Underfloor heating is a luxurious alternative to conventional radiators, and best of all, it can be installed under almost any type of flooring; from stone to wood, to tiles and even carpets.
This space-saving heating system can bring an unrivalled level of warm comfort to your home, and is an attractive feature for homeowners and prospective homebuyers alike.
Whereas getting an extra radiator fitted in your home may seem like a simple enough endeavour, knowing where to start with underfloor heating can leave some homeowners in the dark, not knowing where to start.
This guide on underfloor heating will help you understand how much underfloor heating costs, what affects the cost of underfloor heating, how underfloor heating works, how you can save money on underfloor heating, what’s involved in installing underfloor heating and how to find and hire a professional to fit your underfloor heating.
If you’re dreaming of warm floors when you step out of your bed and wander into the kitchen on chilly winter mornings, then keep reading to learn how to turn those dreams into a reality.
How Much Does Underfloor Heating Cost?
The total cost of installing underfloor heating will be dependent on the size of your house/room, system type and groundwork required.
Underfloor heating installation costs are subject to the area and complexity of the system. All systems require you to remove the floor, lay the system, tap into a power source, and fit sensors/controls.
Before we get into the prices, there are two different types of underfloor heating:
Electric Underfloor Heating (Dry Systems)
Electric underfloor heating systems are cheaper, easier to instal and suitable for DIY. However, you should expect the running cost of this underfloor heating system to be higher than alternatives.
Electric systems are much less hassle and a preferred choice for retrofits. They have a slimmer profile plus they don’t require extensive pipework.
Water Underfloor Heating (Wet System)
Water underfloor heating system installations are a lot more involved, and usually only reserved for new-builds. Since they tap into existing boiler systems, they cost significantly less to run than electric.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some common home projects and their associated costs for both electric and water underfloor heating:
|Project||Estimated Cost of Electric Underfloor Heating||Estimated Cost of Wet Underfloor Heating||Labour Costs||Time Required|
|Estimated cost per square metre||£50 to £75||£80 to £150||£200 to £300 per day||1-5 days|
|Estimated cost for a small bathroom (5 square metres)||£250 to £375||£400 to £750||£200 to £300 per day||1-5 days|
|Estimated supply cost for a medium-sized bathroom (10 square metres)||£500 to £750||£800 to £1,500||£200 to £300 per day||1-5 days|
|Estimated supply cost for a medium-sized kitchen (10 square metres)||£500 to £750||£800 to £1,500||£200 to £300 per day||1-5 days|
|Estimated supply cost for a large kitchen (20 square metres)||£1,000 to £1,500||£1,600 to £3,000||£200 to £300 per day||1-5 days|
As you can see, wet underfloor heating not only costs more, but it takes longer to install, which will also incur higher labour fees for the contractor’s time.
Cost Per Square Metre
The estimated cost per square metre of electric underfloor heating is between £50 to £75, whereas the same for wet underfloor heating is between £80 to £150.
Small Bathroom Costs
For a small bathroom of five square metres, you can expect costs of between £250 to £375 for electric underfloor heating, while the same for wet underfloor will be slightly elevated at £400 to £750.
Medium Bathroom and Kitchen Costs
Medium-sized bathrooms of 10 square metres, together with kitchens of the same size, can command fees of £500 to £750 for electric systems, and £800 to £1,500 for wet systems.
Large Kitchen Costs
Larger kitchens of 20 square metres can cost anywhere between £1,000 to £1,500 for electric underfloor heating, and between £1,600 to £3,000 for wet underfloor heating.
In all instances, whether you’re opting for wet or electric underfloor heating, the labour costs will be around £200 to £300 per day, depending on the experience of your fitter.
It’s good to bear in mind that your underfloor heating installation cost may rise depending on the distance from the boiler system, and whether or not any extra piping is required.
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What Affects the Cost of Installing Underfloor Heating?
If you’re trying to complete your underfloor heating project on a tight budget, it’s good to get to know the various factors that can impact the cost of installation.
Choice of System
The number one factor in determining the cost of your underfloor heating installation lies with whether you choose a wet or a dry system.
As discussed above, electric systems are far cheaper than wet, as they require less work to instal. But, they are less effective at dispersing heat and are only really suitable for smaller spaces.
Size of Room
As you can expect, the size of the room will impact the price you pay. In some instances, if you have a substantial space to fill it will be essential for you to pair the room with the more expensive system of underfloor heating to ensure heat is adequately spread in the space.
Retrofitting vs New Build
If you’re retrofitting underfloor heating into an older home, you’ll incur additional labour costs by taking up existing flooring and adding in additional pipes or cables.
Whereas, if you’re including underfloor heating as part of a new-build installation, you can skip the fees involved in retrofitting, which is a cost-effective option if you’re able to decide before the floors go in.
Electrician or Heating Engineer
You’ll need to enlist the help of an electrician with your dry system to connect it to mains power, and the help of a heating engineer or plumber if using a wet system – both of which will add money to your project.
Not to be forgotten are the actual costs incurred from simply running the underfloor heating. Unfortunately, the costs don’t just stop once it’s been fitted – you’ll have to factor this into your normal monthly bills as a new form of expenditure.
You may also encounter extra costs if you need any of the following to be installed during your project:
- Separate Thermostat
How Can I Save Money on Underfloor Heating?
If you’re looking to add underfloor heating to multiple rooms in your home, it’s easy to see how costs can start to spiral. Here are some ways of saving money on your installation costs.
Choose A Wet System
It’s a known fact that electric underfloor heating costs are higher than water heating systems.
Electric systems do a great job at warming the floor, but not the entire room. With small rooms such as a bathroom, you should expect a small increase in your electricity bill.
Electric underfloor heating systems cost just under 10p per square metre when run for six hours. An average bathroom of 3.5 metres squared may cost around £10.50 per month to run.
Wet underfloor heating systems hook up to existing boilers, replacing the need for radiators. Since underfloor systems are superior at circulating the heat, lower water temperatures can be used.
Where a radiator system may require water around 70°C – 90°C, a wet underfloor heating system can perform at just 50°C. As a result, you can expect to make a decent saving on your heating bills, being around 25% more energy efficient than a typical radiator.
DIY Electric Kits
If opting for an electrical system, you can save some labour money and set up the floor components yourself.
Then, you just need to enlist the help of a professional to finalise the fitting and hook the system up with your mains and check everything is in good working order.
Plan In Advance
If you’re moving into a new build property, or are in the stages of having one built to your requirements, deciding on underfloor heating before your flooring goes down will save you considerable amounts of money.
Having to tear up a perfectly good floor just to fit a heating system is a waste of money and additional labour hours.
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What Is the Best Underfloor Heating System?
Advantages of Wet Systems
- More heat efficient than dry systems, and can save your monthly heating bills by around 25%
- Can act as replacements for radiators, improving the sleek look of your home
- Attractive to prospective home buyers
- If building a new build property, adding in a wet system before the flooring goes in is a great way to add value to your home, as well as side-stepping future fees for retrofitting
Disadvantages of Wet Systems
- More expensive than dry systems
- Are hard to retrofit into a property, and will incur a much higher cost than if they were being fitted into a brand new home without a floor
Advantages of Electric Systems
- Cheaper than wet systems
- Great for smaller rooms where the heat doesn’t have far to travel
- Can be easily retrofitted or even DIY fitted yourself
Disadvantages of Electric Systems
- Running costs are far higher than that of wet systems
- Don’t circulate the heat as effectively and only heat the ground rather than the entire room
- Can negatively impact wooden floors due to sudden heat change and switching on and off.
What’s Involved in Installing Underfloor Heating?
The installation and running of wet and dry systems are slightly different from one another:
Electric underfloor heating systems use a network of electrical wires running under the surface which will warm the floor but will not heat the room efficiently. Electric systems are commonly installed in smaller areas or rooms, such as bathrooms.
Different models of electric underfloor heating systems may be chosen. Flexible wire systems are ideal for tight spaces, cable systems can cover larger areas more easily, and then heating mats are the easiest to install.
Before installing electric underfloor heating, your contractor must take up the existing flooring and level with a screed layer. Insulation should also be placed before heating sheets or cables are laid to enhance efficiency.
You may require assistance from a qualified electrician to locate and tap into the mains supply. A full system will require a sensor, thermostat and control panel to keep control of heat levels.
Wet underfloor heating systems can also work with different types of flooring – however, their installation is a lot much more involved and costly. They are best suited to larger areas or entire homes since the system dissipates heat very well.
Wet systems are ideally suited to new-build homes. They require extensive piping around the room, through a manifold and back into your central heating system.
An independent thermostat also needs to be installed to further regulate temperature control.
