Why You Should Install LVT with Underfloor Heating

Resimercial design elements – those that evoke the feeling of comfort and home – all commonly display features that create a sense of warmth. To achieve that atmosphere, both literally and figuratively, builders and designers alike commonly implement underfloor heating into various spaces. Though this has typically been more popular in residential settings, it is sometimes used in commercial multi-family and hospitality environments such as living spaces of apartment complexes or hotel guest rooms.

Underfloor heating, also known as radiant floor heating, is a heating element that can be laid into or onto a subfloor to serve as an alternative heat source in a variety of settings. When installing underfloor heating, the second most important element to consider is the flooring that will be used over it.

LVT has grown in popularity for commercial settings due to its durability and wide variety of design choices, but many have raised the question: Can you use LVT with underfloor heating?

Installing LVT with Underfloor Heating

The short answer – yes, you can install LVT on top of underfloor heating. However, you’ll want to confirm the product is approved for radiant heating with the manufacturer before beginning the installation process. There are also several factors that must be accounted for when choosing an LVT flooring product and installing it over the heating element. Here are some common questions and concerns you should ask about when choosing LVT for your underfloor heated space.

Underfloor Heating Temperatures

This is possibly the most important factor to keep in mind when installing LVT over underfloor heating. Depending on the manufacturer, LVT will have a temperature threshold that should not be exceeded, as it will damage both the flooring itself and the underlying adhesive if any was used.

Always consult with the manufacturer’s technical guide to ensure that your underfloor heating element won’t exceed the maximum. Typically, as a general standard, your underfloor heating temperatures should not go above 85°F degrees.

Subfloor Choice is Important

The subfloor is more critical for the LVT than for the underfloor heating, so it is imperative that you have subfloors that work with your flooring choice. Ideal options include wood and concrete, which are two of the more common subfloors used with underfloor heating elements.

Installation Rules with Underfloor Heating

First, it is important to inform the LVT manufacturer that you’re installing the flooring over underfloor heating, and be sure to review their installation guidelines. The underfloor heating should be turned off for 48 hours before and 48 hours after the LVT is installed. This will allow the flooring and adhesive to bond correctly and set to ensure longevity.

The Benefits of LVT with Underfloor Heating

LVT is an ideal choice for floors with underfloor heating. Its defining properties – durability, sustainability and design variety – make it one of the optimal choices to install above underfloor heating. But, there are a few other unique features that LVT offers that are especially helpful for underfloor heating projects.

1. Thickness Options

A flooring product with a minimal or standard thickness works better for underfloor heating, as this allows the heat to move more easily through the flooring and therefore requires less energy. LVT comes in many thicknesses, including 3mm, an industry standard, and 2mm, which is ideal for light commercial or multi-family settings. This will provide the right level of cushion while also allowing the underfloor heating element to work properly and heat the space efficiently.

2. Floating Flooring

Floating flooring, an LVT option that requires little to no adhesive, is an ideal vinyl flooring option because of its application method. Floating flooring comes in two varieties, loose lay and click. Loose lay typically requires a perimeter or grid-like adhesive application to secure planks or tiles in place while the remaining installation is laid down in place. Click or rigid core click flooring is a series of tiles or planks that are clicked together, using an interlocking system that holds the flooring in place.

Because there is minimal to no adhesive used to apply the flooring, the underfloor heating does not affect it. Furthermore, if there is ever an issue with the heating element, vinyl tiles and planks can be moved so repairs can be made without damaging the surrounding floor surface.

3. Moisture Maintenance

A potential issue of underfloor heating is moisture. Moisture that gets trapped between the flooring and the underfloor heating element can damage both properties. If moisture seeps into the underfloor it could short-circuit. With LVT, the issue is not necessarily the product itself, as LVT is naturally water resistant – however, it lies in the seaming. It is recommended to properly clean any spills to prevent any moisture from going through the seams and on to the underfloor.

No matter what setting you install underfloor heating in – whether it be a hotel room, apartment building, or luxury spa – the overlay flooring choice is vitally important. With unmatched durability, comfort, and design options, LVT is the premier choice for radiant heat projects. Explore our wide variety of LVT designs, and please reach out to our team. We would be happy to help you.