How To Install Underfloor Heating

Learn everything you need to know about installing underfloor heating in our comprehensive guide.
Written By: Richard Morgan | Updated:
How To Install Underfloor Heating
Richard Morgan/DIY Works

Underfloor heating is a great alternative to radiators, and it can be installed on any floor via an electric (dry) or water (wet) system. If you are undecided on whether you wish to install an electric or water system, below is everything you need to know about the two different types.

Electric System

The electric system is the cheapest, and it can be installed by laying out the wires or mats to the room’s shape. It also has the benefit of requiring less preparation, and it’s best suited to small rooms such as bathrooms. The only main drawback is that they are less efficient than conventional radiators and can also cost more to run in the long run.

If you want to install it yourself as a DIY project, some of the best-rated electric underfloor heating kits come with everything you need in a box. This can include the wires, installation hardware, screed, thermostat and so much more.

Water System

On the other hand, water-based systems are more complex to install but much cheaper to run. Unlike the electric alternatives, they are connected to your boiler via a manifold, which allows you to adjust the temperature as you would with your radiators.

Since it connects to your boiler, it’s advised that a professional installs this type of system as it’ll be expensive to fix if something were to go wrong.

Installation of Underfloor Heating

Depending upon the system you wish to install will determine the method in which you install underfloor heating. Therefore, below are brief guides to the installation process of each system to give you an idea of what’s involved:

How To Install Wet Underfloor Heating

  1. Remove any jagged edges that could damage the pipes.
  2. Thoroughly clean the subfloor.
  3. Install a damp-proof membrane and insulation.
  4. Install the manifold.
  5. Lay the water pipes as per manufacturer guidelines.
  6. Apply a thin layer (70-80 mm) of screed on top (optional).
  7. Test the heating and ensure all areas are heating up.

How To Install Electric Underfloor Heating

  1. Remove any jagged edges that could damage the wires.
  2. Thoroughly clean the subfloor.
  3. Install a damp-proof membrane and insulation.
  4. Connect the system to a power source.
  5. Use a multimeter to perform a resistance test.
  6. Lay the wires/mats as per manufacturer guidelines.
  7. Apply a thin layer (70-80 mm) of screed on top (optional).
  8. Test the heating and ensure all areas are heating up.

How Much Does Underfloor Heating Cost

The cost of underfloor heating depends on how large the area is to be covered and whether you use a wet or dry system. It also depends upon the complexity of the current flooring because you will need to remove the current floor to install underfloor heating. However, below are some approximations of the cost of underfloor heating:

System TypeBuildingTotal Cost
WaterRenovation£6,000 – £6,500
ElectricRenovation£4,000 – £4,500
WaterNew Build£16,000 – £17,000
ElectricNew Build£6,000 – £7,000

*The above approximation costs for underfloor heating are based upon a 100m2 area.

Underfloor Heating Thermostat

A thermostat is the “brain” of a heating system, and when it comes to choosing an underfloor heating thermostat, you have a wide variety to choose from.

If you are using a water system, you can usually use the same setup as your radiators, which means you can use a smart thermostat. However, it’s worth pointing out that an electric system may require a specific type of thermostat that’s dedicated to underfloor flooring.

Conclusion

Underfloor heating is a great addition to any home and can be installed on any flooring. Whether you install it yourself using an electric system or have a plumber install a water-based system, it’s a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret. However, to avoid disappointment, ensure that you prepare the subfloor to the best of your abilities because once it’s installed, you don’t want to rip the floor back up to perform repairs.

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