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The best flooring for underfloor heating

You can improve the comfort, warmth, and overall enjoyment of your home by installing underfloor heating (UFH). But with so many flooring options available, it can be hard to decide which type is best. Our guide compares a range of floor coverings and takes a closer look at how they perform with underfloor heating. 

Which flooring is best for underfloor heating?

The best flooring for underfloor heating is one that conducts heat from the underfloor heating pipes to the surface of the floor most efficiently. Solid floors such as stone, tile or engineered wood are typically considered the best floor coverings. They conduct heat faster and transfer warmth from the underfloor heating through the floor and evenly into the room. 

Solid surfaces offer the best heat transfer, but that doesn't mean that other types of flooring can’t be used. Vinyl and carpet are also popular, and although they are less conductive, they still work well.

The best types of flooring for underfloor heating 

Flooring is an essential part of any interior design project, it enhances the aesthetics of a room and improves the lifestyle of your home. Such a permanent fixture is important to get right and should be considered carefully when pairing with underfloor heating. 

Let's take a closer look at the different types of flooring that can be used with underfloor heating:

Which types of flooring conduct the most heat? 

When it comes to the best flooring type for underfloor heating, a good place to start is by looking for a floor covering with the most effective heat output. 

Certain types of flooring have a top temperature restriction, which in turn limits the maximum heat output. Compare the options below to get an idea of how different flooring will perform. 

 Floor covering Maximum floor
temperature °c
Average heat
output W/M²
Tiles & stone 29°c 72²
Concrete 29°c 72²
Vinyl 27°c 68²
Wood 27°c 56²
Carpet 25°c 48²

* On average - output and maximum floor temperature can vary

Ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles are the best type of flooring to use with underfloor heating. Not only are they stylish and easy to clean, but they also have the highest thermal conductivity of any flooring. 

This solid flooring allows heat from the underfloor heating pipe to transfer through the floor quickly and heat the room. Popular for kitchens, bathrooms and entrance halls, UFH takes a chill off solid floors that could otherwise feel cold on a winter's day. 

When considering tiles for underfloor heating, bear in mind the thickness of the title. While a thicker tile has little difference in heat output, it may take longer to heat up. 

  • Efficient and effective heat transfer
  • Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and conservatories
  • Retains heat for longer
  • Hard-wearing and long-lasting 
  • Large range of styles to suit your interior 
  • A high-quality finish
  • Suitable for installation anywhere in your home
  • Ceramic and porcelain – excellent heat transfer and easy to keep clean 
  • Slate and flagstone – natural finish and highly conductive. Extremely durable and ideal for high footfall areas such as hallways
  • Marble – highly asthenic. Slower to heat than other solid floors but still naturally conductive

Engineered wood has good structural stability and performs well with changes in floor temperature. It's a popular choice for many homeowners looking for a natural, timeless finish and works well with underfloor heating. 

Solid hardwoods and softwoods can also be used, but make sure to specify the width and thickness of the board carefully. The thinner and denser the boards are, the better they conduct the heat. 

  • Effective heat transfer
  • Natural finish 
  • Softer underfoot than tiles or stone
  • Suitable for use anywhere in the home
  • A variety of colours and finishes to suit any design scheme
  • Engineered timber – the preferred choice of wooden flooring. Highly durable, conducts heat well and adapts to changing temperatures and humidity
  • Solid hardwood – Opt for a kiln-dried timber with low moisture content to minimise warping due to temperature or humidity changes. Care should be taken to ensure compatibility with UFH.
  • Softwood – can be used with UFH, although a thinner floor board should be selected for a more effective heat output
  • Bamboo – effective conductor of heat and a stylish natural option 
  • Parquet floor – stylish and timeless, available in solid or engineered wood 

Laminate is a synthetic floor covering that simulates wood in its look and feel. It’s easy to keep clean, straightforward to install, and cost-effective. It comes in a variety of colours, styles, and textures to suit any home. 

Laminate is the popular choice for kitchens and hallways, where a more durable surface that is resistant to scratches, stains, and spills is required. It's perfect for busy homes with children and pets, and the majority of laminates work well with underfloor heating. 

  • Quick and easy to install
  • Easy to keep clean – great for busy households
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Looks and feels like real wood or stone
  • Variety of styles and fishes to choose from 
  • Suitable for use throughout the home 

Vinyl, lino or cushion flooring is an affordable alternative to other flooring types. It’s easily installed anywhere in the home and works well with underfloor heating.  It heats up fast and cools down quickly, and is easy to keep clean with a seamless finish. Vinyl comes in a huge range of styles, patterns, and colours suitable for contemporary and traditional homes. Imitation tiles, stone and wood floor designs are available, and come at a fraction of the cost of natural flooring. 

  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Softer underfoot than stone or tiles
  • Easy to install
  • High-quality finish with a variety of styles to choose from 
  • Suitable for use throughout the home 

Installing underfloor heating doesn't mean that you have to compromise on comfort. UFH can be used with most types of carpet, provided that the carpet and any underlay do not exceed a Tog value of 2.5.

  • Soft and comfortable underfoot
  • A range of styles and fishes to choose from
  • Perfect for bedrooms and living rooms

Resin or polished concrete (otherwise known as screed) is a great option for modern homes and has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is energy efficient and highly conductive, making it an ideal flooring type to use with underfloor heating. Resin floors have a smooth, seamless finish and can create a striking, contemporary look and feel.  

  • Highly efficient heat transfer
  • Available in a variety of colours
  • Modern, contemporary finish
  • Holds heat for longer than other floor coverings
  • Suitable for ground floor new builds and renovations projects

You can find everything you need to successfully install underfloor heating on Simply UFH. We stock a huge range of UFH kits, pumps, tools, and thermostats ready to order with free next day delivery. We also offer a bespoke design service, provided by our UFH experts. Get in touch for a quote today.

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