You need to allow more space for these systems, digging deeper or elevating the ground if retrofitting. Pipework and insulation need to be completely level.
These adjustments are often too difficult and costly to justify for existing homes. Lower profile systems can make it a little easier to retrofit but the system costs will be even greater.
Wet systems should not be done as a DIY job. Their installation requires assistance of several professional tradesmen.
With such vital plumbing connections, proper testing needs to be carried out, it’s simply not worth chancing it.
Consult a local heating engineer or underfloor heating specialist to advise you before proceeding. A professional survey will help you select the best underfloor heating for your home.
Your boiler will also need to be tested to ensure it can support this additional heating system.
Water underfloor heating uses a network of pipes to run hot water from a boiler. The pipes radiate heat through the floor and into the room.
You may even choose to connect your system to a solar heater or ground source heat pump for increased efficiency.
Wet underfloor heating systems are far more efficient than conventional radiators, and can help to save you money on your heating costs in the long run.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Install Underfloor Heating in My Home?
Seeking recommendations from family, friends and neighbours is a great place to start if they’ve recently had work done in their home for a similar project.
So much of home renovations is caught up in the vetting of potential contractors to make sure they’re not cowboy or rogue traders, who are just out for your money and a substantial amount of time-wasting.
If you can get a word of mouth recommendation, you reduce this risk drastically as your friends and family (hopefully!) wouldn’t recommend someone to you who was a time-waster, or no good at their trade.
However, if this isn’t possible, you can always look to the internet to find someone suitable. Using HouseholdQuotes can help you to verify your contractor as being reputable before you agree to work with them, which cuts down on time spent searching on multiple websites while trying to figure out if someone is legitimate or not.
And, what’s more – comparing quotes on HouseholdQuotes can help to save you up to 40% off your project’s fee.
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Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
Much like a standard job interview, asking for a contractor’s experience is an accepted rite of passage. Whether or not you’re choosing a wet or dry underfloor system, you’ll want to find a contractor who is used to fitting your preferred choice – so make sure to find this out before booking anyone.
All reputable contractors will be insured, but it doesn’t hurt to ask to check if your chosen trader is, too – and if they kick up a fuss when you ask, consider yourself lucky for dodging a bullet and choose another trader instead.
Similarly, seeking out their references and reviews will help you to build up a fuller picture of the contractor. What they say on their website might be great, but their reviews can lead to an alternative reality, so make sure you’re not caught out with lies.
And, as always – never accept a quote from someone that isn’t given to you in a written format. Someone may seem great when chatting verbally, but if you don’t have your and their terms written down and agreed, it can be easy for either party to back out when the work starts.
To make your underfloor heating dreams a reality, here are our final steps to make sure you know everything you need to make the project a success:
- Retrofit or new build? Finding out what your circumstances are will help you to assign a reasonable budget to your project
- Wet or dry? Are you looking for a solution for a small area, like a bathroom, or a much larger space, like the kitchen?
- If choosing dry, can you do some of the preparation work yourself to help trim your costs down?
- Find a reputable contractor using HouseholdQuotes and in doing so, save up to 40% of your project fee
- Make sure to get a written quote before agreeing to any work, and make sure your contractor has insurance to cover themselves and your home if anything goes wrong.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need Planning Permission for Underfloor Heating?
What’s the Cheapest Type of Underfloor Heating?
Is Underfloor Heating Cheaper to Run Than a Radiator?
Can You Add Underfloor Heating to an Older Home?
Where Can I Put Underfloor Heating in My Home?
Can I Use Underfloor Heating With Wooden Floors?
Can I Use Underfloor Heating With a Concrete Floor?
Can Underfloor Heating Work With Carpets?
How Long Does Underfloor Heating Take to Warm Up?
Can I Install Underfloor Heating Myself?
Additional costs for heater controls, screed and insulation boards may need to be taken into consideration, of which you can expect to pay around £100 – and you may still need a professional electrician to hook the power up to your system, which will cost you extra.
DIY wet underfloor heating kits are also available if you’re feeling brave. Full kits cost around £500+ including pump, valves, thermostats and enough pipework for 20 square metres.
If you were completing most of the work yourself, it may be possible to keep costs under £1000.
Just remember, it’s a large undertaking and will require extensive groundwork. Consider at least consulting a heating engineer and plumber to ensure your planning and work is up to scratch and to ensure everything is working correctly once fitted.
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