It’s easy to see why radiant floor heating is so popular here in the Calgary area. Not only does it provide the ultimate in comfort, but also it does so in an incredibly efficient way, which reduces energy costs. Radiant floor heating conducts heat by hot-water tubes or electric wires buried underneath the floor. Waves of infrared radiation seep up heating your body from your feet upwards. This type of heat is much more efficient and comfortable than conventional heating systems which disperse through the air, creating pockets of hot and cold inside your home. Let’s assume you’ve made the brilliant decision to apply radiant heat to your home flooring. Next, you’ll be faced with the decision to install a floor covering. Here are some options that will withstand the heat.
The most common and efficient floor covering for radiant floor heating is ceramic tile. Not only does it conduct heat well, it adds thermal storage so you don’t need as much energy to heat up your interior for longer periods of time. Ceramic tile is also highly resistant to warping or cracking while not expanding and contracting with heat, so it’s easy to see why this is probably your best choice for a floor covering over radiant heating systems.
Also great at withstanding high temperatures, stone has good thermal conducting properties. While you wouldn’t think it from the look of the material, granite, travertine, sandstone and other natural stone flooring materials conduct heat wonderfully. Bet you never thought of walking on stone bare-foot in the middle of winter in Calgary? It’s a feasible and reasonable option with radiant heating systems underneath nowadays.
If you’re going to go with carpeting, use as thin a carpet as possible over your radiant floor heating system and try not to include thick padding underneath the surface. Any insulation will naturally decrease the efficiency of the heating system – essentially putting a “blanket over the radiator” by reducing heat flow. The last thing you want is an expensive radiant heating system being muted by the carpet installed directly over it.
Generally speaking, any tile flooring will be your best bet for floor covering over radiant flooring. You’ll want to minimize insulation from your floor that will prevent the heat from escaping upwards. Along those same lines, adding rugs to cover a floor aren’t the best idea. We all know Calgary can get downright frigid in winter. Live comfortably and warmly inside your home during those rough months with radiant heat!