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How Radiant Heating Affects Hardwood Floors

Radiant heat hardwood floors can help make your home a more comfortable space during the winter months.

Instead of walking across cold floors, why not customize your home for your ultimate comfort?

Installing radiant heat hardwood floors can not only improve your quality of life, but can also increase the value of your home. In this blog post, we will go over the benefits of radiant floor heating so you can feel informed and confident when talking with a hardwood floor contractor.

What is in-floor radiant heating?

Just like the name suggests, in-floor radiant heating is installed within your floors to provide a heated walking surface. Radiant floor heating is great for homes that suffer from cold hardwood floors during the winter months and can even serve as a supplement for your current heating system.

What are the different types of radiant floor heating systems?

There are many different types of radiant floor heating systems, which include electric, hydronic, and air. Electric radiant heating systems use electric coils to produce heat. Hydronic radiant heating systems, on the other hand, use pipes underneath your floors where heated water passes through. Air radiant heating systems are the least efficient because air isn’t able to retain heat as effectively as water or electric heating coils.

How is radiant heat flooring installed?

Your hardwood floors are typically comprised of four layers:

  • Floor covering (the wood planks you walk on)
  • Underlayment (an optional layer that helps your floor’s surface look even)
  • Subfloor (a structural layer that supports the weight of the floor and furniture)
  • Joists (strong beams that serve as the foundation)

The installation of radiant floor heating will depend on the type of system you decide to install. For example, for electric systems, radiant heat tubing can be installed under the subfloor during new construction and insulated with foil or fiberglass. It may also be possible to install radiant heat tubing within a plywood underlayment system or on top of a wood subfloor. You’ll need the expertise of a wood flooring contractor to determine the best way to implement floor heating technology.

Is radiant floor heating recommended for hardwood floors?

In general, radiant heat is not recommended for hardwood floors because it can cause the wood planks to dry out. When hardwood floor dries out it contracts, creating gaps between planks and cupping. However, if you have your heart set on radiant heating for hardwood floors, there are ways to get around these issues.

For example, quarter-sawn wood expands from the top to bottom, which reduces the likelihood of gaps and cupping. Narrow boards are also better at hiding wood planks that are shifting from changes in temperature and humidity. You’ll also need to consult with an experienced Grand Rapids wood floor contractor to determine which tree species are best for installation over radiant heating. While there are unique challenges to installing wood floors over radiant heating, it’s not impossible.

What are the benefits of in-floor radiant heating?

While hardwood floors provide a classic aesthetic to any home, they can also be cold to walk on in the winter. If you plan on spending a lot of time in a room with hardwood floors, you may want to consider the advantages of in-floor radiant heating. Rooms with radiant floor heating are more comfortable during the cold months.

Radiant floor heating can also help decrease your energy costs. Unlike carpeted floors, hardwood floors are able to conduct heat more quickly so you can enjoy evenly heated floors throughout your home. In Michigan, radiant floor heating isn’t enough to keep your home comfortable in the winter. However, it can effectively supplement your current heating system.

If you are interested in our hardwood floor installation service, please feel free to call our East Grand Rapids or Holland showrooms. The hardwood flooring contractors at Rivershores Hardwood Flooring & Cabinetry work hard to provide you with quality materials for wood floor installation.

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