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Question DetailsAsked on 1/29/2014

What type of flooring is best for a concrete pad with radiant heating?

Existing vinyl 12x12 tiles have popped from age and heat .

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1 Answer


One that will let radiated and convective heat rise from it. That means either a conductive surface exposed to the air, or a surface that lets air freely circulate to it and rise.

Concrete finishes obviously would be most effective (staining, painting/epoxying, polished, ground or shotblasted surfacing), followed by thinset bonded tile or stone though those will introduce a "lag" into the heating system response as they initially soak up the heat every time the thermostat kicks on before releasing it to the room. Vinyl and linoleum are moderate conductors especially if tightly full-bonded and thin, but do have the heat yellowing and peeling free problem.

Wood and engineered wood of course are insulators, and very susceptible to curling and bowing under frequent heating and cooling cycles. Laminate and padded carpet are poor because they are basically insulators, especially with the padding, so you will heat the concrete nicely and the ground below it, not the room. There are a few open-weave unpadded carpets designed for this use that are supposed to help the situation.

You don't say what the room is to be used for. If a rec room or such, I would recommend what we had when I was a kid - (was actually asphaltic vinyl squares flooring but stuck fine for 30 years at least) - I would recommend a bare floor with open-weave area rugs like this to let the heat through -

There are also a lot of open design Berber, New York basket weave, native flat weave, and open spiral weave patterns that leave a lot of area for air to rise from the surface. There are also open-weave Sisal and Bamboo floor coverings. The advantage of area rugs is a lot of the floor area can be left open to directly heat the air - in low traffic areas, unused corners, under furniture, etc.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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