Materials for warm water floors: which is better, how to choose

A warm water floor is presented as a system, the principle of which is to use hot water as a heat source. Special pipes are installed on the floor surface, thanks to which water circulates, which gives off heat, and then the pipeline is hidden under the cement screed. Heating of the liquid passing through the tubes can be carried out by connecting the system to a central heating or gas boiler.

Warm floor in the kitchen

The kitchen, the room where the tenants of the apartment are for a fairly large amount of time, and hence the temperature regime here should be as comfortable as possible. Conventional radiator systems give off heat to the space from the place of their installation upwards, while the legs of a person, which require more heat than the head, remain in the zone of low temperature indicators. Underfloor heating generates heat, starting from the bottom, this allows you to achieve maximum comfort for the human body, where the head is in a zone with heated air around + 18ºC, and the legs + 21ºC – 22ºC.

How beneficial is the technology

Installation of a warm floor in the kitchen and the prices for all components of the system will not be cheap. It is also worth considering that serious professional skills are needed for self-calculation and installation. Having an apartment in a multi-storey building, if you design the kitchen yourself, you will have to immediately abandon the idea of ​​connecting the system to central heating, which will create an increase in hydraulic resistance. To install a separate circuit, a permit from the State Building Authority will be required.

Even in a low-rise building, connecting water-heated floors to a central heating system is not desirable. In this case, the owners will not be able to properly control the temperature regime, and at the end of the heating season they will be left without heating at all.

Initially, the apparent investment, of course, will seem significant, but during operation, this design will fully justify itself and give high savings.

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive sides of a warm water floor include:

  • a feeling of comfort, which is provided by the radiation of heat from the floor during heating, while radiators create air conversion;
  • lack of conversion also excludes dust circulation in the room;
  • due to the fact that the system is installed over the entire floor area, the corners are not damp in the room and the possibility of the formation of various fungi is excluded;
  • an important role for health, indoor air humidity plays, with warm floors it always remains within normal limits;
  • makes cleaning easier, during which you do not need to clean the radiators;
  • the absence of heating devices makes it possible to plan the design more comfortably;
  • underfloor heating is well combined with other types of heating;
  • in comparison with the operation of the radiator system, the energy savings are up to 30%;
  • a sufficiently long service life, which depends on the service life of the pipes that were used during the installation of the system.

The disadvantages of using this warm floor include:

  • the inability to use the system in houses with a large number of apartments by connecting it to the central system;
  • the installation of this warm floor requires a certain ceiling height in the room, since the entire structure takes about 13 cm of thickness;
  • in the case when the floor has already been installed, additional partitions after, will require the participation of the master;
  • there is a risk of leaks in case of breakage;

During the design, special attention will need to be paid to the laying of the contours. Water, giving off thermal energy, becomes colder to the edge of the circuit, which is why the end zone always has a lower temperature than its beginning.


Having stopped your choice on a warm water field, you should take into account all its components (layers), the total thickness of which varies in the range of 5 – 15 cm. This size depends on the factors that will be presented below. Ignoring at least one of them will lead to incorrect operation of the entire system, and the end result will not fulfill all the requirements of this type of floor.

  1. The installation of the floor begins from the base, which is cleared of dust and dirt. Existing differences of more than 0.5 cm will have to be leveled. Ignoring them will lead to a deterioration in heat transfer and a greater hydraulic resistance.
  2. The next layer is a waterproofing material, which can be a simple plastic film. Its job is to protect the floor from possible condensation of water.

Since the film of the required size most likely will not be found, much attention is paid to forced joints. The material is laid with an overlap of at least 8 cm, and the seams are sealed with tape.

  1. In order to compensate for the expansion of the screed, which will occur during heating and to prevent its crackling, a damper tape is laid around the perimeter of the entire area. When laying, you need to calculate the height of the future floor and set it 2 cm above this level.
  2. In order not to lose the generated heat, thermal insulation materials are lined after the waterproofing. Their height, and hence the height of the future floor, depends on what is under the apartment. If the room is located directly above the basement, it means that the waterproofing layer will have to be laid thicker than in those cases when there is a heated apartment below.
  3. The next layer is occupied by pipes for running hot water. They also have different diameters, which will affect the thickness of the floor.
  4. On top of the pipes, a bearing layer is poured or laid (depending on the type of base).
  5. Finally, the finished structure is covered with a floor covering.

So that the heat does not go to the neighbors from below, you can lay the substrate made on the basis of the foil on the heat-insulating layer.

Recommendations for the selection of materials

For finishing and rough screeds, it is better to use high quality selected sand and cement. You can buy ready-made mixtures, the quality of which meets the technical or GOST conditions.

A ready-made mixture will cost more at a price, but the special additives existing in the composition allow you to use the solution at a rather low temperature in the room, without needing to heat the concrete solution.

The role of insulation can be played by:

  • Mineral wool has good sound insulation properties, but if it gets wet for any reason, it starts to lose heat.
  • Thermal insulation mats are considered the fastest and most convenient method of thermal insulation. They are distinguished by good strength, have protrusions for laying pipes and are covered with a special film (vapor barrier).
  • Expanded polystyrene is used more often than other heaters and has a different thickness, which allows you to make an individual selection for each room.

Heaters are made in the form of slabs, and their installation is not difficult, but so that moisture does not go out of the concrete into the joints, it is worth using tape in these places. The surface can also be covered with foil.

When choosing pipes, you need to take into account: high strength of the product and the minimum bending radius. The best pipes are:

  • Reinforced plastic – have an aluminum layer and a minimum expansion coefficient. The disadvantages of this product are the high price and possible creases (limitation of the radius bend).
  • Polypropylene – are considered the cheapest product of all the options, but they require a special temperature regime during installation (not lower than + 15ºC). The bending radius is also not happy and reaches 8.
  • Polyethylene is the most common option due to its good characteristics. Bending radius 5 and heat resistant material. The disadvantages include the inability to preserve the original form during installation.

Floor covering

The flooring plays a large role in the transfer of heat that comes from the pipes.

  1. Laminate. Optimal thermal conductivity for comfort at low system power. Keeps warm well. Laying underfloor heating under the laminate is used with a minimum thin polymer backing, and for this the screed must be made as even as possible.
  2. Parquet board / parquet. The structure of this coating requires constant moisture and heat resistance. It quickly picks up and evaporates moisture, which means that due to its excess, the floor will go in waves, while at low humidity gaps will begin to form. In the kitchen, such a coating will behave capriciously.
  3. Linoleum. Warm floors in the kitchen under linoleum are rare, but if you opt for this type of coating, then only made of natural materials. Prolonged overheating of artificial materials provokes the release of destructive substances on the human body.
  4. Tile (ceramic or tiled floor). Warm water floors under the tiles are considered an ideal coating with high heat transfer, which is installed in any room of the house, but during the absence of heating, ceramic floor tiles begin to give cold to the room.

If you do not save on buying everything you need and carry out the installation work correctly, a water-heated floor will last for many years and justify all financial investments with its savings, and the kitchen will become a favorite place for the whole family.


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