Radiant Heat Subfloor Materials Radiant Heat Subfloor Materials

A radiant heat subfloor can be a great way to heat your home effectively. You will have to make many decisions before putting your idea into practice. The consequences of these decisions will remain with you for years, so it is important to take them seriously. One of the main things you will have to decide on is a material to cover your radiant heat subfloor with. Different flooring materials can interact with a radiant heat subfloor in different ways, so it is vital to consider the different options available. What follows is a summary of the different types of radiant heat subfloor materials that should help you understand their advantages and disadvantages.


Wood is a common type of flooring material for radiant heat subfloors. This is for a reason — wood floors and radiant heat subfloors go very well together. Wood will warm up in a relatively short amount of time, saving you time and energy spent waiting for your floor to heat up.

However, wood comes with its disadvantages. Any radiant head flooring material will have to expand and contract as it is heated and cooled. Wood can be weakened by heat, and expanding and contracting, especially while weakened, can cause cracks and other forms of damage.

Because of this, using laminated wood flooring is the best way to have a wooden floor over a radiant heat subfloor. Laminated wood has the same appearance as a solid wood floor. It also heats up just as easily. However, it does not damage as easily.


Carpet is a standard choice for many floors in many homes, but it does not go with radiant heat subflooring as well as other types of floor materials. Carpet acts as an insulator, preventing heat from passing through it. As a result, using carpet over a radiant heat subfloor causes several kinds of problems. For one thing, carpeting over a radiant heat subfloor will cause your heating system to be less energy efficient. Because the carpeting resists heat, you will actually get less of the energy it uses as useable heat radiating through your floor. Also, carpeting will reduce the temperatures in your home by blocking heat from your radiant heat subfloors.

It is still possible for you to use carpeting in your home with a radiant heat subfloor, however you should limit your use of carpet as much as possible. Some rooms should use a different floor material, and carpeted rooms should use a thin carpet with minimal insulation.


Tiles are a great material to go with a radiant heat subfloor. Ceramic tiles in particular are an excellent choice. They heat up quickly, and are able to store a great deal of heat, making them a solution that is both effective at heating, and energy efficient. Unlike other types of flooring materials, ceramic tiles do not block heat from reaching the inside of your home. While you may not want to have your entire floor be made of ceramic tiles, they can work together with carpet as an alternative very well.

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