The Best Flooring for Radiant Heat eHow

The Best Flooring for Radiant Heat eHow

Tile and Stone

Porcelain, ceramic and stone tiles all serve as excellent conductors of heat, making them an optimal choice for covering radiant heat systems. Unlike wood, these materials wont expand or contract as the temperature changes, and are resistant to warping or cracking when properly installed. They absorb and hold heat, releasing it slowly to warm the home efficiently over an extended period. If your home has radiant heat pipes or tubes buried in concrete, consider leaving the concrete exposed rather than covering it with another material. The concrete will conduct heat from the tubes below, and staining, etching or other finish techniques can help create a visually-appealing surface.


Many homeowners steer clear of wood flooring when using radiant heat due to concerns about moisture, but it is possible to cover radiant heat systems with wood if you choose the right materials. The WFCA recommends engineered wood over solid hardwood for improved dimensional stability, which means the wood is less likely to warp, twist or crack when exposed to heat or moisture. If you must have real wood, This Old House suggests using thin, quartersawn planks rather than thick or flatsawn wood, and priming the back of the floor with shellac to keep out moisture.

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