The opportunity to gain independence from the work of centralized heating is especially valuable during the off-season, when the heating is not yet turned on, and it is already cold in the rooms. Warm floors of various designs cope well with the task. Before installing underfloor heating in a wooden house or apartment under a laminate, you should familiarize yourself with the features of these works.
Features of laying a warm floor under a laminate
There is a misconception that under the influence of elevated temperatures, the laminate begins to release harmful chemicals used in its production. Actually it is not. With the right choice of materials, a warm floor can be laid under such a coating. It is also important to balance the temperature regime and the thickness of the laminate.
For such a coating, it is necessary to choose a hardwood laminate with a thickness of at least 7 mm. Its lamellas are dense enough to withstand external influences and thin to transfer heat well into the room.
In addition, material with emission class E0 or E1 should be used. A special sign is applied to this type of laminate with a schematic representation of underfloor heating or the inscriptions “Underfloor heating”, “Warm wasser”. Materials marked E2 and E3 cannot be used with underfloor heating systems.
The procedure for installing a heating system on a plank floor under a laminate has a number of characteristic features:
- It is impossible to arrange a concrete screed, which could strengthen the floor and serve as a natural heat transmitter.
- With thermal expansion, the floor joists expand and contract, shifting at the same time.
- Over time, the flooring receives little mobility, begins to “play”, negatively affecting the heating system. This results in natural wear and tear of the wood and the low load-bearing capacity of the laminate.
The choice of underfloor heating under the laminate
Several types of structures can be laid under the laminate:
Water heated floor
This is the cheapest and safest way to organize underfloor heating. Pipes are laid on top of the subfloor through which heated water or antifreeze passes. Its main disadvantage is a significant, in comparison with other types of systems, the thickness of the heating layer, determined by the thickness of the laid pipes.
When operating this type of heating, it is important to take into account the features of the laminate coating:
- avoid sudden changes in temperature;
- the temperature in the room should not exceed 28 ° C;
- do not allow the temperature of the coolant to rise above 50°C.
Infrared warm floor
The heat source in such systems is a film polymer coating on which a layer of conductive material is deposited.
Each element of the infrared system is enclosed in a polyethylene film to increase strength and wear resistance, which only slightly increases its thickness.
The advantages of such systems include:
- ease of installation;
- light weight and material thickness;
- ease of temperature adjustment;
- fast heating of the coating.
The main disadvantage of infrared floor heating can be considered its high cost.
Electric floor heating
The heating element in these systems is an electrical cable connected to the building’s power supply. When it is turned on, the generated magnetic field heats the multilayer shell and the heat is transferred to the floor covering.
The main disadvantage of electrical systems in combination with a wooden base and laminate is the risk of short circuits.
When laying laminate on a wooden base, several factors must be considered:
- evenness and strength of the base;
- materials used;
- humidity in the room.
Before carrying out work, it is necessary to draw up a plan of the room, on which to indicate the placement of furniture and stationary radiators, if any. In these places, heating elements are not mounted.
In addition, a properly drawn up plan will make it possible to accurately calculate the amount of materials needed for laying:
- laminate, selected taking into account the above recommendations;
- reflective substrate;
- auxiliary consumables.
First of all, it is necessary to organize reliable hydro- and thermal insulation of the base, which will prevent the formation of condensate on the lower surface of the laminate:
- The old coating and boards of the finishing floor are completely removed.
- The draft floor is checked by level, it is better to replace the damaged logs with new ones, which have sagged, be lifted with wedges.
- The surface of the subfloor is thoroughly cleaned of dirt and dust.
- For flooring, boards of equal thickness are used, treated with antiseptic and water-repellent agents.
Arrangement of thermal insulation
The next step in the work is laying thermal insulation:
- Under the lags, plywood or chipboard is fixed in such a way that niches are obtained for laying thermal insulation.
- When using a water system, the entire space must be reliably waterproofed.
- Insulation sheets are laid in niches without a gap.
- A heat-reflecting film is fixed on top of the insulation, directing radiation from the heating elements upwards.
Laying elements of a warm floor
The elements of the system are laid on top of the reflective film:
- All heat-radiating parts are mounted in the form of a snake with a single circuit.
- The distance between the turns is chosen in such a way as to ensure uniform heating of the floor covering.
- A draft floor is mounted on top of the assembled structure. It must be made as even and horizontal as possible for the final laying of the laminate.
Test run of the system
Before laying the laminate, it is necessary to check the correct operation of the assembled system. To do this, several start-up cycles should be carried out within 3–4 days, raising the heating temperature by 5 ° C daily until it reaches the calculated value.
In a system with water floors, it is necessary to apply the maximum allowable pressure to them and monitor the possible deformation of pipes and leaks.
After checking, you need to wait for the surface to cool to 15–20 ° C and lay the rough coating.
Laying laminate flooring
After installing the rough flooring, you can start laying the laminate:
- A polyethylene substrate is placed on the floor, individual sections are joined end-to-end, connecting them with construction tape.
- A laminate is laid on top of the substrate, focusing on the recommendations of its manufacturer. It is unacceptable to lay the slats close to the walls; it is necessary to provide a gap of 3–5 mm.
The subtleties and nuances of installation are clearly described in the video:
The main mistakes when installing a warm floor
When planning and performing work on laying a warm floor, the following mistakes are most often encountered:
- Incorrect calculation of the amount of material. Heating elements should only be placed under free areas of the floor covering. Elements under the furniture will not work to heat the room, and due to the lack of heat removal, they may fail.
- Errors in the preparation of the material. The electrical cable and infrared plates may only be cut at the points indicated by the manufacturer. If any section of the cable is longer, then its turns must be repositioned, slightly closer to each other.
- Errors in the installation of the material. The loops of the electrical system must not intersect and touch each other. This situation can lead to overheating and failure of the conductor.
- When laying, it is necessary to take into account the minimum bending radii of the conductors recommended by the manufacturer.
- It is a mistake to lay heating elements on an unprepared surface. Work can only be done on a perfectly clean surface.
- No system check before laying laminate flooring. If installation errors are discovered after all work is completed, it will be much more difficult to correct them.
- Lack of individual temperature controller for each room. Seeming savings on sensors and regulators can turn into serious inconveniences in operation.
Video instructions for preparing a wooden floor for laying laminate
For long-term operation of underfloor heating of any type, you must follow simple rules:
- The heating temperature should not exceed +50°С, the optimal mode is from 20°С to 30°С.
- Do not lay on places where heating elements are installed, objects that prevent heat removal — carpet, carpets, furniture without legs, etc.
- In case of a long absence from the room in cold weather, the system must not be completely turned off; the minimum possible operating mode should be set on the regulator.
- To avoid damage to the heating elements, do not drill holes in the floors, screw screws into them, drive nails, etc.
- Cleaning of electric underfloor heating should be carried out using a minimum amount of water, avoiding getting under the laminate and affecting the heating elements.
Self-installation of a warm floor under a laminate in rooms on a wooden floor with the right selection of materials and work planning is a feasible task. A properly installed system will bring comfort and convenience to the house.