Luxury Vinyl Flooring and Radiant Floor Heat
Our purpose is to provide a general understanding of the issues to be considered before using vinyl flooring over Ecowarm or other methods of installing radiant floor heat.
Vinyl flooring is a rapidly proliferating category of flooring products with characteristics, installation requirements, and warranties that require careful evaluation and understanding before installing over Ecowarm or other radiant floor heating products.
Our purpose is to provide a general understanding of the issues you should consider before installing vinyl flooring over Ecowarm or other methods of installing radiant floor heat.
Vinyl flooring is more environmentally sensitive than many other flooring products in that it has a high rate of expansion and contraction with changes in temperature, as well as being sensitive to changes in humidity.
Vinyl flooring products are predominantly made from recycled petroleum-based plastics. For environmental and green conscious customers, the petrochemical basis and potential for significant outgassing of toxic volatiles are a real concern.
Due to the recent introduction of numerous vinyl flooring products, most of them have little history of use over radiant floor heat. Additionally, many of the limitations in the warranties are extremely hard to comply with.
At Ecowarm we’ve made major efforts to design, engineer, and manufacture an environmentally responsible product. We are not scientists, chemists, or toxicologists who are able to fully examine issues of outgassing from vinyl flooring products.
Thin flooring products like Vinyl are sensitive to higher temperatures on the floor surface that can result in stripping or deformation. We recommend the use of adjustable high limit slab sensor control from your thermostat to avoid unintended high temperature water reaching the floor.
Due to the complexity and variety of various vinyl flooring manufacturer’s recommendations, it is up to the installer to speak to the vinyl flooring manufacturer for specific installation instructions and guidelines when using with hydronic radiant floor heating systems.
If you are installing vinyl laminate in a home where radiant heat is used, it is important that all manufacturers installation guidelines are followed. Please read any manufacturer’s warranty really carefully and make sure that your situation can actually fully conform to these requirements.
Be aware that many of these warranties are hard to comply with and have very specific acclimatization, humidity and temperature requirements.
If you are going to use vinyl flooring, edge lock vinyl plank with a mineral core is likely the best choice because the core makes it more stable and it can be installed so it floats and can expand and contract under molding when installed with a proper gap.
This vinyl product type, however, is new and hence, without a long-term history of use over radiant floor heat. This product also has the advantage of not requiring the ¼’ plywood over Ecowarm recommended for other vinyl products due to the fact that not all adhesives adhere to aluminum and many adhesives are not compatible with PEX pipe.
Contractor Installing Luxury Vinyl Tile © Handyman
Edge locked or glued down planks made with an engineered fiber core for extra stability. The best choice for use with radiant floor heating. Mineral core differs from LVT in that it’s made of limestone rather than PVC, and there are no plasticizers — making it much more stable and strong.
Traditionally glue down — some peel and stick. Suitable for small areas over radiant heat with minimal floor temperature variations. Not suitable for large surface areas, or climates with wildly varied temperatures. If this product is used with Ecowarm a ¼” layer of backer plywood is needed.
Traditionally glue down. Suitable for small areas over radiant heat with minimal floor temperature variations. Not suitable for large surface areas, or climates with wildly varied temperatures. If this product is used with Ecowarm a ¼” layer of backer plywood is needed.
Planks made with a layer that simulates wood or stone usually glue down or “peel and stick”, but some are edge lock and floating.
Tiles made with a layer that simulates wood or stone usually glue down or peel and stick.
More sustainably manufactured than vinyl. Constructed from linseed oil, wood flour and jute fiber. It’s a great product, but due to large thermal expansion it is not appropriate over radiant floor heat except in small areas.
Therefore, it is preferable and recommended by Ecowarm to use more proven flooring such as engineered wood, nail down hardwood, tile, thinner commercial type carpet such as berber and many laminate flooring products, which are more stable and have a long history of successful use over radiant floor heating.
For Information regarding the use of other finished flooring goods over radiant heat: Finished Flooring over Radiant Heat
Ecowarm Radiant Floor Heating
Ecowarm RadiantBoard incorporates the best balance of high performance, material quality, environmental responsibility, and cost. In short, Ecowarm RadiantBoard represents the best value in radiant board heating systems.