Underfloor heating systems on or in concrete

Live without cold feet!

The worst thing about homes built on a concrete slab, or those that have concrete slab basements, is dealing with cold feet resulting from chilly floors. Luckily, thanks to underfloor heating systems, your feet don't have to be cold anymore!

Underfloor heating systems can be used nearly everywhere in the home now, thanks to new technology and clever designs. So, whether you are planning on building a brand new house, or are living in a home built decades ago, an underfloor heating system can be used to heat areas that have a concrete slab underneath them.

Depending on your home situation, you have a choice to make between what kind of system you can use to heat those cold concrete floors.

For homes not yet built

If you are in the planning stages of your home, you should strongly consider a hydronic underfloor heating system. Hydronic means that this underfloor heating system uses hot water from a dedicated boiler to warm the space.

Hydronic systems feature a network of tubes, laid directly into the concrete subfloor of a home. These tubes are then connected to a small boiler (either electric or gas powered) that heats water and distributes it through the tubes. When this is installed, you can simply place your choice of floor covering over the concrete slab (yes, even carpet) and enjoy the most comfortable room in your home. The result is an energy efficient heating source that evenly heats an entire area. You'll never need slippers again!

If you live in a home that has already been built, there are other types of electric underfloor heating systems available that would work better than a hydronic system.

For homes already built

Hydronic underfloor heating systems are placed directly into the concrete slab of a home, which is not an option for existing homes. So, instead of placing an underfloor heating system in a slab, you can place a thinner system directly on top of the slab.

There are a many electric underfloor heating systems capable of doing this. Some systems use a network of electric cables that warm up to heat a room, while other systems look more like a skinny mat that heats up. Either way, the process of installation is very similar.

First, a thermal insulation barrier is placed on top of the concrete slab, then the element is placed on top of that thermal insulation. The thermal insulation is very important, as heat is attracted to cold. And, as your feet know, concrete slabs are cold! The thermal barrier will ensure that the heat is directed upwards toward the room, instead of heating the slab below, ultimately keeping you warm and comfortable.

Depending on the type of electric underfloor heating system you place on top of the thermal barrier (cable or mat), you have a choice of floor coverings to use. The cable system is restricted to tile floor coverings, while mat systems can be used under almost any flooring, including wood and carpet.