Are floor tiles suitable with underfloor heating?
You can read more about different types of tiles and underfloor heating below: Ready for stylish, warm flooring?
Why is tile flooring suitable for underfloor heating?
The reason that you could combine natural, tile flooring with underfloor heating is that the tiles have a high thermal conductivity.
This means that the heat quickly rises to the surface, so that your living room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom will warm up quickly. The tiles retain heat well, causing efficient heating.
The thickness of the tile has little influence on the heat output. It is true that a thicker tile needs a little more time to heat up. But the difference isn’t significant.
If you want the tiled floor to quickly respond to the underfloor heating, then a tile with a maximum thickness of 20 millimeters is recommended.
You can read more about the heat resistance of tiles under the heading ‘Heat resistance of floor tiles‘.
Which tiles are suitable for underfloor heating?
If you want a tiled floor that is suitable for underfloor heating, you can choose from:
- Natural tile flooring
- Ceramic tile flooring
- Porcelain tile flooring
We’ll briefly run through the characteristics of these two types of tiles below.
Natural tile flooring
The name says it all, these tiles come directly from nature. They are quarried from the edges of mountains and are then cut to size in the factory. Natural slate flooring has a unique and beautiful, luxurious appearance.
The good thing about natural tiles is that each tile is unique, no two are the same. This makes natural slate flooring a bit more expensive than ceramic tile flooring. However, if you maintain these tiles in the right way, they will last a lifetime. So, it’s definitely the sustainable choice.
Ceramic tile flooring
Ceramic tiles are made from earth that is baked at very high temperatures.
Minerals are added to make the tile stronger and a glaze layer is applied using the color for the finished flooring. This makes ceramic tile flooring water resistant.
A ceramic tile flooring is user friendly and can be cleaned easily.
Do you also like warm floor? Request free quotes from underfloor heating installers.
Can you paint tiles on underfloor heating?
It is possible to paint tile flooring on underfloor heating but you’ll need to pay attention to the type of paint you choose.
It is advisable to first apply a primer before applying the color to the tiles.
Electric underfloor heating and water underfloor heating.
For the heating of the tile flooring you can choose both electric underfloor heating or water underfloor heating.
Electric underfloor heating under tiles
Electric underfloor heating is installed directly under the floor. There are a few different types of electric underfloor heating.
Cables are suitable to install underfloor heating in oddly shaped rooms as they can easily curve into the corners.
Electric mats are more suitable for standard sized rooms as they’re easier to lay.
The installation of electric underfloor heating is cheaper than the installation of warm water underfloor heating. The main benefit of using electric is that the floor heats up quickly and it can be installed without the need of a professional in some cases.
However, the energy consumption is higher than with warm water underfloor heating
Water underfloor heating
Water floor heating works with tubing. Through the tubing, warm water is circulated to warm up the flooring.
Water underfloor heating must be installed by an underfloor heating specialist to prevent damages later on. The installation of this is more expensive, but more economical to run than an electric floor heating system.
What type of UFH heating do you want? Request no-obligation free quotes now.
Benefits of underfloor heating under tiled flooring
Using underfloor heating has the following benefits:
1. Saving on energy costs: Due to the excellent thermal conductivity of tiles and the fact that they retain the heat so well, less energy is required for heating. You can see this reflected in the amount of your energy bill.
2. No radiators required: An underfloor heating system is completely invisible. So, you no longer suffer from unsightly radiators in your living room. This gives more space for your furniture and you no longer have to deal with the dust that collects behind radiators and around pipes.
This is only possible if you use the underfloor heating as main heating.
3. Better air quality: With underfloor heating there is much less air circulation than with central heating, so that less dust circulates through the room. This is especially pleasant for people with respiratory problems.
4. Fast and even distribution of heat: The room is heated quickly and evenly, so you don’t have to wait long for a comfortably heated room.
Heat resistance of floor tiles
Carpet must retain as little heat as possible with underfloor heating. This way, the room heats up faster and saves energy. The heat resistance of floors is expressed in m²K/W. This is also referred to as the R value.
The lower the R-value of the floor type, the better it fits with underfloor heating.
The R value may be a maximum of 0.15 m²K/W if you use underfloor heating as the main heating. As an additional heater, this is a maximum of 0.18 m² K/W. Learn more about additional and main heating here.
Floor tiles are suitable for underfloor heating. Get free quotes from UFH installers.
What are the R-values of floor tiles?
The average heat resistance of ceramic tiles and natural stone tiles is 0.05 m² K/W. This is well below 0.15 and 0.18 m²K/W.
Using tile adhesive that is suitable for underfloor heating
With the installation of floor heating, you cannot use ordinary tile adhesive. To place tiles on the underfloor heating you need at least C2TE glue.
It is also important that there are no hollow spaces between the adhesive because the tile adhesive also serves as a heat conductor.
There are various tile adhesives for cement screed and anhydrite floors
The changes in temperature ensure that the pipes of the under floor heating system and the subfloor regularly shrink and expand. Expansion joints prevent the tile flooring from cracking.
These joints divide the floor into smaller parts that can move independently of each other. A profile is placed in the joints. The type of joint and profile required for a certain floor is determined by the underfloor heating specialist on the basis of calculations. It is often also advisable to limit the size of the tile to some extent with underfloor heating.
Larger tiles cause more stress, which increases the chance that the tiles will crack.
If you opt for a tile of a maximum of 60 x 60 centimeters, this risk is considerably lower.
What is the maximum temperature at which the underfloor heating can be set?
Maintain a maximum temperature of 60 °C. A floor feels pleasantly warm at a temperature of 30°C.
When warm water underfloor heating connects to a high efficiency boiler, you have to deal with a high temperature system that heats up to an average of 80°C.
Underfloor heating is a low temperature system (LTV). This means that it heats up to 55°C.
To ensure that no hot water flows through the pipes, there is a distributor on the warm water underfloor heating system.
Floor cooling is also possible
Underfloor heating can, in addition to heating the tiled flooring, also cool the floor. This is possible using water underfloor heating.
When water circulates through the tubing that is just below room temperature it seems like the space is cooler.
If you want to install an underfloor heating system that can also be used to cool your room, you will need a ground source heat pump or a chiller next to your boiler.
Request quotes from underfloor heating specialists
Would you also like to have underfloor heating installed under your natural, slate tile floor? Ask about the possibilities first.
We also recommend that you request quotes from various underfloor heating specialists. This way you can make a good price comparison and you will see that you can often save a little on the total costs.