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Floor Construction Diagrams for Underfloor Heating

Diagrams of how underfloor heating is fitted in various floor constructions. You will note that we do not use metal plates with our system. Metal plates can double the cost of your underfloor heating materials in one fell swoop, and to be honest, they are unnecessary to achieve heat transfer. We also avoid the use of insulation that has grooves for the pipe to fit into. You need as much pipe in contact with the thermal mass (the concrete or infill) as possible and we don't see the point of encasing the pipe in insulation so that most of its surface is prevented from giving up its heat to the floor. Finally, we do not install our system from below because it is much easier to install from above and keeps it simple. Please click the appropriate diagram to see a larger view.

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diagram of slab plus screed floor with u f h
Slab Plus Screed or Beam and Block

By far the best method for performance of the underfloor heating system. The screed provides good thermal conductivity and reasonable response times. But by far the best benefit of using this floor construction is optimum fuel efficiency.

diagram of structural concrete slab with u f h
Structural Concrete Slab

This technique means that you heat the entire concrete slab, which makes it sluggish to respond in comparison to the slab plus screed technique above. A thicker thermal mass stores a lot more energy and gives off heat for much longer, so is best suited to commercial buildings that will be kept at a constant temperature and not have frequent set-back times. It uses more energy to warm up in the first instance, and is now rarely used in domestic properties.

diagram of suspended timber floor with u f h
Suspended Timber

Used in most upper floors, and contrary to something akin to an urban myth, works perfectly well with underfloor heating. A point to note is that if using a suspended timber ground floor, you must use rigid insulation under the entire surface of the floor to prevent through-draughts carrying your heat away. Glass fibre insulation is not acceptable for ground floor use because of draught penetration, but can be used for upper floors.

example diagram of u f h in slab plus screed floor with u f h Hardwood

This technique is a variation on the slab plus screed method. Some hardwoods may require a fixing, for example if they need to be screwed down or fixed with 'invisible clips', and this method provides a way of incorporating battens into the floor screed.

diagram of u f h pipes between the joists of a suspended timber floor
Between the Joists

This technique can be applied when fitting underfloor heating into an existing timber joisted floor, particularly if your door heights and stair landings cannot be altered. Because this technique requires the top of the joists to be notched at random locations you should check with your architect or structural engineer before commencing.


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Underfloor heating supplied and installed throughout the UK by Borders Underfloor Heating.
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