Underfloor heating VS radiators

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Let’s not beat around the bush and get straight to it.

What is underfloor heating or UFH? This is a type of heating that will produce heat from underneath the floor, heating the floor itself as well as the actual space it is in.

Why do you need it? It’s a cost-effective way of bringing luxury into your home which will benefit things such as aesthetics, energy bills and comfort.

So how much is this luxury? Cheaper than you might think. It’s a great investment that you will love and won’t be able to imagine your house without it. There are different systems and the combined cost will be affected by the size of the area, but some helpful figures are provided below.

Actual cost? Electrical underfloor heating supply and install costs start at £50 per square meter with water system starting at £65 per square meter.

What does this mean? A typical spacious room of 20m2 would cost in the region of £1000 for electric and £1300 for water systems. This would include all labour work, materials, accessories, installation and testing.

Doesn’t sound very cheap to me! Alternatively, you can choose radiators which you will need two of (circa £200 for standard white with TRV’s), materials and fittings (circa £150), labour cost (£250) and company overheads and profit (£200 or higher). It’s about 20% cheaper than UFH, but you will lose all the benefits listed above. 

Ok, it makes more sense now. What is the difference between electric and water? Glad you asked. The electric systems come as single wire or matts that are easy to install and tile over. They are generally more expensive to run but are cheaper at the initial purchase. Water systems are made of plastic tubes that are spread around the floor which are usually imbedded in concrete screed or special panels with grooves. More expensive to buy and supply, but normally cheaper to run over time.

Where can I find more information about this? We tend to use the same supplier after we make our checks and inspect the products. Try https://www.theunderfloorheatingstore.com, this is a specialist supplier we would highly recommend. Keep in mind that they provide better deals to trade customers hence no point in trying to purchase this in advance to save money, as you won’t be really saving anything.

Can I use UFH with any floor type? Here is a helpful guide as to what works and what doesn’t:

  • Carpet of specific TOG in only compatible and not any carpet, please check with supplier for guidance
  • Engineered wood, hardwood and laminate is suitable only if specified by the manufacturer, special instructions might be provided such as stick down directly to screed with no underlay
  • Vinyl is typically suitable with UFH installation
  • Tiles are mostly suitable with UFH installation

Hopefully you are now all set to make a well-informed decision about what to use for your own project. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need further advice. Good luck!

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