Install a Heated Wood Floor
Benefits of using Latex-Modified Thinset:
- Durable and resistant to cracking.
- Less expensive than self-leveling compound.
- Readily available.
- Priming the subfloor is not needed.
Choosing Wood Flooring: Rift and Quartered Sawn Oak
Extensive laboratory testing by Launstein Hardwood Floors in Mason, Mich., found that American hardwoods—including cherry, oak, ash, maple, hickory and walnut—are good choices for radiant-heat flooring. Beech, Australian cypress, and many bamboo products are examples of those that are not.
We wanted to purchase and install a material that would not only match the existing oak strip flooring, but be dimensionally more stable with the added floor heat. It’s natural for all floors to shrink and swell, depending on the season, so we chose rift and quartered oak which is touted as approximately 30 percent more stable than plainsawn oak flooring.
Rift and quartered boards rival engineered flooring. These boards will only expand or shrink in thickness (height) and will remain stable from side-to-side (width). They are perhaps the best option for hardwood radiant heated floors, and also an excellent choice to minimize seasonal gaps, buckling, and so on.
Tips for Choosing Wood Flooring:
- For best results, use narrow boards, preferably not wider than 3 inches. Narrow boards will better accommodate wood’s natural expansion and contraction across a floor.
- Use quarter-sawn wood for planks wider than 3 inches, for better dimensional stability.
- Acclimate your wood floor: Wood naturally expands and contracts to reach balance with the relative humidity of its surroundings. Avoid installing wood flooring when moisture levels are high, such as during painting or the installation of plaster.
- Before hardwood floor installation, operate the heating system until the relative temperature and humidity in the space stabilizes to the average level expected for seasonal conditions in the area in which the wood floor will be installed.Ensure your flooring’s moisture content is appropriate for your area. Typically, a 6- to 8-percent moisture content is average.
- Engineered floors are inherently more stable.
- Reclaimed woods typically have tighter growth rings (since the wood is more likely to be old-growth) making them denser and more stable.
- Parquet: Overall, parquet floors have less expansion and contraction.
- Dark floors: Their color makes gaps between boards less obvious.
- Flooring with beveled edges make any gaps less obvious.
Wood Floor Installation
First, deliver the flooring about 1.5 weeks early to let it acclimate to the conditions in the house.
Install the boards the same as you would without radiant heat; all the precautions recommended for strip flooring apply. When installing over radiant heating cables, you need to slow down and be precise in placing the fasteners. We nailed the sleepers along the length of the strips and used a minimum of two fasteners at each end.
Tips for Installing Warmup Loose Wire Heating System
Step 1: Determine the heated area.
Measure the room that will be receiving radiant heat.
Make a sketch or drawing and send it to Warmup for a quote. Determine your thermostat location and note it on your sketch.