As a manufacturer and distributor of high quality electric underfloor heating systems Heat Mat warranties its products for extended periods of time with most underfloor heating products receiving a no-quibble lifetime warranty. This warranty covers failures based on manufacturing defects, incorrect installation advice provided by Heat Mat or the failure of a system after Heat Mat have approved/recommended the floor build up or usage scenario. The warranty covers the repair or replacement of the Heat Mat products in question and a Heat Mat director will always consider the case for funding the costs of completely rectifying the installation in question if further expenses are incurred. Heat Mat’s warranties are covered by a European-wide insurance through their parent company Heatcom A/S who are based in Denmark.
Heat Mat will not guarantee the floor coverings used above their systems against damage or discolouration due to the multitude of floor coverings used and the high variance in quality and design of these. Heat Mat will always recommend an industry standard method of heating beneath any floor covering we are requested to specify for, and our strong recommendation is that the floor build up is passed on to the floor covering manufacturer for their own approval as they alone supply the warranty on their floor covering. In more than twenty years of supplying electric underfloor heating systems to the UK and European market the handful of times that there have been issues with the floor covering above the heating system usually relate to incorrect installation of the heating/flooring, flooring being installed that is incompatible with underfloor heating, the wrong heating system being used, or the system being used incorrectly (for instance the maximum floor temperature being ignored).
Although the floor covering list below is not exhaustive, it does provide additional detail related to the most used floor coverings:
- Ceramic, porcelain and terracotta tiles - as long as the tiles are bedded down with a flexible tile adhesive and a flexible grout is used, we are not aware of any issues to the tiles when used with any suitable electric underfloor heating system. For very large format tiles (more than 0.5m² per tile) it is important to ensure that the tile is evenly heated to prevent any thermal shock to the tile causing it to crack. For reclaimed antique tiles we strongly recommend using no more than 160W/sqm and covering the heating cables or mats with a minimum of 20mm of flexible levelling compound. For mosaic tiles we recommend that the heating mat or cable is first covered with a levelling compound before tiling to ensure a level base.
- Tiles containing epoxy/plastic or organic components - these types of tile will have a maximum temperature that they can reach before there is a risk of discoloration. To ensure that these types of tile retain their original condition you should speak to the manufacturer of the tile, confirm it is suitable for use with electric underfloor heating, and always cover the heating mat or cable with at least 12mm of flexible levelling compound before fixing the tile. The maximum floor temperature should be set as recommended by the manufacturer of the tile.
- Vinyl tiles (LVT) and vinyl including Amtico™ and Karndean™ - these types of flooring are laid in a wide variety of ways and can vary from roll out vinyl sheets through to hard tiles that are bonded down, and plank systems often described as laminate although it still must be bonded down. The most stable method of heating these floors is a heating mat or cable covered with 12mm or more of levelling compound operating at no more than 160W/sqm; the levelling compound helps to spread out the heat and ensures that there is no discolouration of the floor surface. As an alternative Combymats with overlay boards can be used to provide a dry installation without the need for levelling compounds. When heating these types of floor it is vital to ensure that they are not thermally blocked as this can lead to discolouration of the floor covering due to excess heat; thermal blocks could include dog beds, thick rugs, floor fixed furniture or bean bags as they all trap the heat. Over the last twenty years, when our systems have been installed correctly with the maximum floor temperature limited to 32°C we have never known an issue with the vinyl floor covering above. Always confirm with the floor manufacturer that their system is suitable for use with electric underfloor heating.
- Engineered board and laminate systems - for floating floors with board 8mm thick or more Heat Mat’s Combymat system is suitable and heating mats or cables covered with a 12mm levelling compound are also a great option. For bonded floors Combymat is not suitable. It is important to confirm with the manufacturer of the flooring that it is suitable for use with underfloor heating, and to confirm the maximum floor temperature they are happy for it to reach before installing the system.
- Wooden floors - some wooden floors can be heated with electric underfloor heating, but we recommend speaking to the floor manufacturer to confirm how best to achieve this, and to speak to Heat Mat’s technical support team to develop a system design. Many wooden floors cannot safely be heated with underfloor heating.
- Carpeted floors - 160W mats or cables covered with a 12mm levelling compound are the most suitable heating system for carpets, although Combymat with overlay boards can also be used when levelling compounds are not desired. It is important to confirm with the manufacturer that their carpets and underlay are suitable for use above underfloor heating and we recommend a maximum combined Tog rating of 2.8 for the carpet and underlay together above our heating systems.
- Other floor coverings including rubber, leather, cork, clay etc. - these are specialist floor coverings and although they can usually be heated it is important to consider all aspects of the floor build up. If you are looking to heat one of these floors, we recommend speaking to the manufacturer to confirm they are happy for it to be heated and also their parameters; for instance, maximum floor temperature, required height above the heating cables etc. Once you have this information you should speak to Heat Mat’s technical support team who can help you develop a design to heat the flooring.
The above is not exhaustive and if you have any questions or require any further guidance please contact our award winning technical department, by phone on 01444 247020 or contact us here by email. If you prefer, we also have an online chat available between the hours of 8.30AM — 5.30PM, please click here to chat.