How To Fit Underfloor Heating

HowToFitUnderfloorHeating

Electrical heating mats aren't overly complicated to install, are easily controllable and provide an even heat. You can buy kits that can be used under almost any floor covering. Follow our expert advice on how to fit underfloor heating.

By George Clarke

Heating mat
Sensor
Thermostat
Cold chisel
Club hammer
Scissors
Tape measure
Tile adhesive and tiles
Spirit level
Adhesive spreader

Budget

You can get a DIY electric mat and thermostat kit from around £300 for a 10 sq metre room

Time

Assuming your sub-floor is properly prepared, a small room will take a long weekend to complete

Skill

Advanced – you need to be confident about dealing with electrics – and you should get the connections done by a qualified electrician

Plan The Position Of The Wires

Step One: Plan The Position Of The Wires

Carefully plan out the position of the heating wires so that the ends are near a convenient power supply. You may need to take advice on this before you start. Some systems use a plastic mesh to hold the wires at a regular spacing.

Fit The Wires Around The Room

Step Two: Fit The Wires Around The Room

Check the maker's instructions - mesh systems can normally be cut so that you can fit the wires around the room. Don't lay the matting under kitchen units and don't overlap the wiring.

Create An Electrical Conduit

Step Three: Create An Electrical Conduit

The system is supplied with a separate sensor that is wired directly into the thermostat. This must be fitted inside electrical conduit and placed in the floor near to the thermostat position. Chisel a groove to fit the conduit and seal the tip with silicone sealant to stop tile adhesive setting around the sensor.

Connect To The Power Supply

Step Four: Connect To The Power Supply

Ask a qualified electrician to check and connect the system to the mains power supply.

Lay The Flooring

Step Five: Lay The Flooring

Spread tile adhesive over the matting and fix your floor tiles. Some systems can also be used under wood and laminate floors, but you may need an insulation board under the element.

Refit Skirting & Doors

Step Six: Refit Skirting & Doors

Refit all the skirting boards and trim any inward opening doors to fit over the new floor level.

  • Never try to shorten the matting by cutting the wires.
  • If you use more than one mat, make sure the sensor on the floor is placed between the two so that it can detect the temperature of both mats.
  • Reduce your heating costs by fitting insulation between the joists of a suspended timber floor before fitting underfloor heating.
  • Make sure any concrete screeds and tile adhesive are completely dry before switching on the heating for the first time.

Illustrations: Ed Roberts

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