Heating Laminate Floors with Radiant Heat

What are the Best Options for Installing Radiant Heat Under Laminate Floors?

Heated laminate floor.

Radiant heat has proven to be an outstanding, and highly efficient means for heating homes. Radiant floor heating systems are very versatile, and can be easily installed under laminate flooring. Because laminate floors are also very versatile and common, several radiant floor heating systems have been designed to safely and effectively heat these types of floor surfaces. Available in a wide range of attractive patterns, laminate flooring can closely resemble the beauty of tile as well as hardwood floors. Although laminate wood flooring looks very similar to genuine hardwood flooring, there is actually no solid wood used in its construction. Rather, laminate floors are made up of several materials bonded together under high pressure.

Most laminate flooring consists of a moisture-resistant layer under a layer of high-density fiberboard (HDF), and topped with a high-quality photographic image of natural wood, or some other type of flooring. The surface is then finished with a hard, clear coating made from special resin-coated cellulose that protects the floor's surface. Laminate floors are generally very durable, and the dense center core has very good stability, so the flooring can safely be installed over a radiant floor heating system. However, it is always a good idea to check with the laminate flooring manufacturer prior to making any purchase for a heated floor system.

If you have access to your floor joists from below, you can also apply radiant heat to existing laminate floors. Thin RetroHeat® floor heating panels are stapled up between the joists, and insulation is then installed to direct all the upward to warm the laminate floor.

Radiant Floor Heating Systems Recommended for Heating Laminate Floors

ComfortTile floor heating system

COMFORTTILE® is Warmzone's most universally recommended floor heating system. The ComfortTile mats include a thin heating cable that is placed on a flexible fiberglass mesh backing with adhesive so it can be rolled out and then secured to the subfloor quickly and easily. This helps to save money by reducing installation time. The floor warming mats are pre-terminated for use with 120 and 240V, and are available in various lengths. The mats heat an area 24-inches wide.

ComfortTile floor heating cable is just ⅛-inch in diameter, so very little floor build up is required. ComfortTile systems come complete with a GFCI protected thermostat and strapping to secure and properly space the heating cable. All sizes and adjustments of cable spacing and coverage can be made onsite. The twin-conductor heating cable is matched with premium materials, enabling the ComfortTile heat cable to provide superior floor heating performance and fast response times.

FilmHeat floor heating system

The FILMHEAT™ in-floor heating system is an excellent value for installing radiant heat under laminate, hardwood and floating floors. The paper-thin heating element is laid out directly under the flooring as it is being laid out, making it quick, easy and affordable to install. The FilmHeat floor heating system efficiently heats your floors without requiring any floor buildup. When installing the system, the heating panels are cut to their proper length onsite, and then installed on the subfloor. After the FilmHeat heating elements are secured, the electrical connections are then made and the flooring is installed directly over the panels.

FilmHeat can also be used to retrofit existing floors with radiant heat by accessing the floor joists from below. The the heating panels are stapled up between the floor joists. Batt insulation is then applied over the heating element to direct all the heat upwards, resulting in an affordable and efficient way to add radiant floor heating to existing floors. (This system for heating existing floor is Warmzone's RetroHeat® floor heating system.)

Low-voltage floor heating element

FLOORHEAT STEP® is a low-voltage floor heating system that features a thin, flexible heating element. The system is so versatile that in addition to being an outstanding option for heating virtually any type of flooring, the system is also one of the most recommended for roof de-icing applications. No other radiant heating element can match its characteristics. The radiant heating system utilizes a self-regulating, semi-conductive polyethylene heating element that can be used for new construction as well as retrofit applications. Warmzone FloorHeat is installed directly under the flooring, and even in thinset when installing under tile. No additional floor buildup is required when heating floors with the low-voltage FloorHeat system.

FloorHeat STEP is a safe low-voltage product for practically any application, so it can be safely nailed through (such as in roofing applications) without damaging the heating element. Like the RetroHeat floor heating system, the low-voltage FloorHeat STEP heating element can also be installed between floor joists to provide radiant heat for existing floors.

Prodeso floor heating membrane with ComfortTile floor heating cable.

The PRODESO® floor heating system features an innovative uncoupling and waterproofing membrane for heating floors and other surfaces without movement or expansion joints in the screed. The flexible membrane is laid out over the subfloor and then ComfortTile heat cable is placed in the pre-engineered channels. (The membrane contains reliefs that allow for secure heat cable placement and accurate spacing.) Once the heat cable is secured in the membrane, the flooring can then be installed. The Prodeso membrane, heat cable, and flooring can be installed the same day. The floor heating system with the Prodeso underlayment results in a floor buildup of approximately ¼-inch.

The versatile Prodeso Heat Membrane can be used to heat a wide variety of floor types. The waterproofing membrane is rolled out and installed over the entire subfloor, and then the heat cable is installed. The Prodeso floor heating system provides the benefit of an underlayment membrane, as well as the comfort, efficiency, and convenience of electric floor heating.