Best Types of Flooring To Be Installed Over Radiant Heating

Radiant heat has many benefits. Walking on heated floors in winter is very cozy. The dog will love laying on it. And radiant heat can be very economical.

If you’re considering the installation of a radiant heat system, some flooring options work better than others. Here are the top 4 flooring options for use over radiant heat.

1. Tile Flooring

Porcelain and ceramic tile are great conductors of heat, so your home will get the full benefit of the radiant heating system. In addition, tile flooring will not expand as it warms or contract as it cools. Such expansion and contraction can cause cracking. That’s not a problem with tile.

2. Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring replicates the look of solid hardwood flooring or tile flooring without the expense. It also does a great job over radiant heat. The laminate material is built up with layers of wood that run in opposite directions. This creates a more stable material than solid hardwood. The laminate won’t expand and contract, in other words, like solid hardwood flooring wood.

3. Engineered Wood Flooring

Like laminate, it is produced in layers, so it has a more stable base that won’t react to the heating and cooling process. The top layer, or wear layer, is solid wood and comes in all the same varieties that you’ll find with other solid hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring even comes in bamboo. It looks great, wears great and warms great.

4. Natural Stone Flooring

Granite, travertine, sandstone and other natural stone flooring types conduct heat wonderfully. You might think of stone as cold, but not when it has got warm water flowing beneath it. If you never thought you’d like to walk on stone flooring bare-footed in January, you never considered radiant heat!
5. Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring, in particular wood look vinyl plank flooring, is incredibly popular and with the introduction of higher quality rigid core technology most vinyl plank and tile can now be used with underfloor heating.

Be sure to to check the installation requirements for each individual product as the warranty will often state the maximum temperature that the vinyl plank has been certified to work with.

What Flooring Should Not Be Used Over Radiant Heat?

What about the opposite question?  What type of flooring should not be installed over radiant heat?  Carpet has insulation value, so it will prevent some of the heat from transferring through into your home. You can use a few area rugs over the flooring, but avoid large rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting.

Vinyl flooring is not a good choice either. The heat may discolor the vinyl or cause the off-gassing of chemicals. Finally, solid hardwood flooring will swell and shrink with the heating/cooling process, especially in homes that use a humidifier during winter. You don’t want to invest in pricey hardwood flooring only to have it cup, buckle, crown and crack.

If you’re planning to install comfortable, efficient radiant heat, your best choices for use with radiant heating are tile flooring, laminate flooring, engineered flooring and natural stone flooring.

Learn More About Radiant Heat And Flooring Options

  • Energy.gov – Informative website run by the Energy Department that addresses energy and environmental concerns.
  • Nuheat – Top manufacturer of radiant floor heating systems that can help you save energy and live a greener lifestyle.
  • DIY Network – Learn more about radiant heat flooring mats and how to complete a DIY installation.

Have you installed radiant floor heating in your home or are you considering it? Share your thoughts below.

8 thoughts on “Best Types of Flooring To Be Installed Over Radiant Heating

  • February 6, 2022 at 11:36 pm
    Permalink

    Hello Pros
    Can radiant floor matting be laid over a existing vinyl tiled floor?

    Reply
  • January 10, 2022 at 9:15 pm
    Permalink

    We have laminate flooring and radiant heat, however it is not warm to touch. Our ceramic tile flooring is warm when heating up but cools quickly. I thought we would have toasty feet all winter but we do not. We used bubbly insulation and fiber glass insulation in the rafter area between basement and 1st floor to try to help improve our heating.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2021 at 2:45 pm
    Permalink

    what is the name of the glue that you used? Also did you check with the manufacturer IF glue compatible with your water in floor heat?

    Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 1:51 am
    Permalink

    hello pros,

    can steel sheets be used for flooring with floor heating? steel wouldn’t be in direct contact with the floor, it will be raised to 2cm creating a void underneath it above the surface of the radiant floor.

    Reply
  • June 27, 2021 at 10:12 pm
    Permalink

    We are building a new home and have the slab already done with the radiant in floor heat. We are wanting to install the new luxury vinyl plank floors. It is safe to do that. We do not want ceramic or carpet.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2021 at 9:57 pm
    Permalink

    We have radiant heat with ceramic tile throughout the entire downstairs of our home. We are also on a slab. My question is / can we put stick and peel tiles directly on top of this flooring? I say no, but someone I know says yes. Can you please comment ASAP.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for this useful site. We have purchased Coretec Enhanced composite floor tiles. The tile manufacturer says this product is compatible with radiant floor heating. But the heating system we bought (IdealHeat’s 3 ft. x 18 in. 110-Volt Radiant Floor Heat Film with Anti-Fracture Membrane from Home Depot) seems to assume it will be used with a tile floor above it. (Lots of details about appropriate trowels, etc.) Will this flooring and the heat system work together OK?

    Reply
  • January 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm
    Permalink

    I have heated floors and they have ceramic tile on them my question is can we put laminate over the ceramic?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.