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Fitting your wood floor over underfloor heating


Thermal resistance of wood varies with the species but is in the order of 0.13m2 K/W. Wood naturally reduces heat transfer through the whole floor construction and thus wood flooring should only be considered over an underfloor heating installation with full prior consultation with the heating engineer.

All of our engineered floors are suitable for installations with under floor heating systems. You must check with the manufacturer of the underfloor heating system to ensure that the system can be properly controlled to ensure the maximum temperature at the surface of the timber floor (at any point) will not exceed 27°C.

It is important that you set the underfloor heating system to make sure that it cannot in any circumstance cause a floor surface temperature that exceeds 27*c. The best way to do this is with an infrared heat monitor. These are inexpensive and will allow you to calibrate the maximum running temperature of your heating system.

For water systems this is easily achieved by adjusting the regulator to a maximum water temperature that is commensurate with a floor temperature of 27*c.

For electric systems you will also need to set up the system so it is impossible for the floor temperature to exceed 27*.

Please note that the 27* is across the whole floor and it is common for poorly installed systems to have hot spots. The calibration of both water and electric systems needs to be measured against the hottest areas in the floor.

Please also note that underfloor heating systems are designed to operate as a “slow” heating source. The appeal is that they omit an even level of heat over a long period of time. The only circumstances within most properly insulated homes that a temperature of 22* cannot be achieved with a floor temperature of 27* is when the 22* is demanded too quickly. In this respect if you use an underfloor heating system like a conventional radiator, you will damage your floor as the short term temperature boost will cause excessive temperature in the floor.

Please note that room temperature settings are NOT floor temperature settings.

The temperature of the floor only needs to exceed 27* for a short period of time to damage your floor.

Early signs that your heating system is running too hot include: colour fade in the floor’s natural tone, and/or small longitudinal splits along the centre and ends of a plank (this is normally prevalent around knots).

If corrective action is not put in place quickly the hardwood layer in your floor will start to shrink. When this happens the hardwood layer will curl up at the edges. In extreme circumstances the dried out hardwood layer will move to such a degree that it becomes loose and will start to delaminate from the backing layer.  When dried out hardwood layers become loose they will normally need to be replaced, however in some circumstances the wear layer can be glued back into place (the additional use of a micro nail gun will hold the boards in place whilst the glue dries).

Replacing wear layers is a professional undertaking and requires the removal of either the entire plank from the floor or in some circumstances the removal of the hardwood wear layer. This can sometimes be undertaken without damaging the finish on the floor. However if the floor does not have bevels between each component, the floor will need to be refinished. The re-finish could be straight forward and only involve a light sand to the existing finish and then the application of additional coats of finish. In some circumstances the floor will need sanding back to bare wood prior to re-finishing.

Please note that all Ted Todd engineered wood floors are tested for adhesive bond strength. The bond performance between the hardwood layer and core meets all European standards. Wood floors that fail over underfloor heating fail due to shrinkage in the hardwood layer of the board and not due to poor adhesion.

Where possible we recommend that all floors are glued to the subfloor with Ted Todd MS Flex adhesive but this will depend on the system and subfloor you have chosen. Please ensure the sub floor is rated to allow direct gluing of timber floors.

The ambient humidity and temperature should all ways be maintained.

Do not lay rugs/large items that will trap the heat over floors with under floor heating systems as this can cause excessive drying of the timber.

Some electric underfloor heating systems are not suitable for installations with timber flooring, check with the manufacturer that the system will adhere to the above criteria.


The under floor heating installer must ensure that all services running beneath the floor have been fully tested before laying start.

Once the screed is dry (see ‘moisture testing’ for full specification), and prior to installation follow heat up procedure as follows:

  • Day 1: 20°C
  • Day 2 – 30°C
  • Day 3 – 40°C
  • Day 4 – 50°C or the maximum planned operating temperature and maintained constantly for 7 days
  • Day 12 – 40°C
  • Day 13 – 30°C
  • Day 14 – 30°C
  • Day 15 – Switch off heating system

Allow 4 days before a final moisture reading is taken.

If more than 7 days elapse between the last cooling down day and the start of laying the flooring, the under floor heating system should be run at minimum operating temperature for 2 days. The system should then be switched off for at least 4 days before a further moisture check is carried out prior to laying.

Once this has been completed, moisture checks agree with recommendations and your subfloor is suitable for glue down installation, follow guidelines for glue down installation.


Some electric underfloor heating systems are not suitable for installations with timber flooring, check with the manufacturer that the system will adhere to the general guidelines.

If the system is suitable follow the guidelines for floating installation.

Heating systems over suspended floors

For installations where the underfloor heating is suspended in joists or an overlay system, consult your supplier of the heating system to ensure it is rated for use with engineered wood floors and follow their installation instructions.

Always follow our general guidelines for underfloor heating and check joist spacing as per our acceptable subfloors section.