Underfloor heating is a luxurious alternative to conventional radiators, and best of all, 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.
This guide on underfloor heating will help you to understand:
- How much underfloor heating costs
- What affects the cost of underfloor heating
- How you can save money on underfloor heating
- What’s involved in installing underfloor heating
- 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 depends on the size of your house or room, whether you choose an electric or wet heating system, and the extent of preparation required. All systems require you to remove the floor, lay the system, tap into a power source, and fit sensors and controls.
On average, it costs from £50 to £75 per square metre to fit an electric underfloor heating system, and between £80 and £150 per square metre for a wet underfloor heating system.
In addition, you should expect to pay between £200 and £300 per day for labour costs. Typically, most underfloor heating systems can be fitted within one to five days, depending on the size and number of rooms.
Let’s take a look at some common home projects and their associated costs for both electric and water underfloor heating:
|PROJECT||ESTIMATED ELECTRIC UNDERFLOOR HEATING COSTS||ESTIMATED WET UNDERFLOOR HEATING COSTS||LABOUR COSTS||TIME REQUIRED|
|Small bathroom (5 square metres)||£250 to £375||£400 to £750||£200 to £300 per day||1 to 2 days|
|Medium-sized bathroom (10 square metres)||£500 to £750||£800 to £1,500||£200 to £300 per day||2 to 3 days|
|Medium-sized kitchen (10 square metres)||£500 to £750||£800 to £1,500||£200 to £300 per day||3 to 5 days|
|Large kitchen (20 square metres)||£1,000 to £1,500||£1,600 to £3,000||£200 to £300 per day||3 to 5 days|
Prices last reviewed in November 2022.
As you can see, wet underfloor heating not only costs more, but also takes longer to install, which will incur higher labour fees. This is because water underfloor heating system installations are more complex, and usually only reserved for new builds but, since they tap into existing boiler systems, they cost significantly less to run than electric.
Electric underfloor heating systems are cheaper, easier to install and suitable for DIY – however, you should expect the running cost of this underfloor heating system to be higher than the alternatives.
Electric systems are much less hassle and a preferred choice for retrofits. They have a slimmer profile and don’t require extensive pipework.
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.
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-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.
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. Keep in mind that your 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 know the various factors that can impact the cost of installation. We take a look at these factors in more detail below.
Your Choice of System
The number one factor determining the cost of your underfloor heating installation is whether you choose a wet or a dry system.
As mentioned above, electric systems are far cheaper than wet as they require less work to install. However, they are less effective at dispersing heat and are only really suitable for smaller spaces.
The Size of the 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, you must fit the room with the more expensive underfloor heating system to ensure heat is adequately spread in the space.
Whether You Chose Retrofitting or 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.
Whether You Hire an 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 – this will have a major impact on the final cost of installation.
The Running Costs
Not to be forgotten are the actual costs incurred from 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?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your underfloor heating project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple underfloor heating specialists near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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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. Let’s go through some of the best ways to save money on your installation costs.
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.
If opting for an electrical system, you can save some labour money and set up the floor components yourself. Then, you’ll 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.
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.
Which Underfloor Heating System Is Right For Me?
While we’re aware of some of the benefits of a wet or electric system, let’s take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each system.
|TYPE OF SYSTEM||ADVANTAGES||DISADVANTAGES|
|Wet system||More efficient than electric systems, offering 25% energy bill savings each month; great for new build properties||Expensive compared to electric systems; hard to retrofit|
|Electric system||Cheaper to install than wet systems; can be fitted yourself||Heat doesn’t travel as efficiently as wet systems; running costs are higher than wet systems|
Wet systems are more heat efficient than dry systems, and can save your monthly heating bills by around 25%. They can also act as replacements for radiators, improving the sleek look of your home, being attractive to prospective home buyers.
If you’re building a new build property, adding in a wet system before the flooring is a great way to add value to your home, as well as side-stepping future fees for retrofitting. Wet systems are more expensive than dry systems, and can be hard to retrofit into a property, incurring a much higher cost than if they were being fitted into a brand new home without a floor.
Electric underfloor heating systems are cheaper than wet systems and can be easily retrofitted or even DIY-fitted yourself. They’re great for smaller rooms where the heat doesn’t have far to travel.
However, the running costs are far higher than that of wet systems, and the systems don’t circulate heat as effectively and only heat the ground rather than the entire room. This means that they can end up negatively impacting 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 – let’s take a closer look at their processes.
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 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 work with many 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, and pipework and insulation need to be completely level. These adjustments are often too difficult and costly to justify for existing homes, while lower profile systems can make it a little easier to retrofit but the system costs will be even greater.
