As cooler weather sets in, a lot of us are testing out our home heating systems and thinking about efficiency. This time of year, we also get more calls and inquiries about radiant heat and Eco Cork Foam underlayment.
Radiant heat flooring systems are a highly efficient and cost-effective way to heat your home, providing an average savings of 15% on heating bills.1 If you recall from middle school science that heat rises, it makes sense that when heat is conducted from the floor up, it’s more effective than heat that is forced into a space. This Old House summed it up perfectly: “As the invisible waves of thermal radiation rise from below, they warm up any objects they strike, which radiate that captured heat in turn. Though the air temperature remains relatively constant, you stay comfortable because the surrounding surfaces aren’t stealing warmth from your body.”2
Radiant heating comes in two forms, electric and hydronic (water-based). Electric systems are generally less expensive to install, more expensive to operate and better for small areas. Hydronic systems come with more upfront installation costs but are less expensive to operate, making them a better choice for whole house systems.3
Because radiant heat is based underneath the floor, the type of flooring you choose to install on top of it matters. Generally speaking, all flooring can be used with radiant heat, while manufacturer recommendations vary and should be the first resource you go to before installation. Certain natural materials that have thermal conductive properties like tile, stone and concrete perform well with radiant flooring. Other materials like carpet are less effective and can reduce heat flow.3
If you are considering laminate, engineered/hardwood or vinyl flooring that is 5mm or greater in thickness, know this: Eco Cork Foam Underlayment is approved for use with radiant flooring systems. We recommend that the temperature does not exceed 81 degrees F or 27 degrees C. Likewise, we recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the order of installation and floor heat temperatures, as excess floor heat can cause warping, cupping, shrinkage and sometimes splitting of laminate, engineered or solid wood floors.
As always, if you have questions about Eco Cork Foam, feel free to reach out to our customer service team for support. Here’s to cooler weather and warmer floors!
ECF is manufactured in North Carolina by Palziv, North America. Palziv brings together world-class science and engineering to deliver innovative products, materials and services for the construction, building, automotive, recreational, medical and packaging industries. Every day, we strive to grow our community, working with others to seek sustainable, innovative, market-driven solutions that promote better, safer, and healthier lifestyles and protect the environment for generations to come.