The toasty warm feeling you get underfoot from underfloor heating can’t be denied, but is it enough to heat a whole room?

This is a common question people ask when thinking about whether to install underfloor heating in the home or work place, especially when they have been used to scorching hot radiators piling out lots of heat.

However, that heat belching out of the radiator is only half the story.

Although the area around and above the radiator may be warm, radiators are not very effective when it comes to distributing warmth evenly through a room.

Radiators versus underfloor heating

The main difference between radiators and underfloor heating is the type of heat they use. Radiators use convection heating which heats the air around the radiator, causing it to rise towards the ceiling where it cools and drops back down to be heated by the radiators again. You’ll find that other areas, such as the middle of rooms, are often left cold, often resulting in you cranking the heating up higher and huddling near the radiator for warmth.

Underfloor heating, on the other hand, uses radiant heat in which the pipes winding through the system heat the floor above. The floor covering in turn grabs that heat to warm the objects and people in the room. This means your whole body feels warm, wherever you are in the room.

Underfloor heating as the primary source of heat

Underfloor heating results in a toasty, comfortable and even distribution of heat and, in most cases, is effective as the primary source of heat.

The main factor is how much heat loss there is from the room in question and whether this is greater than the heat output from the system.

You can control this to a certain extent by making sure the building is well insulated and you use the best flooring for conducting and disseminating heat.

Wood, vinyl and some carpets can achieve a floor temperature of around 27 degrees, while tile and stone can achieve a higher temperature of around 30 degrees. Some materials can restrict the ability of underfloor heating to effectively penetrate a room as they have insulating properties, such as carpets with a tog above 2.5 and some laminates.

Other factors which affect the output of the underfloor heating include:

  • The amount of exposed floor – it is recommended that as much as 80% of the floor should be exposed to give the necessary amount of heat to the room
  • Insulation – underfloor heating works best in a well-insulated and energy efficient home

In conclusion, underfloor heating can absolutely serve as the primary source of heating in a room and will work most effectively where other conditions are also favourable.


How long does underfloor heating take to heat up?

Underfloor heating has to heat the entire room of a floor and can take a little longer than radiators to fully warm up. However, this does depend on the type of underfloor heating you choose.

Our retrofit underfloor heating, for example, uses dry screed Fermacell overlay boards which transmit heat very efficiently and heat up much quicker.

A customer who had the overlay boards fitted in their home recently took thermal images of the system in use after just being turned on and again after 20 minutes. This shows a rapidly heating floor with an even spread of warmth throughout the room.

Overall, underfloor heating keeps a room deliciously warm and uses less energy to do so, which means a comfortable warmth throughout and lower heating bills to boot.

If you’d like to find out more about underfloor heating, our expert advisors are happy to help.