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The Best Types of Flooring for Radiant Heating

resizedimage2-(1).jpg Radiant floor heating can be a remarkably convenient and efficient way to keep your home warm and cozy. However, because of the unique effects of this type of heat, the flooring has to meet certain specifications.

When deciding on the best flooring for radiant heat, you want to look for a material that:

  • Isn’t too thick
  • Has good thermal conductivity
  • Not prone to expanding or contracting
  • Tolerates heat and moisture well
 

Picking the wrong flooring could decrease the effectiveness of your radiant heating system and even damage your floor. Here are the best types of flooring for radiant heat.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

resizedimage3.jpg Porcelain and ceramic tile are widely regarded as the best choice for radiant floor heating.

These tiles are thin and conduct heat extremely well. This reduces the energy (and time) needed to warm up a room. Tile will also retain the heat longer than other types of flooring, increasing your efficiency even more.

Then, because the tiles don’t contain any organic ingredients, they won’t rot or degrade if a hydronic radiant heating system leaks water.

And regardless of whether you have an electric or hydronic system, tile will never expand as the floor warms or contract as it cools. This is important, since expansion and contraction could cause cracking otherwise.

Porcelain and ceramic floors come with other benefits, too, such as their durability, versatility, and easy maintenance.

Natural Stone Tile

resizedimage1.jpg As with porcelain and ceramic, stone tile can withstand the temperature changes of radiant heating without expanding or contracting. In fact, stone tile will retain the heat even longer than other types of tile. Stone can also handle moisture from a hydronic system leak without suffering any damage.

Stone tile conducts heat wonderfully, as well.

You might associate stone floors with cold feet, but with a radiant floor heating system in place, you won’t have any problems padding around barefoot in the dead of winter.

Laminate

FlooringforRadiantHeating.jpg Laminate flooring can mimic the look of hardwood flooring at the fraction of a price. It can also mimic tile or stone. In either case, it’s one of the better options for radiant floor heating.

Laminate’s thinness is the first obvious advantage—and unlike real hardwood, laminate won’t expand or contract due to temperature changes.

However, laminate is vulnerable to moisture. If your radiant heating system is hydronic, a leak could cause permanent damage to the floor.

Plus, most varieties of laminate flooring can only be exposed to a maximum temperature of 80–85 degrees Fahrenheit. This would limit your ability to turn your radiant heating system up too high, whether electric or hydronic.

Luxury Vinyl

Certain types of vinyl can work well with radiant heating, such as sheet vinyl, tile vinyl, and luxury vinyl plank. These will be water-resistant and won’t expand or contract.

On the other hand, vinyl is a much better insulator than a conductor, so your vinyl flooring will probably end up working against your radiant heating system. And like laminate, vinyl always has a maximum temperature limit.

So before you start installing any vinyl over your radiant floor heating, make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications, and only choose a type qualified to work with radiant heating.

Engineered Wood

thumbnail4.jpg Like vinyl, engineered wood flooring can be a suitable choice for radiant heating. Engineered wood is made with high-quality for a base and a hardwood veneer on top. Because of that plywood base, engineered wood isn’t threatened by temperature spikes or drops.

Unfortunately, it’s also a poor heat conductor. And if you install a hydronic radiant heating system, a water leak could warp and damage the floor.

Choose the Right Flooring for Your Radiant Heating System

Radiant floor heating is one of the best ways to heat your home, but it’s important to pick the right flooring. Any of the options we listed above could serve you well, but most experts agree that the best choice for underfloor heating is ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile.

The right tile floor can even increase the resale value of your home.

If you’re ready to lay tiles over your radiant floor heating system—or anywhere else—we’d be happy to lend a hand. At Downright Tile and Renovations, we’ve spent years helping homeowners in the greater Kansas City area with their remodeling projects.

We specialize in installing, repairing, and replacing tiles for a variety of applications, including:

 

We even offer in-home custom design services. Just contact us, and we’ll come to your house and help you make the right decisions for your unique needs and preferences.

Click here to schedule your free, in-home consultation.

