Warm floor under the laminate on the concrete floor: design nuances + detailed installation instruction

Evgenia Kravchenko
Checked by a specialist: Evgenia Kravchenko
Author: Tatyana Zakharova
Last update: April 2019

The maximum return on the heating system can be achieved by operating a complex of various heating devices. For example, if along with traditional radiators use STP (underfloor heating system) is an effective heating option, which many install independently.

In the article we proposed, it was examined in detail how to lay a warm floor under a laminate on a concrete floor. We presented common and simple solutions that are popular among practical owners. Independent home masters with us will find assembly and wiring manuals.

Advantages of the “warm floor + laminate” scheme

Warm floors are becoming more popular, as it became possible to do all the steps - from rough screed (concrete base) to the finishing decorative coating - with your own hands. If the base of the floor in the apartment is a smooth concrete coating, it is easy to install the STP.

Laminate has some advantages over other types of finishes. It is suitable for all varieties of electric and water floors, provided that for laying the elements a smooth surface without drops and protrusions will be provided.

Laminate flooring
The concrete base provides a flat surface, necessary for laying heating elements, and the laminate efficiently and uniformly absorbs and transfers heat

If you focus on the combination of STP + laminate, then you need to analyze the installation conditions, make preliminary calculations, and then select the materials:

  • high-quality laminate, which over time does not deform due to high temperature;
  • elements of the warm floor, the most suitable for specific conditions.

For example, if you live in a city standard apartment, then you should immediately abandon water floors. Installation of systems connected to central communications is prohibited. However, for a private house, the heating of which is carried out from a gas boiler, this will be one of the most successful solutions.

When choosing a laminate as a topcoat, it is possible to change the interior quickly and easily.

A tired or worn laminate can be replaced with a softer carpet, linoleum that is easier to care for, or another type of flooring, without changing anything radically in the underfloor heating system, except for installing another layer - plywood.

What is the basis for choosing a warm floor system

Since the concrete base and the laminate provide maximum freedom in the choice of STP, we will consider all possible options. Depending on the choice of energy source for powering the heating elements of the system, there are two large categories of TP: water and electric.

Water bodies are mounted both on the concrete floor and on the floor. The flooring is wooden and polystyrene, but we will only consider a system with a cement screed. Electric is most often divided into three types, but there are other classifications, more detailed.

Types of electric underfloor heating
The main types of STP powered by electricity include rod, cable and film types. They combine perfectly with the laminate, but in some cases installation of an additional leveling layer (for example, plywood) is required

When choosing a particular type, they rely on the characteristics of systems and personal preferences. Cost also plays an important role, so preliminary calculations should be made. Suppose film STPs are expensive, but they are often placed directly under the topcoat, which reduces the total cost of materials to create a multi-layer “pie”.

Consider the different types of systems in order to understand the fundamental difference between them.

Considering the cost of the material, the conditions of installation and the performance of the systems, three options are recognized as the best for installation under the laminate: a water floor in a screed, a film under the finish coating and a heating electric cable, also walled in the screed.

Instructions for arranging water STP

For individual housing preferred water system. It allows you to save electricity and use the same coolant that enters the radiators to heat the floor. Of course, they are constructed according to the collector scheme, in which the floor in each room receives a coolant of almost equal temperature.

Water floor heating scheme
Connection diagram STP. In addition to the heating circuit, for the device of which the pipe material is made of cross-linked PE-X polyethylene, a set of equipment for adjustment

Suppose that the rough concrete floor is already ready, and it is necessary to mount the STP in a separate room. At the same time, it must be embedded in the finished feed system coolant, provide the ability to quickly disconnect.

For the preparation of cement mortar, which will be poured screed, use either ready-made or home-made mixture. Ideal is concrete grade M300.

Proper preparation of the solution, according to the instructions, eliminates drying out and the possible appearance of cracks and voids. If the surface of the screed is not perfectly smooth, after drying, you can fill in a layer of self-leveling mixture with a thickness of 3-5 mm.

How to make an electric heated floor?

It is recommended to equip electric floors for citizens who prefer to use a combined heating system. A centralized network does not always live up to the expectations of apartment residents in multi-storey buildings.

But the additional effective heating helps to survive the cold or create a comfortable environment in children's rooms or in other rooms in which the laminate is laid.

Electric underfloor heating installation diagram
Option to connect the cable system to the thermostat and the circuit breaker. To create a circuit, you can use one or more cables by wiring in the junction box

We recommend using proven turnkey systems. Their characteristics are tested by the manufacturer, so you do not need to make complex calculations, just select the model according to the specific requirements of the power or heating area. As an example of installation, we offer photo instructions for installing STP with a two-core cable of the Electrolux brand.

In addition to the simplest temperature controllers with mechanical control, there are programmable models that are most convenient for use in everyday life. By pressing a pair of buttons, you can adjust the heating of the room by time of day or even by certain hours. Thus, significant energy savings occur.

The installation procedure of the film system

If we talk about self-assembly, the film floor has two significant advantages: it takes very little time to install it (experienced builders can do it in 1 hour), the laminate is laid directly on the heating elements, bypassing the leveling layer.

If a soft carpet or linoleum is used as a decorative finishing coating, then an evening layer of plywood will be required.

Scheme of connection of SPTP
The connection scheme of the SPTP is quite simple: each module is connected by a pair of wires to a thermostat, which, in turn, is connected to a power line

Typically, a reflective material that serves as a substrate is laid directly onto a concrete base. In the presented photo instruction, concrete is covered with plywood, as the floor is not too smooth. Instead of plywood, you can use a self-leveling screed - the laying technology does not change from this.

