Recent research has found that the choice of flooring is very important to the heating and cooling profile of your home. The ground itself is much more resistant than the air to changes in temperature. That means that the ground will stay cold after a cold night even after the sun comes up. In the summer, it will stay warm even if the temperature dips. Since the ground functions as a strong insulator, your floor is one of the most difficult parts of the home to climate control. That also means that heating from the floor up is one of the most effective ways to heat your home.
For these reasons, underfloor heating has become very popular with many homeowners. As the heating system heats the floor, that heat radiates upwards and into the rest of the home. The floor will hold that heat much longer than the air will. So, less energy is required to maintain a comfortable home. However, heat is a common culprit in hardwood floor warping.
Choosing The Right Hardwood
If you have a hardwood floor already or if you’re thinking of installing one with an underfloor heating system, you need to make sure you have the right hardwood for the job. Engineered hardwood is resistant to cupping but certain kinds are better than others. Engineered hardwood that is made of only three plies might not be the best option. Three-ply engineered hardwood is made from a base layer, a core plank, and a veneer. A sub-floor heating system can cause stress on the wood that will eventually warp it. Higher-end hardwood flooring is made of seven, nine, or even more layers. That will likely resist warping.
Furthermore, solid hardwood is susceptible to warping in the face of moisture, but the temperatures of a sub-floor heating system are typically not so high that solid hardwood will warp. As long as you keep the floor dry, solid hardwood should work just fine.
Installing Underfloor Heating
There are some types of sub-floor heating systems that do not work with solid hardwood. Solid hardwood has to be nailed to the sub-floor. If your heating system actually sits on top of your sub-floor, then you won’t be able to nail the flooring down, and solid hardwood won’t be an option. Engineered hardwood, by contrast, can float on top of the sub-floor. That means it can be used on most kinds of underfloor heating systems. It’s best to ask a local hardwood installer before you commit to your flooring.