Radiant in floor heating and wood floors
Lately I have been asked a few times about installing wood flooring over radiant in floor heating. Many people believe this can’t be done or is a bad idea and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it is true that wood will expand and contract somewhat with temperature change and humidity change there are steps we can take to minimize this movement so it doesn’t cause any problems with the radiant heat.
It is important that the home’s heating system be running and comfortable as if the house was lived in. The new wood flooring should be stacked in the living area so that air can circulate around it allowing it to acclimate to the homes conditions. The temperature, humidity, and the moisture content of the wood needs time to stabilize before the installation. This can happen fairly quickly or sometimes can take a few weeks. If using an engineered wood this will take much less time and is less of a concern. If using solid hardwood make sure you buy a quality product to begin with, acclimate as necessary and it too will work fine. Installation techniques vary depending on the product and the sub floor materials. Here in Durango we are often working with Gypcrete or Concrete for a sub floor with radiant heat. In both cases Engineered wood can be floated with no problems. Solid wood can be nailed if we install wood sleepers before the Gypcrete, or if no sleepers we can prime and then glue the wood floor.
Regardless of the installation technique or whether it is engineered or solid wood, these floors are beautiful and perform great over radiant in floor heat.