Ottawa HVAC Specialists Dish on the Floors that Carry the Most Benefits

If you’re someone who’s heard about radiant floor heating—and its benefits—then your next question is likely this: What kind of flooring do you install over it? Like with all things, not all materials are made equally, and not all will be as effective at distributing heat. In addition, not all flooring materials can withstand the prolonged effects of having a heat source installed underneath them. That’s why your Ottawa HVAC experts have taken some time to outline several popular styles of flooring, and how each one works for heated floors.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular and coveted styles of floor—but its relationship with radiant floor heating is complicated at best. In fact, the vast majority of the time, you do not want to install solid hardwood over top of a heating system, whether it’s electric or hydroponic. That’s because wood will expand and contract as it heats and cools, leading to warping and other damage. Add humidity to the mix and it just gets harder to manage. However, if you dream of warm toes and classic wood floors, all hope is not lost. There are specially-engineered hardwoods that use cross-ply construction to make them resistant to the effects of heat fluctuations.

Tile Flooring

So wood’s not your thing—you’re more of a tile kind of person. A specialist in HVAC in Ottawa can work with this! Common tile materials such as ceramic, porcelain, and even stone are great conductors for heat, meaning that you get the full effect of your heating system with minimal wasted energy. It may be difficult to imagine warm toes on a tile floor in mid-winter, but only because you’ve never felt them with tubes of warm water flowing underfoot.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a great choice when you’re on a budget, since it can be made to give the appearance of hardwood or tile, but at a much lower price. And because it is thin yet dense, it can work quite well for heated floors too, distributing heat while keeping its shape—though it may struggle to keep up at higher temperatures, so watch that thermostat.

Vinyl Flooring

It’s the same stuff your parents’ record collection is made of—and, on occasion, it stands up just as well to heat. While there are higher-end vinyl flooring options that can handle radiant floor heating to an extent, even they may become discoloured and release odorous gases when heated.


Wall-to-wall carpet may not be your best bet, Ottawa HVAC specialists caution, since it can actually trap the heat under it, so that you end up wasting energy. Area rugs should be fine, however, as long as their pile is not too thick.

To begin installing radiant floor heating in your home, get in touch with a certified HVAC specialist in Ottawa today.