Thinking of retrofitting underfloor heating? Is underfloor heating a worthwhile home improvement? Is it a no brainer in your new extension? Should it be a serious consideration as part of a renovation project or is it really only suitable for new build homes? Read on to discover if freezing cold tiles could become your distant memory.

The go-to floor for new builds but will it work as part of my home renovation or extension project?

It is true that for a number of years most new build homes seem to have been built with underfloor heating. From our experience our clients seem to assume that all new build homes are simply built with underfloor heating as standard, it is now simply an expectation: about as mainstream as expecting running water and an inside toilet.

So why do building contractors seem to favour underfloor heating in new build projects?

Water-based underfloor heating is particularly well suited to well insulated spaces. It runs at a lower temperature than radiators and therefore is a good match for new homes that have been designed to comply with strict building regulation heat loss rules.

Typically, the underfloor heating pipes will be laid on top of insulation (which is laid over the subfloor) and then embedded in a suitable screed. Voila! Essentially your floor becomes a giant radiator.

Goodbye radiators. Hello to liberated walls and happy bare feet. Making underfloor heating work as part of your home improvement or extension project.

If we look at how underfloor heating is integrated into a new build, the system would seem to translate quite nicely to new extensions with solid subfloors, however if your new build extension has a solid subfloor and your existing home has joists, how does that work? Could you end up with a mix and match floor and can that work?

Yes, it can. More than one system can work and is now very commonplace. We would always advise that you seek professional advice and spend some time weighing up the pros and cons.

The earlier that you can explore the options when planning your home renovation, the better. Including and integrating your proposed heating system into your construction drawings and tender package is really very important and as ever, early planning always pays dividends in the long run.

Electric or water-based system, which is best for my home improvement?

Typically, electric underfloor heating is more expensive to run, hence it is often used in small areas. However, if your home is covered in solar panels this may not be an issue. Hats off to the eco-warriors who are not only powering their homes and cars with the power of the sun but putting back into the grid. We salute you! The height build-up of electric underfloor heating is minimal, this is why you it works so well as part of a bathroom renovation.

Water-based systems are generally considered as more suitable for larger floor areas. Seek advice from the heating experts and consider their professional opinions. You will also want to weigh up the installation versus the running costs versus the lifespan of the products.

The painful path to floor nirvana. Will retro-fitting underfloor heating to my existing home wreck it?

We all know the old adage about breaking eggs and making cakes and this can apply to retro-fitting underfloor heating to existing homes. Your skirting boards will have to come off, as will your architraves. If your new finished floors are higher than your old ones, your internal doors will need to be altered. If you have floorboards, these generally will come up. Any underfloor heating is only as good as the insulation under it.

If you want more information on building your dream extension or renovation and what heating works, best for you, please get in touch.

Our expert builders at A. Mann Building Contractors are here to discuss your building project in Kent and Sussex. Please call us on

T: 0330 128 1021 or email: ambuilding@hotmail.co.uk

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