Wet systems should not be installed as a DIY job – their installation requires the assistance of several professional tradesmen. With such vital plumbing connections, proper testing needs to be carried out.
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, and 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?
Finding the right underfloor heating specialist can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to underfloor heating fitters in your area.
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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.
Many home renovation projects become time-consuming due to the vetting process of potential contractors to make sure they’re not cowboy or rogue traders.
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.
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 – 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 – if they kick up a fuss when you ask, we would highly recommend choosing another tradesperson instead.
Similarly, seeking out a professional’s 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 be very informative.
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:
- Firstly, decide on retrofit or new build? Finding out what your circumstances are will help you to assign a reasonable budget to your project
- You’ll then need to choose between 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?
- 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?
The quick answer is no – but if you’re looking to install a central heating system as part of your underfloor heating, you will need to acquire it then.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s worth checking with your local planning office before any work begins.
What’s the Cheapest Type of Underfloor Heating?
The most cost-effective to install is electric, but in terms of long-term value, the best value is found in a wet system as it’s cheaper to run. Wet systems are far easier to install into new builds, and can be hard to retrofit, which is something to bear in mind if you’re working on a renovation.
Electric underfloor heating can be fitted yourself, which can further help the cost as you’re cutting out the need for a tradesperson to help with the fitting.
Is Underfloor Heating Cheaper to Run Than a Radiator?
If you have a wet system, the answer is yes. If you have an electric system, the answer is no.
This is because the cost for running electric heating all day and all night is far more expensive than wet systems because the cost of electricity is higher.
Can You Add Underfloor Heating to an Older Home?
It is possible to retrofit both wet and electric systems into an older home, but wet will be substantially more costly to do as it’s ideally suited to new build homes before the flooring goes down.
This is something to bear in mind if you’re having extensive work done in your home, and if your old flooring is coming up anyway, it’s a good idea to take advantage of that and have a wet system added in as it will give better long-term heating benefits.
If you are looking for a quick-fix, adding an electric underfloor heating system to an older home will be far easier, and something you could accomplish yourself.
Where Can I Put Underfloor Heating in My Home?
Common places are kitchens and bathrooms, but it is possible to have it in hallways too to replace the need for radiators. This is particularly true when using a wet system which is good at dissipating heat around a larger area.
Can I Use Underfloor Heating With Wooden Floors?
Yes, it’s possible to use underfloor heating with wooden floors.
However, it’s important to use engineered wood floors rather than solid wood, as the sudden and frequent change of heat can eventually lead to the wood warping over time.
Can I Use Underfloor Heating With a Concrete Floor?
Yes, it’s possible to use underfloor heating in conjunction with concrete floors – in fact, concrete floors are ideally suited to underfloor heating as they are especially receptive to the heat and retain it well over some time. It will also make a concrete floor much more appealing in the colder months as it won’t be so strikingly cold underfoot.
Can Underfloor Heating Work With Carpets?
If you want something softer underfoot, then the carpet matches well with both wet and dry underfloor heating systems. This can be ideal for families with young children, as hard floors like wood or concrete can be dangerous with trips and slips.
How Long Does Underfloor Heating Take to Warm Up?
Some floors can take up to two to three hours to heat up from cold, especially stone, so it’s sometimes best to leave the heating on whilst the home is empty so that it’s warm when people return home.
Can I Install Underfloor Heating Myself?
With electric systems, heat mats are the simplest choice. DIY underfloor heating cost per metre squared is only around £20 to 50, depending on the size of the area.
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.
Is It Cheaper to Leave Underfloor Heating on All the Time?
It can be hard to quantify this because the wet and electric systems have different charges – electric is far more expensive to run than wet. There are also reasons not to turn your system on and off repeatedly, as it can damage wooden floors because of the sudden temperature change.
During the cooler months, it’s a good idea to keep your heating running constantly to keep your home warm and turning it off in the warmer months to ensure it’s not running when it’s not needed.
How Long Does Underfloor Heating Last?
It’s generally accepted that underfloor heating’s pipework should last up to 50 years, but there is potential for the underfloor heating to last for 100 years if well-maintained and installed. This further amplifies the added value that underfloor heating can bring your home, making it a worthwhile investment.
Should My Floor Feel Warm With Underfloor Heating?
The whole idea of underfloor heating is to give the ground a warm sensation – if you can’t feel any discernable change underfoot, this could be something to look into as it may signal there’s something wrong with your system or installation. With this being said, it shouldn’t be scalding or hot to the touch, as this can also mean there’s something wrong with your flooring.
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