What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating can be used to simply warm your floor or act as a primary heat source, replacing your radiators. It comes in 2 main forms, electric systems and water systems.

Electrical systems use electrical cables to generate heat, whereas water systems use of a length of pipe set in the floor, a heat source and a pump to pump the water through the pipes to heat your floor.

Which system should you choose?

Each system type provides different benefits, making each more suitable for specific project types. Here are some of the key points to remember when choosing the right system for your needs.


How does an underfloor heating system work? (Water)

Water systems, also known as hydronic underfloor heating or wet floor heating, involve pumping water, heated to an optimal temperature by a heat source (a traditional boiler or heat-pump) through underfloor heating pipes, also known as circuits, which are laid within or on top of the subfloor beneath your floor finish.


How does an underfloor heating system work? (Electric)

Electric floor heaters are available as either a heated mat or heating cable-based system and both convert electric energy into radiant warmth. Heating mats use ultra-thin electric heating wires pre-attached to a ready-sized mat which can simply be rolled out and adhered to the subfloor. Heating cables take the form of a free-form electric wire which can be directly installed onto or within the subfloor.

Comparing electric and water underfloor heating systems

Electric System

Rapid installation times. Some systems can be installed in 30 minutes.

Electric heating wires or heating mats connected to a line from the electrical panel.

Ideal for renovation projects.

System can be zoned to counterbalance electricity cost.

Cheaper to install than water systems.

Electric heats up and cools down faster.

No maintenance required.

Water System

Take longer to install.

Heating pipes pump water in underfloor circuits heated by a boiler system.

Recommended for new-build projects.

Lower long-term running costs than electric systems.

More expensive to install.

Hydronics heats up and cools down slower.

Regular maintenance required.