Worker laying pipes for hydronic heat under floor.

Does Hydronic Heating Work With Timber Floors?

These days, alternative heating methods are all the rage as homeowners seek to get in front of rising energy costs and develop a “greener” home. New technologies have been developed that can heat your home to a comfortable temperature without utilizing as much energy. People who install these advanced methods of heating in their homes can often save thousands of dollars on their heating costs over the years. One such method is hydronic heating, which radiates heat energy through the floors.

Of course, advanced technology is only part of the puzzle when it comes to designing a comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient home. Tried-and-true features that have been used for many years, such as timber floors, are also gaining in popularity again as homeowners seek to maximize the potential of their living spaces. But is hydronic heating with timber floors actually a good idea? Read on and we’ll explain how these two popular features of many modern homes are compatible with one another.

What Is Hydronic Heating?

Most homes are heated with forced air, where a fuel source of some kind generates heat, which is then used to warm up air to the desired temperature. This heated air is then circulated throughout a system of ducts by way of a large fan.

Hydronic heating operates based upon a completely different mechanism, although the methods of generating the heat in the first place can be largely the same. Once the fuel source has been used to create heat, it then heats up water instead of air. A pump then circulates the water throughout a series of flexible tubing underneath the home’s floors. Gradually, the heat will radiate upward into the room, eventually bringing the whole house to the desired temperature.

What Are the Benefits?

There are plenty of benefits of hydronic heating, not the least of which is the fact that the heat can be circulated entirely without the use of a fan. Ductwork tends to accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and allergens. These allergens are then recirculated throughout the home by the fans, leading to all sorts of respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, and more. A hydronic heating system means no ducts, no fans, and no allergens.

Energy efficiency is another key benefit of this advanced method of home heating. Water tends to lose heat energy more slowly than air does, meaning that it requires less power overall to achieve the same temperature. Chances are, you’ll save a decent amount of money on your energy bill if you make use of hydronic heating in your home.

The other benefit to consider is that of comfort: no one enjoys stepping into a bathroom, for example, only to discover that the floor is ice cold. Hydronic heating avoids this problem entirely, as the heat is radiated directly through the floor. This means the floor itself—and often the surrounding furniture—is kept at a comfortable temperature, rendering your home that much more pleasant during cold nights.

What About the Benefits of Timber Floors?

Timber floors have their own set of benefits that homeowners enjoy taking advantage of. They’re also great for allergy sufferers, as they don’t tend to trap dust and dirt in the same way that carpets do. This also makes them significantly easier to clean than other types of floors. In most cases, simply wiping them down is all you need to do.

Timber floors also enhance the value of a home due to their aesthetic appeal. They are much more attractive to most buyers than other floor types. They can last for many years due to their impressive durability, requiring very little maintenance over time. When they do require repairs or other basic maintenance, it’s often fairly simple to perform. Basic refinishing will do the job without too much cost.

Timber floors are also extremely versatile. Unlike carpeting, which severely limits the decor options in your home, timber floors can be decorated in essentially any way. If you prefer a modern vibe, you can easily achieve that with a hardwood floor. It’s just as easy to opt for something more retro.

Can They Work Together?

Generally, hydronic heating is done through ceramics or another medium that holds heat fairly well. In the past, hydronic heating with timber floors just wasn’t possible, due to the limits of technology. However, technological advances have allowed this method of heating to be installed underneath the wooden floors in your home. When it’s used, the timber flooring is placed directly over some other medium, such as a thin concrete slab, to allow the heat to radiate without damaging the wood.

Note that the thicker the wood, the more difficult it will be for heat to get through. This will directly translate to increased energy costs, which is why it’s a good idea to opt for thinner strips of wood over your heating element. This may mean that your floor needs a little more maintenance than an ordinary hardwood floor.

So How Can I Get Hydronic Heating With Timber Floors?

It’s highly recommended that you find a reputable dealer of hardwood floors, such as Wall 2 Wall. When you work with Wall 2 Wall, you can discuss your preferences with us regarding both heating and flooring. Ask us to inspect your home and offer you a quote. We’ll be able to perform the installation to your exact specifications. If you have a preference when it comes to heating methods and types of hardwood, discuss it with the contractors at Wall 2 Wall.

You can also use Wall 2 Wall for maintenance when your floor requires it. We can also assist with refurbishing and refinishing should the need arise. With years of experience in the business, we’ll work to make you happy with your new floor.