Rugs and Underfloor Heating: What You Need to Know

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Underfloor heating is an increasingly popular home renovation choice because of the numerous benefits it offers. Underfloor heating, especially in large rooms or open-plan areas, provides an efficient way to heat your space evenly. Moreover, if you opt for underfloor heating, you don’t need to install a radiator; this frees up wall space for furniture and allows greater flexibility in designing your room’s layout. However, a common question that people have is: can you use rugs for underfloor heating? So, in this article, we are going to provide you with a solid understanding of when rugs and underfloor heating can and cannot go hand-in-hand.

Rugs and Underfloor Heating

If you are planning on installing underfloor heating, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice on using rugs. Rugs are an excellent way to create atmosphere, showcase your personality, provide comfort and create a focal point in a large or open-plan living room. However, you need to ensure you have rugs suitable for underfloor heating.

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Rugs Suitable for Underfloor Heating

Rugs can act as a ‘blanket’ on top of flooring with underfloor heating. Essentially, they can locally restrict the heat from passing from the floor slab into the room. In turn, this can make your underfloor heating less effective and cause problems with your flooring. So, it is important to choose a rug material that minimises this ‘blanket’ effect as much as possible.

  • Your rug should have low thermal resistance; this means that the heat can more easily radiate into the rug and thus more easily radiate into the room.

  • Your rug should be hessian-backed as opposed to felt-backed. Felt can create a thermal block and stop heat from transferring from the floor into the rug.

  • Your rug’s tog rating should sit between 1 and 2, and should not exceed 2.5. The lower the tog rating, the lower the ‘blanket’ effect.

  • Your rug should be made from natural fibres. Some rugs made of synthetic materials can melt if exposed to high temperatures for an extended period.

Flooring Considerations for Rugs and Underfloor Heating

If you have wood flooring or timber flooring with underfloor heating, it is not recommended that you place a rug on these surfaces.

Wood flooring and timber flooring have top temperature restrictions. For example, timber flooring has a top temperature restriction of approximately 27 degrees Celsius. If these temperatures are exceeded, serious problems can materialise.

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When you place a rug on timber or wooden floor with underfloor heating, the rug can trap the heat and push the temperature beyond the top temperature restrictions. When the heat is trapped, ‘hot spots’ form underneath the rug. As a result, the wood will heat up excessively and is likely to swell, ‘cup’ and twist. Swelling is even more likely if moisture or humidity is present. Moreover, if you have engineered wood flooring, the excessive heat will cause the layers to delaminate.

We strongly recommend checking with your flooring supplier before buying rugs for underfloor heating.

All in all, rugs can and do work with underfloor heating, you just need to put in some extra considerations before selecting one. They may reduce the effectiveness of your underfloor heating, however, with the right choices, this impact can be minimal, and you can enjoy the added benefits a stylish rug provides! If you have any questions about our rugs and their compatibility with underfloor heating, feel free to get in touch. Or, head back to our main page to browse our full collection of rugs.