Installing a laminate radiant floor heating system can add indescribable comfort to any home. Radiant heat can be added under a laminate floor with two different systems. For a smaller area, the easier choice is electric radiant floor heat. If you are planning on radiant heat for your entire home, use hydronic radiant heat. Because it doesn’t expand or contract as much, laminate is used more often than wood with radiant heat.
High quality laminate products are not only durable, they also look just as beautiful as a natural wood floor. You want to make sure you prepare the subfloor properly before you install radiant heat. Another benefit of having laminate flooring is it can be installed below concrete radiant heated flooring. This means you can have it in a basement and on the first floor and still keep a consistent flooring flow in your home.
Laminate Electric Radiant Floor Heating
For an electric radiant heated floor with laminate over it, you have two options. Option number one involves using thinset to adhere the mat to the floor. A brand name that uses this method would be Nuheat. After the electric radiant heat mat is placed onto the thinset, you have to cover up the mat with another layer of thinset over the top. This coat has to be smoothed out very flat. Next up, you place the vapor barrier and underlay. Finally, install the floating laminate flooring over the top.
The next option takes a lot less labor. There is no thinset involved with this method. Once the concrete floor, or subfloor is clean and ready, you roll on the electric radiant heating mat. A product that uses no thinset would be ThermoFloor. Once the electric mats are placed on the floor, its time to put down the vapor barrier and underlay. Finally, the floating laminate floor can be put in place.
Laminate Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
A product that explains some of the requirements for correctly using laminate for a hydronic (water) radiant system is Shaw. When heat is directly applied to any product, there could be some expansion or contraction throughout the year. In order to minimize problems right away, make sure you plan for success.
Minor gaps may occur during the heating season, but here are a few tips to avoid bigger problems when using hydronic radiant heat. To properly install laminate floors, make sure the wood floor isn’t too moist before installation (less than 14%). If you are placing laminate on concrete, there should be no moisture during any season. Humidity levels should be less than 35% or more than 65%, and the temperature should be between 60 degrees F, and 80 degrees F for the installation.
Advantages of Laminate Radiant Flooring
- A comfortable warm and smooth floor even in the middle of winter.
- No heated air blowing around dust, dirt and debris into the room. The warmth quietly radiates from the floor up.
- Can be used for electric or hydronic radiant heat systems.
- Expands and contracts less than a wood floor does with radiant heat.
Disadvantages of Laminate Radiant Flooring
- Some people still prefer real wood over laminate regardless of the benefits.
- Hard to install under a pre-existing laminate floor.
- Laminate radiant floor heating systems don’t provide immediate warmth if the system has been off for an extended period of time.
Is Radiant Heat Right for your Laminate Floors?
Whenever you start a new flooring project, make sure you investigate radiant heat. Laminate is a fantastic product for floors, and it works very well with radiant energy systems. For smaller projects, go with an electric system. If you are redoing all the flooring, or involved with new construction, install a hydronic system. Laminate radiant under floor heating is a very versatile system. You will be pleased with the energy you save and the incredible feeling of a warm floor.