Fitting underfloor heating systems in new buildings is easy. You just have to lay the slab then fit the pipes and lay the floor over the top.
With an existing room, things get more complicated. In the past, the only option was to lift the old floor, lay the pipes for the underfloor heating system then lay a new floor over the top.
This process was time consuming and messy. The fact that there was a lot of a labour involved in removing the old floor and disposing of the flooring meant that it cost about 30% more to lay a heated floor in an existing building than it did in a new build.
The new way to retrofit underfloor heating
To get around this issue the industry has developed a new way to lay underfloor heating over the top of an old floor. This raises the floor level slightly, but is a lot cheaper and faster than ripping up the old floor.
There are two main types of overlay flooring. The type you need depends mostly on the flooring you already have.
Here is an overview of the main fixing methods:
For ceramic tiles
If you are laying a heating system over tiles, you can use grout and adhesive to fix the panels to the floor. This option allows you to lay the panels directly onto the existing floor surfaces. If you prefer you can lay ply over the top of the tiles and use adhesive and grout to secure the panels.
For most wooden floors, it is possible to screw the panels directly to the wood. You can do this for solid, laminate and engineered wood floors.
If you are unable to remove a carpet, you can cover it with a layer of thick plastic, followed by a layer of ply. The panels can then be screwed to the ply or MDF if necessary.