The protruding joints, which can complicate the laying of the laminate, are deepened by cutting small holes in the substrate.

Unlike water and even cable analogs film floor device made quickly and easily. Using instructions and diagrams, even a novice will cope with the connection of wires - for this reason film owners like to buy apartment systems far from the construction industry.

Laminate laying rules

Whatever STP you prefer, the laying of the finish layer of the laminate is carried out according to the same technology. There are several laying methods that depend on the type of laminate chosen.

For self-assembly, the CLICK locking system is best suited, based on a simple snap-on system.

Connection diagram of two parts
Connection diagram of two parts. Calculate the amount of material and determine the layout of the elements should be before the start of work. You also need to prepare a circular for fitting parts

The option with a film floor is considered the easiest to install and popular among urban residents, so we present it as a model for laying laminate flooring. In order to acclimatize before laying, it is necessary to withstand the material in the room where the installation will be made.

If there are pipes in the room, then the deformation gaps around them must be masked with decorative elements. Usually, plastic fittings that are suitable in color are used for this.

The most serious violation of the technology of laying panels is their rigid fastening. In the process of the slightest swelling or drying out, the firmly fixed elements are deformed, and the locks fail.

With the device of underfloor heating on a wooden base next articlecomprehensively considering issues of system selection, design and implementation of the project.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

To get a closer look at the installation process of a warm floor and learn how to avoid gross errors, we suggest watching a useful video.

Practical recommendations for installing TP under the laminate:

Tips for installing a film floor in a wooden house:

How to make a concrete base - “rough screed”:

Instructions for installing the STP, installing the thermostat and laying the laminate:

Both the installation of the STP and the laying of the laminate can be done independently. You don’t need to buy expensive tools for this, knowledge of special technologies will also not be useful.

Beginners are advised to start with a film floor, and more experienced home masters will cope with the water system. But do not forget that regardless of the selected type of STP, it is necessary to make preliminary calculations.

Want to talk about how you built a floor heating system on a concrete base with your own hands? Do you have useful information that is worth sharing with site visitors? Please write comments in the block below, ask questions on the topic of the article, publish a photo.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Natasha

    Underfloor heating is such a nice thing, especially in the autumn-winter period. Moreover, they help the heating system to warm up the room in which these same heated floors are installed. The only thing is to choose a quality laminate, as I understood from what I read. And so, difficulties in installation and operation do not arise much. I will surely someday decide on their device.

  2. Nikolay

    Yes, the warm floor is now my main concern. I want to make such a luxury in the house. So far I’m studying the very essence and price of the issue. Our floors are wooden. I thought it was necessary to tear this whole thing off, then concrete, then lay pipes, lay the laminate. And here it is proposed to lay this same floor right on the wooden. I liked this idea. Well this is already half the planned work will not have to do. And what work, it is very difficult to lay concrete. And in terms of money, savings. He shared a new idea with his brother, but he laughs, says that I’m lucky, haven’t done anything yet, but he’s already done half the job.

    • Expert
      Evgenia Kravchenko

      Hello. Personally, I am skeptical of an idea like your brother. The tree has high combustibility, a tendency to dry out and low thermal conductivity. Not to mention mobility. Although, yes, they do IR or electro people.

      Nevertheless, I recommend that you think of such lower layers of the “pie” - OSB, concrete contact, screed, TP ... And you won’t have to tear off your old floor, most likely, if its condition allows.

  3. Dmitry

    Do I understand correctly that after a cement screed with a heating cable, you need to wait a whole month and only then lay the laminate?

    • Expert
      Evgenia Kravchenko

      It is not a matter of a specific date. It is necessary to watch when the screed dries in fact. For someone it takes a couple of weeks, for someone more. Depends on humidity and many other factors. But it should dry to the end. This tile can be laid on a relatively damp screed, the laminate, like parquet, can only be completely dry. In general, it is better to wait than redo it when it swells.

  4. Sergei

    Tell me, how good is a pipe for a warm floor REHAU Rautherm S? Is it worth it to overpay for a brand or can you get by with an analogue cheaper?

    • Expert
      Evgenia Kravchenko

      Hello. How good is difficult to answer. It is just great for TP, it is advised by experts, durable and of high quality. And working with her is not difficult. Of the popular models of pipes for TP, I can also offer Valtec, in the domestic market these are perhaps the most popular pipes.

  5. Vladimir

    Who will tell me? On the water heated floor, covered in screed, I want to lay a laminate. In the store, they advise a substrate for a laminated foil. I think she will retain heat under the laminate. Anyone who has encountered laying on different substrates. I have a request to prompt how correctly. Thank you in advance. Vladimir

    • Expert
      Evgenia Kravchenko

      You are absolutely right about the foil backing - this is not a practical solution for your case. I don’t even know what kind of consultants they work there, most likely they just want to sell what is in stock. I have caught them like this more than once, knowing in advance what I need best from the materials, I asked for advice, and I was offered far from the most practical solution.

      So, you need a material with high thermal conductivity (having a low resistance to heat transfer) for the unhindered transfer of heat from the heating plate to the laminate. The task, of course, is not easy, given that mainly substrates are made with the opposite qualities. I recommend using a chemically “crosslinked” PPE, but in order for it to conduct heat better, you need to make technological holes for this.

      Attached photos: