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Underfloor heating: tips, accessories and costs
Underfloor heating: tips, accessories and costs

Video: Underfloor heating: tips, accessories and costs

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Video: Underfloor Heating Pros and Cons - All You Need To Know About Underfloor Heating Pros And Cons 2023, February

Underfloor heating keeps your feet warm and ensures cozy comfort in your own four walls. If you are planning to install underfloor heating, you need solid specialist knowledge in advance - we will explain to you what types of heating systems there are, what individual underfloor heating costs and what is important when installing. And last but not least: how you can control your underfloor heating digitally and intelligently via app & Co.

Underfloor heating is the epitome of cosiness, because such surface heating ensures comfortable living even on cold days. Even better if you can even regulate the temperature of the floor via smartphone or voice input. We explain the different floor heating systems, how to install them and what is important when choosing them.

There are these types of underfloor heating

If you want to install underfloor heating, you cannot avoid opting for a specific heating system: Basically, there are heated water and electrically operated underfloor heating systems. The water-powered underfloor heating systems differ again in those in which the installed heating pipes are covered with a screed, so-called wet systems, and drying systems in which the heating pipes are located directly under the floor covering - sometimes with dry plates as an intermediate layer.

Wet and dry systems vs. electrical systems

Which of these types of underfloor heating is the right one for your residential purpose is usually decided based on the starting point, i.e. the construction of your house, existing energy sources and the rooms in which the underfloor heating is to be installed: In principle, underfloor heating can be installed wherever it is installed there is a stable subsurface. New buildings usually have hot water underfloor heating, over which a wearing layer of screed is poured. In old buildings, underfloor heating as a drying system is usually the surface heating of choice because heating pipes with drying plates are easier to retrofit than a wet system with screed.

The classic: wet laying

Whoever opts for classic hot water underfloor heating - usually in new buildings - chooses a wet system with which the heat can be stored in an energy and cost-efficient manner. Reason: due to the heat and impact sound insulation, which is laid below the heating pipes, the heat does not migrate downwards. In addition, so-called heating screed is usually used as an infusion: This contains metal particles that conduct the heat from the heating pipes particularly well upwards. Which floor layer you ultimately lay on the dried screed - whether parquet, laminate, tiles or linoleum - is irrelevant. The heating-up time for this type of surface heating is comparatively short.

Advantages and disadvantages of underfloor heating in old buildings

If you want to modernize the old building and retrofit underfloor heating, you should be aware that retrofitting the underfloor heating can be more time-consuming than with the classic wet system. In addition, a lot of heat can be lost downwards due to possible inadequate thermal insulation in the unrefurbished old building. In principle, retrofitting with underfloor heating is possible - experts recommend thin-layer drying systems. To do this, the heating pipes and foils are simply attached to the existing floor - this even works with tiles if you use knobbed panels as the basis.


Before you modernize the old building and switch to underfloor heating, make sure that the thermal insulation is sufficient. Otherwise a lot of heat may be lost downwards.

Photo: iStock / filmfoto

Electric underfloor heating in profile

In terms of construction, electrical underfloor heating has a huge advantage over underfloor heating operated with hot water: it is significantly thinner. Especially the so-called heating foils, but also the classic electric heating mats, are very space-saving with a thickness of less than 0.5 centimeters. Another plus: an electric heater for the floor can be removed very easily and without residues.

No continuous heating with electrical surface heating

However, electric surface heating tends to be recommended as additional heating, for example as a supplementary heating system in winter, in order to save energy costs. It is of little use as a main heater, because its high power consumption makes it too expensive as a sole source of heat in terms of costs. Heating with electricity is generally considered to be less environmentally friendly and economically questionable.

The actual power consumption and heating costs also depend largely on the heat permeability of the floor covering and sub-floor: parquet, laminate, carpet and PVC are more advantageous than stone and tile floors.

Underfloor heating costs: Save with DIY

The cost of underfloor heating primarily depends on the type of surface heating chosen and whether you have the underfloor heating professionally installed or do it yourself. Classic hot water underfloor heating, if installed by a specialist, costs around three times as much as DIY installation, according to home improvement estimates. As a result, DIY equipment is available from as little as EUR 800. Additional costs can be saved by installing the heating distribution box yourself. Conversely, however, the higher expenditure of time and the possibly non-ideal room conditions must be taken into account when installing the unit.

