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Get the most out of your wood floors with an electric underfloor heating system

One of the most sought after features in a home for prospective buyers is wood flooring. Why? Because they are beautiful, durable and natural. Wood floors can be comprised of natural hardwood, exotics, engineered and laminate types. Bamboo can also fit this category, as well as other materials. Setting the advantages of wood flooring aside, one problem with wood floors is that they can be cold to walk on, but there is a simple way to fix this: install an approved electric underfloor heating system under them!

Whether you are installing wood floors in an existing home or one yet to be constructed, there are a few things you should know underfloor heating systems. For new homes, hydronic underfloor heating systems – systems that use hot water from a dedicated boiler to warm the space – may be a viable option for areas built on a concrete slab when you are using some flooring types. However, hydronic is not ideal for wood floor applications. Caution must be taken with this type of installation because controlling output temperatures to the floor can be challenging. An even more daunting challenge is being sure that a contractor doesn’t nail through one of the water tubes while installing the wood flooring!

Rather than hydronic, you may want to consider installing a STEP Warmfloor underfloor heating system beneath your hardwood floors. Many products on the market simply will not work with wood floor applications due to their high operating temperatures. This can eventually cause harm to the wood floor, and the system could fail due to overheating. STEP Warmfloor, a product of, offers the only low-voltage system that is capable of self-regulating, making the product an ideal match for wood floors – especially for floors with a wood sub floor. The National Wood Flooring Association (NAWA) states that the maximum surface temperature for wood flooring should not exceed 85 degrees F. STEP Warmfloor will not reach temperatures above 82 degrees. However, what makes STEP Warmfloor truly ideal for wood floor applications is the ability to nail directly through the wood floor into the heating element without fear of failure! The low profile also helps keep the floor transitions nice and even.

Additionally, if the ceiling in the room below is unfinished, you can install the STEP Warmfloor product between the joists in the room below, and drive the heat directly through your wood flooring without changing out the existing floor covering - talk about flexibility and easy installation!

Here are some tips for working with wood floors:

  • Acclimate the wood to the indoor humidity well before installation.
  • Be careful to check what surface temperature your selected underfloor heating system maintains, as wood flooring has a surface temperature limit of 85 degrees F.
  • Quarter sawn wood is more suitable for underfloor heating systems as it is more stable. Narrow boards or planks are preferable.
  • Pay close attention to exotic species – especially their moisture content.
  • Buy wood with moisture content between 6-8%.

Once completed, the underfloor heating system below your new wood floors will make the room it’s installed in the most comfortable room in your entire home. You and your guests will love the feeling of warm wood floors that will provide many years of comfort.