 

client Reviews

out of 22 reviews

James Pate

Downright Tile are true craftsmen. They take genuine pride in their work and make sure the customer is happy throughout the entire process. Some specifics from my experience:
-exceptional client communication
-upfront/honest pricing
-very prompt
-kept work area clean and free of debris
-extraordinary finished product!!!
I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Would hire again without question.

Weatherby Lake, MO.

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Nicole Galemore

Our experience with DownRight Tile was exceptional. We hired DownRight to install glass subway tile for our kitchen backsplash and coffee nook. They were extremely helpful throughout the entire process. From the get-go, they answered my millions of questions quickly and thoroughly. They were on-time throughout the project. I would say our project was a bit more complicated due to using glass tile and having a 70+ year old home with warped walls that weren't square. They exceeded our expectations and now we are using them for our bath remodel!

Shawnee, KS.

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Patricia Landwehr

My husband and I contracted with Downright Tile and Renovations to tile our basement laundry room and bath. Our house is 100 years old and the basement floor is not flat in places. They were able to level it out before installing the tile. The walls are not perfectly square, so we had lots of discussion about the best way to lay the tile to minimize the issue. They were very professional, arrived when they said they would, cleaned up the area daily and did a great job installing the tile. My husband is an engineer and very picky and was very pleased with the work. We highly recommend them. They are true craftsmen.

Brookside, MO

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Donald White

Downright Tile and Renovations repaired a faulty installation of a tiled shower floor. The previous contractor did not know what he was doing and the floor leaked badly. Downright Tile was great to work with on the project and now the shower works great. They were responsive, on time and within reason on cost. They finished the job ahead of schedule.

Independence, MO

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Dan Welter

Downright Tile and Renovations were wonderful. They are true craftsmen. Easy to work with and the results are just what I wanted. I think their pricing is too low, but don't let them know till I call them again. Thanks.

Overland Park, KS

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Shanna Smith

We are so happy we found Downright Tile. They were able to give us a custom look using the products we preferred, including modern design elements like a linear drain. They were friendly, respectful, and communicative, and do everything they can to pass cost savings on to you. Their attention to detail is fantastic. We recommend them to everyone we can, and we plan to have them back for a project in the future!

Overland Park, KS

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Jon Sestak

I cannot speak highly enough about my tile experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. First of all I want to say that the attention to detail is fantastic. Our job took a little longer, but the overall product looked amazing once finished. Typically, I would expect a job to be rushed in our circumstances, but the attention to detail did not diminish as the project went longer than expected. Would give these guys six stars if possible.

Overland Park, KS

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Kiven Moise

Downright Tile and Renovations are very professional. They did an excellent job tiling my shower walls. If your up against the fence about a tile job give them a try you won't be disappointed.

Independence, MO

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Alexzis Thomson

Thank you, Downright Tile and Renovations, for the awesome tile work! You helped convert our nightmare shower into a working shower! We initially hired a family friend to tile our master shower and shower floor. Long story short, the shower floor was not set properly and did not drain the water. :( I found Downright Tile and saw they had a knack for tile (especially showers), and knew they were the right company for the job. They knew exactly what to fix and how to fix it PROPERLY. They came in and did the job fast and effective! I can't wait to use the shower and not have to use a squeegee every time I get out. Thank you again!!! I highly recommend!

Blue Springs, MO

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Brian Joy Wilhide

We hired Downright Tile to install new tile in our fireplace. Our old tile was pretty dull... we replaced it with Jinshan Coffee tile. They advised us as to the condition of the new tiles (some chipped, some cracked, etc.) and we were able to request a new batch before we start our bathroom tiling project. They were able to select some very nice tiles for the fireplace and it is quite beautiful now. As soon as we have our ducks in a row with the new tile, we will be happy to bring Downright Tile back to replace our bathroom tile.

