Is underfloor heating suitable for stone flooring?

It’s a crisp, cold morning, you wander downstairs to make your first coffee of the day, you’re barefoot, you set foot in your kitchen, with its beautiful, tiled flooring. But instead of tiptoeing around on a freezing cold surface your feet are met with a warm embrace. This is the genius of underfloor heating!

Brampton Natural Limestone | Weybridge Project

The underfloor heating systems of today, even though revolutionary in their design, still mislead people to believe that their dreams of having a tiled floor are dashed.

But all is not lost! Here at H|M Flooring Library, we understand that flooring should work both in terms of form and function. We ensure that all of the limestone and porcelain tiles we select are compatible with all underfloor heating systems. Be that, electric, which is often known as dry, or hydronic which is also known as wet.

Tiles are actually a superb conductor of heat so your underfloor heating will warm up the surface of the tiles very quickly. Not only that, but they also retain heat so it’s economically beneficial as well. Win Win!

The unparalleled look that can be achieved with natural limestone and natural effect porcelain, combined with their hard-wearing, low-maintenance attributes, is only the beginning of the narrative as to why they are specified for many homes and gardens throughout.

That being said, there are a couple of installation points to consider:

A heated screed surface

Any experienced floor tiler will recommend, prior to laying your tile flooring on top of your underfloor heating, that you have a heated screed surface installed.

We always recommend DITRA matting, which is specifically designed for tile and natural stone installations. The matting helps to prevent shrinkage or cracking of tiles by providing a decoupling layer between the underfloor heating and the tiles, meaning any movement in the substrate will not affect the tiles.

Manoir Natural Limestone | H|M Flooring Library

Expansion Joints

Another point that your tiler may ask you to consider are expansion joints. It’s certainly something for you to bear in mind as they can be noticeable to some degree. 

Essentially, an expansion joint should be used when tiling a large area of your floor, to break it into separate sections.

Tiles expand and contract when there are changes in temperature. Combine that with the movements in substrate, and you may find all that motion transferring to the surface, causing cracks in the tiles. When you install an expansion joint, you are creating smaller areas, which in turn allows for movement in the floor, in turn reducing the odds of damage to the tiles.

Babington Natural Limestone | H|M Flooring Library

So, if you thought stone flooring was ruled out due to your underfloor heating system, you’ll be pleased to know you can still create that look that only stone flooring brings, whilst having the practicality of underfloor heating.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. You can email us at info@humphreymunson.co.uk or call us on 01371 821300. You’ll also find tonnes of inspiration on our Instagram account @hmflooringlibrary, or stay put and have a browse through our previous projects on our website.