun­tered at the very begin­ning, the dif­fi­cul­ty of installing a heat­ing sys­tem of this type comes first. Fur­ther, we can talk about the high cost of such a heat­ing sys­tem. In the absence of com­po­nents and mate­ri­als of prop­er qual­i­ty, there may be prob­lems with the integri­ty of the heat­ing cir­cuit, which makes the sub­se­quent oper­a­tion of the heat­ing equip­ment in the house prob­lem­at­ic and cost­ly.

For ref­er­ence: in the event of a break­down (break­through of the heat­ing cir­cuit), you will have to look for the place of the break­through, remov­ing frag­ments of the con­crete screed. In the con­di­tions of a city apart­ment, such events are quite prob­lem­at­ic. When using a com­po­nent cake (pre­fab­ri­cat­ed sub­strate), it is much eas­i­er to find a break­down and fix it.

For res­i­dents of new pri­vate hous­es, own­ers of cot­tages and oth­er build­ings, installing a warm water floor from scratch is a good and appro­pri­ate engi­neer­ing and tech­ni­cal solu­tion. In apart­ment build­ings, in hous­es of old con­struc­tion, the arrange­ment of a heat­ing sys­tem with under­floor heat­ing is fraught with a large-scale recon­struc­tion of exist­ing engi­neer­ing net­works. Accord­ing­ly, the cost item for dis­man­tling, lay­ing and con­nect­ing the sys­tem to a heat source increas­es.

Practical application of underfloor heating. What are the options?

Giv­en mod­ern heat­ing devices, high man­u­fac­tura­bil­i­ty of heat­ing equip­ment, it has become pos­si­ble to install warm floors even in a city apart­ment. The main fea­ture is that such a sys­tem does not require large-scale work and spe­cial per­mis­sion.

Impor­tant! It is for­bid­den to offi­cial­ly install a warm water floor in an apart­ment where cen­tral heat­ing is the main one. The ban is asso­ci­at­ed with an increase in the tech­ni­cal load on cen­tral­ized heat­ing. Ther­mal cal­cu­la­tions made at the time of con­struc­tion of the house did not take into account the addi­tion­al load on the heat­ing cir­cuit.

The sim­plest scheme for con­nect­ing a warm floor is shown in the dia­gram

In order for the under­floor heat­ing sys­tem to work effi­cient­ly and safe­ly for the main dis­trict heat­ing, addi­tion­al equip­ment is required to pro­vide forced cir­cu­la­tion. For these pur­pos­es, a mix­ing unit and a pres­sure pump are usu­al­ly installed. For cen­tral­ized heat­ing, where nat­ur­al cir­cu­la­tion is present, the instal­la­tion of such equip­ment requires addi­tion­al ther­mal and hydraulic cal­cu­la­tions.

Impor­tant! It is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous to con­nect the under­floor heat­ing sys­tem to hot water sup­ply. The increased con­sump­tion of hot water required for cir­cu­la­tion through the heat­ing cir­cuit will cause a weak pres­sure in the DHW sys­tem of the whole house.

Assess­ing all the exist­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and dif­fi­cul­ties for the equip­ment in an under­floor heat­ing apart­ment, one must be pre­pared for a large amount of work. Recon­struc­tion of an apart­ment involves, in this case, the dis­man­tling of com­po­nents and ele­ments of the old heat­ing sys­tem, includ­ing unnec­es­sary wiring and heat­ing radi­a­tors. An ide­al option for arrang­ing a warm floor in a city apart­ment would be to con­nect to cen­tral­ized heat­ing in the ground floor rooms, when the main coolant flow does not lose its pow­er and speed, going upstairs to oth­er apart­ments.

In this case, you will need to install spe­cial col­lec­tors — mix­ers on the ris­ers of the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem. The pres­ence of three-way valves will ensure the required tem­per­a­ture of the coolant in the heat­ing cir­cuit of your under­floor heat­ing and main­tain the per­mis­si­ble tem­per­a­ture of the boil­er water in the cen­tral heat­ing pipes.

For ref­er­ence: the opti­mal tem­per­a­ture for heat­ing a warm floor is 35–450C, while the water in the cen­tral pow­er ris­er has a tem­per­a­ture of 900 and high­er. Such a tem­per­a­ture is unac­cept­able for heat­ing a house accord­ing to the under­floor heat­ing scheme. The mix­ing unit copes with the task of low­er­ing the tem­per­a­ture of the coolant.

In order for the entire sys­tem to work nor­mal­ly, a pre­req­ui­site is the instal­la­tion of mud col­lec­tors. Boil­er water com­ing from the heat­ing plant does not have high tech­no­log­i­cal para­me­ters. Thanks to this device, it is pos­si­ble to main­tain the coolant in good con­di­tion, retain­ing large frag­ments of scale, pre­vent­ing large debris from enter­ing the rather nar­row pipes of the water floor heat­ing cir­cuit. In addi­tion to mix­ers, your under­floor heat­ing sys­tem in an apart­ment needs to install pump­ing equip­ment that cir­cu­lates the coolant through the inter­nal cir­cuit.

The oper­a­tion of the pump will allow main­tain­ing the nec­es­sary work­ing pres­sure in the under­floor heat­ing pipeline, equal to the pres­sure in the cen­tral­ized sys­tem. In the absence of a pump, there is a real threat of stop­ping the cir­cu­la­tion of the coolant in the cir­cuit. Accord­ing­ly, the heat­ing of the floor will become uneven.

Often, a suc­cess­ful way out of this sit­u­a­tion is the instal­la­tion of a heat exchang­er, with an inter­me­di­ate func­tion. In this case, your heat­ing sys­tem, con­nect­ed to the cen­tral line, becomes almost com­plete­ly autonomous.


If you man­age to car­ry out your plan, to make heat­ing a warm water floor in your house, the effect will be instant. For apart­ments that have one facade wall, this heat­ing option is very effec­tive. With the appro­pri­ate heat effi­cien­cy of the dwelling, the heat­ed floor becomes a good heat­ing resource.

The main fea­ture of the sys­tem is the low heat­ing tem­per­a­ture. In most cas­es, the tem­per­a­ture of the heat car­ri­er enter­ing the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem is not as high as required. Ther­mal ener­gy through radi­a­tors in insuf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties enters the inte­ri­or of the room. But for a warm floor, this heat­ing tem­per­a­ture of the coolant is ide­al. With the help of mix­ers, it will be pos­si­ble to eas­i­ly com­pen­sate for the tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence, achiev­ing the required tem­per­a­ture regime.


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