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How to Combine Your PVC and Vinyl Flooring with Underfloor Heating

Thursday, 18 October 2018

As our little series on underfloor heating has shown, there are almost no constraints on choosing a suitable floor covering. Above all, it is important whether the respective product can withstand the temperature fluctuations and is declared as suitable by the manufacturer. Even with vinyl flooring it does not behave very differently. The question that persists, however, is how efficiently the whole thing can be operated.

We will review this in our blog post today and inform you about the best way to use PVC flooring and vinyl flooring together with underfloor heating.

What Exactly is the Difference Between the Floor Covers and is PVC Harmful?

Gerflor Senso

Often it is not recommended to combine PVC flooring with underfloor heating, and that used to have a reason! Initially, harmful plasticizers were used in the production of PVC tiles, and since those plasticizers evaporate steadily, it was not suitable to be combined with any heat. However, for some years, the production methods have excluded all use of any harmful plasticizers and therefore this is no longer a problem! Of course, depending on the product, it may still contain plasticizers, but these are no longer harmful to health.

PVC floors are available in various designs and formats. The abbreviation PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is why, in principle, all variants belong to the same large group. Subgroups here are "vinyl floors" or "PVC rolls" and "vinyl laminate", which is also known as "design flooring". Design floors are a special feature because they are also available as a plastic version without polyvinyl chloride. However, this does not play a special role in the use of underfloor heating.

Low Heat Threshold Resistance

Despite its previously unfavorable reputation, LVT vinyl flooring is one of the more efficient types of flooring in terms of thermal performance. As usual, pay attention to the special labeling for suitability with underfloor heating before purchasing. Recognizable by this symbol:

Wineo 400

However, since the material expands and contracts again with rapid temperature changes, this suitability is only intended for hot water based heating systems. These only slowly reach the desired temperature, so that the material is spared. In addition, the products often have first-class values, such as extremely low thermal resistance and good thermal conductivity.

To effectively heat your rooms, you should ensure that a thermal resistance of 0.15 (m²K) / W is not exceeded. In some cases, however, PVC floors only have a resistance of 0.02 (m²K) / W, which means that not only can they be perfectly heated, but you can probably install additional sound insulation if necessary. The same is true, of course, even if you want to attach a vapor barrier under the floor to be laid. As a rule, the resistance is still very low, so they are unlikely to affect your construction project.

Click-system, Fully Sized, Fully Vinyl or with a HDF Board  – You Want to be Aware of this!

Wineo 400

For the perfect transfer of heat, it is advisable to resort to full vinyl, which you can also stick together over the entire surface. However, that does not mean that you have to do without PVC with a HDF (High Density Fiberboard) base plate or vinyl click flooring! A full-surface bonding is advisable, since there is no air layer between the heating and the flooring, which would stand in the way of the rising heat. Planks with HDF board are, however, usually solid and thus hinder the heat flow.

Depending on the substrate, you also have to weigh in HDF systems whether you also need a vapor barrier, which also has a heat-insulating effect. Even LVT click flooring is generally suitable for being combined with underfloor heating, but almost always requires additional footfall sound insulation. Also in this case, an insulating layer of air lies between material and heating. Here you should therefore pay attention to choose the lowest possible resistance values and obstruct.

We hope you have now got a better idea of how vinyl interacts with underfloor heating.

Are you still looking for phthalate-free PVC flooring or designer flooring that you can combine with underfloor heating? In our online shop you will find a wide selection that will serve you well. Take a look and browse in peace, until you have found the perfect flooring for yourself!


If you have any questions, we are also happy to assist you personally. Just call us or send us a message via our contact form.

Until next time! Your team from BRICOFLOR, the No. 1 for wall & floor.

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