Today, the installation of underfloor heating in the room has become very popular. One of the options is a warm water floor. A huge range of equipment for its installation is presented on the building materials market. And making the right choice can be very difficult. Therefore, it is necessary to study the characteristics of each element, and figure out if there is a need for such a structure as a water floor at all.
Pros and cons of water floors
Underfloor heating is one of the most cost effective and popular types of heating systems. The room is heated thanks to the circulation of hot water through a pipeline built into the floor.
The main advantages of a water floor are:
- uniform heating of the floor and room surface;
- air is distributed vertically – from bottom to top, and creates a comfortable environment;
- the temperature lasts for a long time, even if the system is turned off, which significantly reduces heating costs;
- health safety;
- long service life;
- absence of fungal infections of the floor surface;
- maintaining optimal humidity in a heated room.
Due to the absence of radiators with water floor heating, you can create an interior in a room in any style, introducing any design solutions.
Cons of the system:
- there is no way to regulate temperature indicators in individual areas;
- it is difficult to install it in an apartment with centralized heating due to the impossibility of regulating the pressure in the pipeline;
- if the pipeline is damaged, flooding is possible;
- repairing the floor in the kitchen is quite difficult – in order to fix the pipe, you need to remove the entire surface of the floor.
In houses connected to central heating, an electric boiler can be used as a heat source for the underfloor heating. But in this case, electricity costs will increase significantly.
Arrangement of warm water floor
The project of a warm water floor for heating through a pipeline with water is simple. Its principle of operation is the same as for steam heating with batteries. The batteries are only replaced by pipes built into the floor.
A pipe is connected from the boiler, through which the pump pumps water heated to the optimum temperature. It passes through all the pipes in the floor, and, having made a full cycle, comes back no longer hot.
A more complex scheme for multi-circuit floor installation methods. A collector is mounted to the boiler, and several pipes go out from it, leading to different rooms. But the general principle of operation does not change: the water must go full circle and return to the boiler. This is the main difference between water and cable electric underfloor heating.
The underfloor heating device is a layered structure consisting of:
- base layer (wood floor or concrete slab);
- thermal insulation (prevents heat from escaping from a given direction);
- water floor directly heating the room;
- concrete screed;
- final coverage.
How to choose equipment
The main elements of this heating system are pipes and a boiler. In addition, you may need a manifold and a box for it, a pump, fittings connecting pipes to the boiler, heat and waterproofing materials.
Among the materials for underfloor heating, pipes from different materials can be used:
- of stainless steel;
- reinforced polyethylene;
- metal-plastic, etc.
Today, pipes are produced specifically for heated floors. They are very flexible and can withstand high pressure. Their service life can reach 25–28 years. But they are quite expensive. The best option is metal-plastic pipes. They can last a long time and are easy to install. It is better to refuse polypropylene pipes, since they are not suitable for installation in a concrete screed. If we take metallized Rehau pipes, then preferably with an antioxidant coating.
A separate pipe of suitable length must be taken for each heating circuit. There should be no connections in the middle of the system. The optimum tube diameter is 2 cm.
Collectors are of different types. The simplest models only let the coolant through the pipes, and no longer provide other functions. More modern designs make it possible to regulate the water supply to each separate branch of the system, to set its temperature. The newest options are equipped with an auto-adjustment system that automatically sets the desired parameters.
To choose a collector, one should be guided by the number of circuits in the house (apartment), and the need for their constant control. If all rooms must have the same temperature level, you can get by with a simple collector model, and not overpay for additional functions.
Thermal insulation should be done before installing the pipes. You cannot do without heat loss during the operation of a warm floor. The system will give off some of the heat to the outside. Therefore, heat-insulating elements are placed under the tubes. This will keep warm, speed up the process of warming up the room.
To select a material for heat insulation, it is necessary to consider:
- thermal power of the heating system;
- bearing capacity of the floor;
- expanded polystyrene;
- mineral wool.
For a device in a warm water floor, expanded polystyrene is better. A layer of it is made at least 3 cm. So that heat does not escape at the joints, they are reinforced with a polymer cloth with a reinforcing mesh. Since expanded polystyrene is a highly flammable substance, it is additionally covered with a foil composition.
There are several methods for laying pipes for a water floor:
- Snake – pipes are laid along the wall, at the end they are bent and directed to the other side. This covers the entire floor surface. The difficulty of this installation method is in the design of the bend of the tube. With a small pitch, the pipe is very difficult to bend, and the large distance between the pipes does not warm up the surface properly.
- Double snake – unlike the previous method, it uses 2 pipes running parallel to each other. The distance between them should not be more than 3 cm.
- Spiral (snail) – laying occurs from the outer perimeter of the room, moving towards the center. From the center, the pipe is turned back, closing the chain. This installation scheme is very popular, because due to the alternation of hot and cooled tubes, uniform heating is ensured over the entire surface.
- Combined method – several options for installing pipes are used in one room. This is true if the room has a non-standard shape with protrusions or recesses, for example, for installing a warm floor in the kitchen.
Before laying the warm floor in the kitchen, you need to prepare the surface. It should be perfectly flat. For this, you can use self-leveling mixtures for pouring.
- A waterproofing material is placed on the rough surface. At the joints, it is attached with tape. Along the perimeter of the walls, it is fixed with a damper tape.
- The next layer is thermal insulation. The thickness of the material depends on the characteristics of the room. For example, in a basement or on the ground floor, the insulation density must be high. This helps to reduce heat loss. For the kitchen, a layer of ordinary foil will be enough.
- The next stage is pipe laying according to the chosen scheme. The average distance between them should be about 30 cm. They are attached with plastic clamps to the reinforcing mesh, or with special profiles. Insulation materials are produced with already provided projections, with the help of which the pipes are fixed.
- Fittings connect the tubes to the manifold.
- The collector is connected to the system and run in test mode. The pressure and temperature should be raised gradually over a period of at least 4 hours. In the absence of leaks, the maximum allowable pressure is tested by supplying water to the system using a pump.
- After testing the structure, the pipes are covered with a reinforcing mesh and poured with a cement screed not thinner than 3 cm. The technology of laying a water floor under the tiles allows laying the tiles directly on the screed.
- After the screed has dried, a moisture-resistant laminate is laid. In this case, the moisture content of the surface should be 2–4%.
The installation of a warm water floor should be approached responsibly. The performance of the system depends on the quality of the equipment and installation, so choose an air manufacturer, for example, Rehau underfloor heating. To be sure of the operation of the warm floor, it is better to entrust its installation and connection of the system to the collector to professionals.