Install heated laminate over tile or concrete slab?

Old 07-31-13, 05:07 AM
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Install heated laminate over tile or concrete slab?


I am in the process of turning a 3 season sunroom into an all season office/den but am unsure what to do about the flooring.

It is currently a very cold, poorly installed (some tiles are coming up easily) ceramic tile floor on a concrete slab. I'm in Winnipeg, Canada so I'm sure the tile coming up has to do with the freezing and thawing cycle of the concrete slab.

I'd like to install laminate with Thermosoft radiant heating pads underneath that are specifically for floating floors. (Thermosoft Radiant Floor Heating) Thermosoft recommends I lay down a 6mm vapor barrier film directly over the tile and then install their heated underlay over that, then the laminate. They suggest that by laying it over the tile, the tile offers another layer of thermal break rather than removing the tile and laying the laminate over the concrete slab.

My concern is about the few tiles that have already come up. There will probably be more that will come loose below the laminate. Is that a big deal or will the weight of the floating floor keep things in place? What is the best course of action here? Install over the existing tile? Or remove the tile and install on top of the concrete slab? My main concern for installing on the slab is moisture but I suppose the 6mm vapor barrier should take care of that?

All advice is welcome!!
Old 07-31-13, 04:27 PM
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I'll admit that Under Laminate Heating Strips is a new one to me. However, not much different than under tile radiant heat mats. I question the effectiveness as wood (or MDF in the case of laminate) is a relatively poor conductor of heat. As this is a 3 season sun room, what other means of heating do you have in there? Under floor radiant heat may make the floor feel cozier if you are running around in your bare feet, but it will not heat the room to any degree.

It also will not change the fact that you have a poorly installed tile floor. No one can say of more tiles will come up or not. Track record so far says probably so. If the temperature changes in this room are that dramatic to cause tiles to pop off a concrete slab. I'm guessing that a radiant floor mat will not change much other than your energy bill. Your proposed heating strips (likewise for under tile strips) will cause a serious dent in your wallet.
Old 08-09-13, 09:09 PM
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I too live in Manitoba and I would take the ceramic tile up before laying the laminate. Ceramic tile is very hard, and very cold. Laminate is softer, and warmer. If putting down in-floor heat, with ceramic underneath it, it may have a harder time heating the area - thus costing your more. Contrary to what the other poster stated, in-floor heat is not very expensive and because each area is controlled by its own thermostat, YOU control when the heat is on/off. A vapor barrier on top of the concrete is the way to go.

When purchasing laminate I would suggest going with a brand that has 'uniclic patent technology'. We will only purchase laminate with this system. Many other laminates come apart (my friends bought the cheaper stuff and they are constantly pushing it back together). We've had laminate in our house now for over 10 years and not one single piece has ever come apart! At that time the brand was "Hercules". I know that Mohawk is a brand that uses uniclic technology (I'm currently researching again for our new build). Not sure of others, but definitely keep this in mind when purchasing. You won't regret it.

Good luck and enjoy your new room.
Old 08-10-13, 06:48 AM
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Z has pretty well covered things, but you won't be able to effectively install grid heating under some laminate flooring. I would not install cheap laminate flooring in any situation, but if you must, you must. 5/8" click lock engineered flooring will make a much better, less "clacky" floor and is refinishable, whereas laminate is only a thin strip of MDF with a picture of wood pasted on top and a coating or two of aluminum oxide. Long term.....heat grid and tile.

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