Warm -floor pie and its structure on different types of bases

Deciding on the ideal ratio of heating options is often necessary to keep your house toasty and comfortable throughout the winter. Even though conventional heating systems have their uses, there’s nothing better than stepping onto a warm floor in the winter. This is where "warm floors," or radiant floor heating, come into play. This creative method gives your living areas a luxurious touch while simultaneously providing warmth for your house.

The structure of a warm-floor system, sometimes called the "floor pie," is crucial to its effectiveness. This system’s multiple layers cooperate to disperse heat uniformly across the floor’s surface. The design of the floor pie can differ greatly depending on the kind of base you have, be it wood, concrete, or another material. It’s crucial to comprehend these variations in order to select the ideal system for your house.

Since concrete has a high thermal mass and can effectively retain and radiate heat, it is a popular base material for warm-floor systems. Nevertheless, to guarantee energy efficiency and stop heat loss, they need to be carefully insulated. Conversely, wood-based flooring requires an alternative method. Since wood naturally insulates, you may need to reposition the layers to guarantee that heat is distributed uniformly without causing damage to the wood.

It’s important to comprehend the materials and construction of the warm-floor system regardless of the type of flooring you have. For your floors to stay warm and your heating system to function effectively, every layer—from the insulation to the heating components and the floor covering—is essential. Understanding these fundamentals will put you in a better position to choose the warm-floor pie that’s best for you.

Base Type Warm-Floor Structure
Concrete Slab 1. Insulation layer 2. Vapor barrier 3. Heating system (pipes or cables) 4. Screed 5. Flooring (tiles, laminate, etc.)
Wooden Subfloor 1. Insulation layer 2. Vapor barrier 3. Support boards 4. Heating system (pipes or cables) 5. Flooring (wood, laminate, etc.)

A flexible solution, the "layered floor heating system" or "warm-floor pie" can be applied to different kinds of bases, including wood subfloors, concrete slabs, and even floors that are already in place. It is made up of several layers, each with a specific function: insulation to keep heat from escaping, a heating element to provide warmth, a cover to protect the system, and a final floor covering for durability and beauty. Depending on the base type, each layer has a different structure and set of materials to ensure compatibility and effective heat distribution. Warm-floor systems are able to heat any room in your house effectively and economically by tailoring the layers to match the unique base.

Features of the device of the warm floor, its layers and their thickness

Special materials are laid in a specific order on the heated floor. This structure, which contains heating elements (cables or water pipes), is also referred to as a "layer pie."

The pie’s primary purpose is:

  • reduce heat loss;
  • protect the heating elements from moisture penetration to them;
  • direct heat in the right direction;
  • ensure noise insulation;
  • protect the heating system from the negative effects of the environment.

Installation of a pie on a concrete screed

Regardless of whether it is electric or water, warm floor pie on concrete slabs looks like this:

  • Concrete base – it can be the foundation made of concrete or concrete monolithic slabs;
  • waterproofing – ordinary plastic film;
  • insulation with the reflective surface – polystyrene foam, cork substrate, etc.D.;
  • reinforced mesh;
  • pipes or heating system cable;
  • concrete screed;
  • sexual coating.

On the ground

Cake installation on water-soil or other types of floors is permitted as long as the soil is compacted and groundwater is present at least five meters below the surface. There is an additional work stage that separates this design from the concrete floor device.

The following summarizes the essence:

  • the surface is cleaned and aligned;
  • Sand (5 cm) is poured, which is compacted and slightly watered with water;
  • The next layer of the warm floor pie, 7-8 cm thick, is gravel or expanded clay, it is also compacted;
  • Further waterproofing, which is reinforced with a net;
  • then a black screed (10 cm) is poured;
  • Then a layer of waterproofing and insulation from polystyrene foam is laid, its thickness depends on the conditions of the room itself (5-15 cm).

In the future, laying the warm floor on the ground will involve the same steps as laying a pie on concrete slabs: heating elements, floor covering, substrate or screed filling, and reinforced mesh.

Choices for getting the bases ready for a heated floor: Using a staunch method on the ground, a dry and semi-dry screed, and a concrete base

On a wooden base

The mounting of the pie follows the same principle as on concrete slabs if the heating system is based on a wooden coating.

Another approach that uses wooden lags is different in terms of technology. In this instance, the pie’s base is made of plywood. It has lags and a layer of waterproofing film applied to it.

Insulation slabs, 10 cm thick, are laid in between the lags. Grooves are cut in which heating elements (pipes or cables) are installed. Prior to laying the pipes in a water cake arrangement, a reflecting plate or foil is placed in the grooves.

