vinyl floor and underfloor heating – a combination that is becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, it is a topic that always raises questions. In this article you can find out which vinyl flooring is suitable for underfloor heating systems and what you should bear in mind when laying , so that you can benefit from the advantages of your vinyl floor on underfloor heating in the long term.
A wide range of applications, attractive appearance, easy installation, resistant material properties and much more – the advantages of a vinyl floor are obvious.
Underfloor heating also impresses with numerous advantages such as cost-effectiveness, cleanliness and environmental friendliness.
In single and multi-family houses, the proportion of underfloor heating as a heating system is now just under 50 percent.
It is therefore not surprising that the installation of vinyl flooring on underfloor heating is also becoming increasingly popular.
That’s all that matters:
Criteria for vinyl flooring on underfloor heating
While there was a lot of discussion about the suitability of vinyl flooring on underfloor heating in the past, the combination has now proven itself through predominantly positive experiences.
In principle, there is absolutely no objection to the installation of vinyl flooring on underfloor heating, provided that certain conditions are taken into account in advance:
The most decisive criterion for laying vinyl flooring on underfloor heating is whether the chosen heating system ensures reliable temperature control.
Unlike other floor coverings, such as laminate, parquet or tiles, a vinyl floor reacts primarily to heat.
If the temperature rises, the material expands strongly, the heat decreases, it tightens again.
Strong temperature fluctuations or too fast temperature rises can lead to unsightly joint formation or permanent damage to the vinyl floor.
Therefore, it is important that the underfloor heating does not heat the vinyl floor too much or too quickly.
The maximum surface temperature of vinyl floor heating should not exceed 27° C.
Hot water underfloor heating vs. electric underfloor heating
The classic version of hot water underfloor heating generates heat by flowing warm water through plastic or copper pipes.
What is often seen as a disadvantage has a positive effect for vinyl floors:
The sluggish lead time of a hot water underfloor heating ensures a slow heating of the vinyl floor and thus protects the material.
In addition, the temperature in the pipes remains relatively constant between 26 and 28° C throughout the heating period.
The flow temperature – i.e. the temperature at which the water circulates through the pipes – has no influence on the vinyl floor and can therefore be quite higher.
Especially with modern low-temperature underfloor heating systems, the surface temperature can be precisely regulated by built-in thermostats.
It should be noted, however, that the installation of a hot water underfloor heating system involves relatively high effort and a certain height must be maintained for the final floor ingesis. Especially in the case of renovation work on existing buildings, the building conditions must therefore be carefully checked in advance.
Otherwise, however, hot water underfloor heating must be used without hesitation for vinyl floors.
Caution is required with electric floor heating systems.
In this variant, the heat is generated by the combination of current and voltage, which leads to a significantly faster and sometimes higher temperature increase than with hot water underfloor heating.
Although modern models also have the necessary technical requirements for temperature control, the installation of vinyl flooring on electric underfloor heating systems has not been recommended before.
Expert Heating installation
In general, the installation of underfloor heating under a vinyl floor exclusively should be carried out by a specialist.
This ensures that the substrate is prepared professionally and that any moisture in the screed has been sufficiently baked out before laying the vinyl floor.
In addition, not only must the construction height on the entire floor area be precise, but also the pipes of the underfloor heating must be installed in such a way that a uniform distribution of heat on the vinyl floor is guaranteed. Even spot heat nests can cause damage to the vinyl floor.
Special Footfall sound insulation
To ensure that the heat from the underfloor heating is ultimately transferred to the surface of the vinyl floor in an energy-efficient manner, the lowest possible thermal resistance of maximum 0.15 m2K/W is required.
In addition to the thickness of the floor and the thermal conductivity of the material, the impact sound insulation or vapour barrier used also affects this value.
For underfloor heating systems on which a vinyl floor is to be laid, special footfall sound insulation is available.
The quartz sand most contained in it stores heat and releases it to the room.
Other insulating materials such as polystyrene, cork or foam, on the other hand, prevent the heat from spreading and are therefore unsuitable for use with vinyl floors on underfloor heating .
Contrary to its previous reputation, vinyl floors achieve excellent results in terms of energy efficiency and heat performance.
Due to the low heat transfer resistance and the good thermal conductivity, rooms with vinyl flooring can be effectively heated by underfloor heating.
Which vinyl floor is designed for installation on Underfloor heating suitable?
If an adequate underfloor heating system has been found and the necessary preparations have been made, the crucial question arises as to the right vinyl flooring.
All vinyl floors suitable for installation on underfloor heating systems are specially marked.
If a vinyl floor does not have a corresponding label, a written confirmation of suitability for underfloor heating from the vinyl floor manufacturer should be obtained prior to installation.
The extent to which a vinyl floor is suitable for use on underfloor heating also depends on the design and the type of installation.
Basically, a distinction is made between vinyl on HDF carrier plates and solid or full vinyl.
Vinyl on HDF is similar to laminate and is floating using a click system. There are also click systems that are made entirely of vinyl.
The thinner full vinyl, on the other hand, consists of homogeneous planks and is only glued to the screed on a full surface.
Types of laying from vinyl flooring to underfloor heating
Basically, all types of laying work to install a vinyl floor on hot water underfloor heating systems.
However, there are differences in energy efficiency, albeit mostly minor.
Solid or full vinyl flooring, which is glued to the surface, is best suited for installation on underfloor heating.
The direct connection between the vinyl floor and the substrate using suitable adhesives and the relatively low material thickness of maximum 5 – 6 mm ensure optimum thermal conductivity.
But also the floating laying of vinyl floors on underfloor heating is possible.
However, in this type of laying, in contrast to the fully bonded installation, a thin air layer forms between the substrate and the vinyl floor, which impairs the thermal conductivity.
In addition, in the case of floating vinyl floors on underfloor heating, a footfall sound insulation is necessary, which additionally affects the heat transmission resistance.
Vinyl floors on HDF substrates, which are usually much thicker than solid vinyl floors, are particularly suitable for installation on underfloor heating less optimal.
In addition to the impact sound insulation, which is already integrated in many vinyl floorboards, an additional vapour barrier is also required for mineral substrates (e.g. cement screed or anhydrite screed) so that rising damp cannot damage the substrate material of the vinyl floor.
In any case, when laying vinyl flooring over underfloor heating, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s specifications and installation instructions. You will also need a orderly vinyl cutter to place clean cuts.
Laying vinyl floor on tiles with underfloor heating
Often a vinyl floor is also laid on existing tiles, under which there is already underfloor heating.
This also applies in this case:
Even if it is basically possible to lay a floating (click) vinyl floor, it is recommended to use a fully glued full vinyl floor to prevent heat loss.
Is a vinyl floor on underfloor heating Harmful?
A question that until a few years ago was quite justified:
Vinyl floors used to contain harmful plasticizers, which developed toxic fumes when heated, for example by underfloor heating.
Today, however, vinyl floors in Europe are subject to strict conditions, which ensure that the use of harmful phthalates is dispensed with.
Therefore, unless an old vinyl floor is used, the laying of vinyl flooring on underfloor heating has no negative health effects.