Lenexa, KS

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Angie's List Customer Review

We hired Downright Tile and Renovations to re-tile two fireplaces and our master bath floor. We picked our floor tile and when it arrived, found a lot of surprises. It was the last tile of it's kind from the quarry and there was a lot of variety. Downright Tile came up with a unique design which made great use of the variety and the final product is truly beautiful. They also re-tiled our family room fireplace with the same tiles. They suggested stacked stone tiles for our bedroom fireplace. Both fireplaces were transformed from boring to beautiful. Downright Tile took on our project where others might not have. It required a lot of extra cutting of tiles. They enjoyed the challenge and we are very happy with the outcome. We would confidently hire them again for any future tile work.

Kansas City, MO

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Daniel J Lopez

I am very happy with my experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. They had great communication, explained everything well, were punctual, and kept the job site clean. The finished product is exactly what we were hoping for and the price was good. I would definitely recommend them for any tile jobs you have in the future.

Overland Park, KS

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Will Woodford

Downright Tile and Renovations were extremely helpful and fast. They solved problems created by other contractors so that I didn’t end up having to deal with it. Downright Tile are perfectionists from step 1, and will not leave you without an excellent result.

Shawnee, KS

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Imene McCoy

Prompt, professional and clean! I had the best experience- Downright Tile and Renovations were fast, efficient and made the whole process super easy!! I highly recommend them!

Kansas City, MO

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Madison Grace

Very nice work & very friendly guys

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

Downright Tile and Renovations were excellent to work with. They clearly understand their craft. They were professional, clean, and conscientious. I'll hire them again when I need more tile work done and refer them to others.

Kansas City, MO

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Beverly Bellinger

The project went beautifully. There were several areas around the tub and where the tub meets the floor that needed to be re-caulked; Downright Tile noted wherever new caulk was necessary within the shower/tub area and took care of it all. The amazing difference is in the floor. White tile with white grout can become discolored and hard to clean after a decade. Now it looks as good as when first installed, plus they offered care tips to maintain it. They also very graciously looked at a couple of loose kitchen backsplash tiles and provided advice on those. They're meticulous, professional and probably something of perfectionists—color matching was of critical importance to them. Our minor restoration project was clearly unworthy of their talents. Their charge was exactly as estimated ($300 plus materials). Imagine what a wonderful job they'd do on a start-from-scratch tile installation! If I had another tile project, Downright Tile is the only supplier I'd call.

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

We were very satisfied with Downright Tile and Renovations' services. They were very responsive via text and were able to schedule us quickly. We had a very positive experience working with Downright Tile and love our new tile. We highly recommend them and would use them again if we eventually need tile work again.

Kansas City, MO

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David Duffield

As a very competent DIYer, it has always been difficult for me to relinquish control and hire someone else to do work on my home. My past experiences with hiring contractors has always left me disappointed in the quality of workmanship and/or the professionalism of the contractor. I can honestly say that, for the first time, Downright Tile and Renovations have exceeded my expectations. The crew were professional, timely, and the level of craftmanship was exceptional. Downright Tile took the time to plan the layout of the tile so there were professional results. I couldn't be happier and will definitely use them again on other projects. Thanks Downright Tile for all of your efforts!

Overland Park, KS

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Dan Lopez

Our house sold opening weekend. I’m sure the bathroom was a key contributor. We’re in a brand new house now so we’re set but I will definitely pass along your info to anybody who is looking. You did great work.

Overland Park, KS

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James Densmore

We recently remodeled our basement bathroom. We had multiple bids and they were all about the same. We chose to go with Downright Tile and Renovations as they warrantied their work more than the competitors. We picked out the tile and materials and then Downright Tile installed. They were on time and finished the project as expected. They explained various things when asked. We would use Downright Tile for a future project.

Mission Hills, KS

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Anna Challacombe

We hired Downright Tile to re-tile our guest bathroom and they did a phenomenal job. We've never hired anyone with more integrity or attention to detail. They always showed up when they said they would, communicated expectations, did a really exceptional job on the tile itself, and went above and beyond to make sure we were happy with the finished project and that it met their exacting standards. I would highly recommend Downright Tile to anyone looking to have tile work done.

Merriam, KS

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