Another option is dead, which occurs when chipboard sheets are layered over the insulation in lags that have pipe channels installed in them.

Racks are another method; they are stacked based on basis. The size of the heating elements should match the distance between them.

Just so you know! a method of installing a heated structure using a rack or concrete screed in a pie with lags.

A thin layer of plywood is used as the foundation for the final coating. The ornamental coating is put on it. If you intend to install the laminate, you can skip the plywood and just place the laminate directly onto the water system’s pipes because any of the aforementioned profiles can support that kind of load.

On a dry screed

Dry screed is a thick layer of material that is spread with plywood or plasterboard. Here are some guidelines for laying a pie on a warm, dry screed surface:

  • The damper tape is rolled around the perimeter of the room;
  • Sand or crushed stone is scattered for the ceiling, and smooths;
  • Aluminum plates are laid out along the contour of the pipes;
  • A dry screed is laid on top – two drywall sheets on which the flooring is mounted.

Professionals advise using expanded clay, it is the best heat insulator.

Which base is better for a warm floor pie

  • Thermal insulation – necessary to prevent heat leakage. PPP, cork substrate or Apple, the density of which should be at least 30–35 kg/m³ is suitable as a heater. Great substrate – PPS with bobes, between which just lay heating pipes. It is worth noting that for water warm floor, the thickness of the insulation should be at least 50 mm, in addition, basalt wool is not suitable as thermal insulation, since it is hygroscopic.

Just so you know! It is vital to install a vapor barrier material when selecting basalt wool for a water system.

The typical type of PPP’s thickness for a water-warm floor is based on the properties of the base:

  • If the surface of the base is located above the warm basement (not less than +18 ° C), or on the second and above the floor, then the thickness of the substrate is 3 cm;
  • if the temperature under the base is from 10 to 17 ° C – 5 cm;
  • at a temperature of 0 to 10 ° C – 7 cm;
  • Above the cold room – 10 cm.

If you are using a heater without a reflective layer, you will also need to cover it with aluminum foil.

  • Installation of a reinforcing mesh – fits over the entire surface of the room. It makes the entire floor structure more durable, and also the heating elements (pipes) will be attached to it using plastic clamps.
  • Installation of the heating system – pipes of water warm floor are laid according to the planned scheme: snake, snail. When fixing the heating element to the grid, it is necessary to leave the gap, otherwise the floor or pipe may crack when heated.

A circuit should have a maximum length of 90 meters. When the area is larger, it is best to create multiple independent circuits.

It is essential to test the heating system after installation. The structure’s functionality is examined, as well as any potential pipe leaks.

  • Preparation of the base for the decorative coating of a warm floor cake – pouring a concrete screed, the thickness of which ranges from 3 to 7 cm. It should dry for a month before the flooring can be laid on it. Perhaps replace it with plywood or foamed polyethylene.
  • Installation of flooring – it can be linoleum, tile, laminate.

This is what a warm water floor pie with a monolithic concrete slab looks like.

The comfort and energy efficiency of your house can be greatly increased by selecting the appropriate warm-floor configuration. Different bases call for different methods, such as pre-existing tile floors, wooden subfloors, or concrete slabs. Understanding the design and parts of each warm-floor system will help you choose one that fits your needs and price range.

Think about using electric or hydronic systems embedded in a layer of concrete or self-leveling compound if you’re installing heated floors over a concrete base. This arrangement is perfect for large areas and provides excellent heat distribution. Conversely, wooden subfloors are more pliable and frequently have wires or mats for electric heating that are thinly covered in underlayment. These systems work well for retrofit projects and are easier to install.

If the floors are tile, you might need to be more careful. Before laying a fresh layer of flooring, electric heating mats can be placed directly over the tiles if they are in good condition. This technique saves money and time by avoiding the need to remove existing tiles. Make sure the original tiles, though, are firmly in place and won’t chip away beneath additional layers.

Warm-floor systems are generally flexible and adaptive, but their installation and planning must be done carefully. To stop heat loss, make sure the warm-floor system is properly insulated both underneath and around it, regardless of the type of base. Over time, proper insulation can also reduce heating costs and increase energy efficiency.

A warm-floor structure that works best for your house will depend on a number of factors, including the base type, room size, insulation quality, and cost. Seeking advice from an experienced installer is always a good idea, as they can help you navigate the process and guarantee a safe and efficient installation of the system.

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Michael Kuznetsov

I love to create beauty and comfort with my own hands. In my articles I share tips on warming the house and repairing with my own hands.

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