What type of floor coverings should I use?
Radiant heat can basically use any floor covering, but some are much better than others. Tile and concrete are the best, followed by hardwood and carpet. Linoleum and vinyl can also be used, but the adhesive must be compatible with hot temperatures. The harder floor coverings are naturally better conductors because of their composition. Things like carpet and pads provide insulation between the heat tubes and the room needing to be heated, so they usually donʼt work as well as other coverings.
Are there any problems with using hardwood floors?
Hardwood floors are known as hydroscopic, which means they react and absorb water just like a sponge. This causes them to expand and contract, which is not ideal with a radiant system. But they can still easily be used in a radiant system if more precautions are taken during the installation.
The moisture content must be between 7-10% in the wood, and having it kiln dried is a very good idea. Also having a quarter-sawn wood is better than plane-sawn wood, and in slats no wider than 3”-3.5” would be ideal.
Is there anything in floors that can problems with a radiant system?
The only problem like this is associated with remodels, and is the tarpaper that is laid under hardwood floors. When it is heated it can produce a smelly odor throughout the house. This is not a problem in new construction, because almost all materials are compatible with radiant heating systems.
How is heat controlled in each room?
That option is chosen by the homeowner, and can be customized to each oneʼs desires. Different heating areas are called zones and are usually divided into rooms, so the heat of each room can be independently controlled. But whole floors can be assigned to one zone, which is sometimes more economical, especially in large rooms.
Each zone would have its own thermostat than can be set to a specific comfortable temperature. More advanced control systems use many different ways of controlling the heat, such as Internet based controls (to set temperature levels from anywhere in the world), outside temperature sensors (to change the indoor temperature as the outdoor weather changes) and other advanced technologies.