With new technologies introduced in the last decade, it has become more of a reality to safely install radiant heat beneath your hardwood floors without worry of damaging the wood. The main advantage radiant heat has to offer is that you will receive even heat distribution throughout your home, adding comfort and value. With the great advantages that come with radiant heat hardwood floors, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to make sure you have a great HVAC and flooring experience.
- Always follow the installation, maintenance and warranty information supplied to you by the wood flooring manufacturer. For example, some manufacturers will not warranty their product over radiant heat. While others, using the same wood species will honor all warranties over radiant heat if you follow their installation and maintenance instructions. Engineered flooring is more likely to warranty for radiant heat.
- Include the proper system controls when you install your radiant heating system. It is strongly recommended that you install a thermostat outside your home and at the outflow points of your boiler or water heater. When properly set, these thermostats will eliminate the chance that your hardwood floors will be "shocked" by large and sudden temperature changes (the temperature of the hardwood floor itself should never go above 80F). These large swings in temperature can cause a myriad of problems including cracking, face checking, bowing, and gaping.
- If you are installing new hardwood flooring over new concrete or plywood, make sure that you or your contractor check the new subfloors moisture content as compared with your new wood flooring. The two numbers should be no more than 2-3% different. For concrete slabs, it can take upwards of two months to fully "cure" and have a stable moisture content. Once cured, run the system for 5-6 days before the installation of your hardwood floors to drive out any residual moisture (only 2-3 days are necessary for plywood subfloor). Check the surface temperature of the subfloor to make sure it does not exceed 80F. Then, turn down your system to the flooring manufacturers guidelines for installation and you are ready to install your new hardwood flooring.
- Relative humidity in your home should always stay between 35-55%. Not only will this make your living space more comfortable but it will also help create a stable environment for your wood flooring. Excessive moisture or extremely dry conditions can severely damage or even destroy your new floors. This can easily be controlled by a central humidifier/dehumidifier system.
Following these simple rules will help ensure that you have a great experience with both your hardwood flooring and your radiant heating system for years to come. Talk to the experts at Unique Wood Floors for your next radiant heat flooring project.