How to choose underfloor heating: A buyer’s guide

Underfloor heating is an understated and increasingly cost effective way of adding a little luxury to your new bathroom. There are two types of underfloor heating: electric based and water based. This handy guide is designed to help you pick the right one for you.

 

What’s the difference between electric and water based underfloor heating?

Electric underfloor heating comprises a 2mm heated cable that radiates heat into the floor covering (i.e tiles), which heat the room.


Water underfloor heating systems, on the other hand, pump warm water from the primary heating system (ie. the boiler) under the floor covering which radiates heat into the room.

 

What type of system is right for my new bathroom?

The size of your bathroom is ultimately the deciding factor when choosing electric or water underfloor heating. For bathrooms under 15sqm, electric underfloor heating is typically the best option in terms of cost of the product, cost of installation and running costs. For bathrooms bigger than 15sqm, water underfloor heating becomes the most effective option.

It’s worth noting that water underfloor heating systems typically raise the floor level more than electric based systems, due to the pipes being laid in the sub-floor.


 
 

How much does it cost to run underfloor heating?

Water underfloor heating systems tend to be more cost effective to run per sqm than both electric underfloor heating systems and traditional radiators. Electric underfloor heating systems are more expensive to run for bathrooms smaller than 15sqm because the incremental cost is minimal.

Who can install underfloor heating?

Both water based and electric based underfloor heating systems can be installed by anyone, although we always recommend hiring a professional installer. When installing electric underfloor heating all wiring, including connecting the thermostat to your heating system (i.e boiler), must be completed by a part P certified electrician.

What floor coverings are best?

The great thing about underfloor heating is that it can be installed with a variety of floor coverings. For bathrooms, tiles are a great choice. Not only do tiles have a high thermal conductivity and transfer heat quickly, but they're easy to clean and waterproof.


If you're thinking about installing wood or laminate flooring in the bathroom, denser and thinner options are best as they'll be the most heat efficient. Although it's important that when installing wood in a bathroom it should be sealed to prevent warping and water damage.