If you are guided by the market prices, you will receive underfloor heating operated with hot water from around 30 to 70 euros per square meter - whereby laying in the drying system is a little cheaper because the screed is not required. At around 40 euros per square meter, electrical surface heating systems are usually somewhat cheaper.

The right accessories for underfloor heating

Do-it-yourselfers who install classic hot water underfloor heating on their own save some costs that are incurred for the professionally carried out installation. Useful instructions for self-assembly can be found online. The components required in every case include insulation boards, edge insulation strips, staplers, adhesive tape, a mounting device and anchor clips. The heating pipe, a heating circuit distributor and clamping screws, a distribution box and pipe cutting shears must also be available in order to be able to assemble the heating distribution box.

Basically, one heating distribution box is required for each floor to supply the heating pipes of all rooms on the same floor with heat. The heating pipes themselves are installed in a spiral shape in each room and connected to the heating distribution box, which pumps the hot water into the pipes as a heating source.

Instructions for DIY enthusiasts: Tips & tricks for installation

But whether you install the underfloor heating yourself or have it installed by a specialist, the procedure is always the same in principle: The first step in installing underfloor heating is always to lay the edge insulation strips on the lower edges of the room walls to delimit the floor Foil once around the edge of the room, comparable to a baseboard, attached all round with the staple gun.

In the second step, standardized insulation boards made of styrofoam are laid out and, if not suitable - with recesses and obstacles - cut with a carpet knife: It is important that you measure the distances correctly in advance. Caution is advised: The styrofoam of the insulation boards breaks easily and requires careful handling when cutting.

After cutting and laying out the insulation panels on the floor, they are connected with an adhesive tape: an adhesive tape on the hand dispenser is particularly suitable for this. In the same work step, the foils of the edge insulation strips must then also be unfolded with the same adhesive tape and glued to the insulation boards on the floor.


A rolled-up foil on the edge of the room, which is attached all round with the staple gun, serves as an edge insulation strip.

Photo: fotolia / photo 5000

Lay the heating pipe - the small 1x1

Once all the preparations have been made, all you have to do is install the heating pipe: To do this, first connect the heating pipe to the distribution box by cutting it clean and screwing it on. The hose is fixed to the floor with a tacker assembly device and anchor clips, which you can usually buy as a set. A useful auxiliary tool is a pipe reel, because you can use it to roll the hose flexibly on the floor.

Tack the heating pipe in 50 cm intervals in the shape of a snail shell to the floor: Once the heating pipe is laid halfway in the entire room, it is then laid back from there in the spaces in between to the distribution box. This creates a double snail shell shape, which ends at the distribution box, where the heating pipe is fastened with clamping screws. You need around 100 meters of heating pipe for a room of around 35 square meters.

Service life and maintenance: What you need to know about underfloor heating

Of course, the lifespan of an underfloor heating system is not unlimited: however, operation with the hot water model usually works perfectly for around 50 years. If repair work occurs at short notice, there is often only a leak at the distributor connections. The floor only has to be pried open if a leak at the distributor can be completely ruled out. In order to avoid repairs, pay attention to gas-tight material such as copper or PE pipes during the installation and fill the heating pipes exclusively with oxygen-free water and preservatives.

Specialist companies can professionally clean the underfloor heating with hot water system as part of maintenance and flush the heating pipes, after which all heating pipe parts can be heated up evenly again.

Smart Home: control via app and radio thermostat

Traditionally, a thermostat is used to control the heating output of an underfloor heating system: This can be used to set the temperature manually or automatically according to the specified heating phases. In the meantime, however, there are also intelligent solutions for digital remote control of the floor heating via app or even via voice control.

To do this, you need a smart thermostat that can be linked to digital applications. Find out about this smart home option in advance when you purchase your thermostat. At the same time, you should also check whether your desired model can only regulate the surface heating in a single room or for several rooms or zones. Ideally, you can control the thermostat on the go - and use it to heat several floors precisely and as required.


Anna Engberg

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