With autumn just around the corner and the cold nights and days edging in, homeowners will start to feel the chill. This shift in seasons immediately gets us thinking about heating our homes – and how we can do it in the most efficient manner.
Underfloor heating (UFH) is fast becoming the most popular form of heating for homes – being efficient, comfortable and design-friendly.
The solution to this? Low-profile underfloor heating systems.
What is a Low Profile Underfloor Heating System?
Low-profile systems are ever-increasing in popularity as more people see the benefits of underfloor heating and want to add it to their property. With new materials, better knowledge and improved technology, there have been many low profile underfloor heating solutions added to our range.
A UFH system at new-build stage is installed over insulation, within the floor screed, with a total resulting floor build-up of up to 200mm. This would obviously be impractical in an existing property, hence the introduction of low-profile UFH systems. These systems can be laid onto solid floor surfaces and typically consist of pipes installed within grooved board products.
Here is a brief summary of our main low-profile UFH systems.
The AmbiLowboard (EPS) system is part of our range of low-profile systems, ideal for retro-fit scenarios, where floor build-up height is at a premium.
AmbiLowboard (EPS) can be used in a suspended floor application, providing there is a structural flooring layer over the joists, which is level and firm. This will enable the AmbiFloat panels to fully support the floor finishes on top.
The insulation is pre-grooved to take the 12mm underfloor heating pipework and covered with foil to assist in the distribution of heat. Reflective properties of the aluminium foil face mean that any heat is efficiently pushed up through the sub-floor layers for maximum heat output. The nature of the system allows a quicker response than a traditional (screed) UFH system.
Installation is made easy thanks to our wide range of technical resources, including UFH installation guides.
AmbiLowboard (SRB) is a grooved cement board system that is ideal for retrofit scenarios. This system is designed for hard floor finishes such as tiles and wood flooring, which can be laid directly on top of the installed system.
The boards are supplied in two pre-routed panels – straight boards and return panels, depending on the configuration of the pipework pattern. The cementitious nature of the board gives it a low thermal resistance, which allows for a good and even spread of heat through the floor.
The AmbiLowboard (SRB) system must be laid on a flat, level and solid base, in order to give a consistent surface on which to lay floor coverings. However, floor finishes like carpet or vinyl cannot be laid directly onto this system for point-loading reasons. In this case, an additional layer (normally a 6mm plywood) needs to be laid over the system before the floor finish is laid.
We recommend bonding it down, rather than mechanically fixing, to avoid damage to any pipework.
The AmbiSolo system is a low profile castellated underfloor heating system, designed for refurbishment projects where floor buildup is at a premium. The system incorporates a 12mm Ambiente underfloor heating pipe within a plastic castellated panel, which is then covered with 20mm of reinforced levelling compound.
The way that this system is designed means that it must be laid directly onto a structural and level sub-floor, not onto any loose flooring or insulation layer. This can be a concrete sub floor or chipboard floor, but it must be a structural layer as the 20mm compound is not structural in its own right.
There are many unique benefits of the AmbiSolo system, even above other retro-fit UFH systems. Firstly, the response time is very quick, heating up in 15-30 minutes (depending on the floor covering), very similar to the response time of a radiator.
Secondly, the output of the system is exceptional – while we recognise there may be a small downward loss of up to 10% (due to no insulation layer beneath it), the quick response time and overall output of the system more than compensates for this.
When should a Low Profile Underfloor Heating System be used?
The systems mentioned above are typically used in a retrofit scenario as they have very little impact on the build-up height of the floor. Low-profile UFH can be used for both upper and ground floors. The key thing with any Low-Profile UFH system is that it is installed on a stable, level and flat subfloor. Sub-floors that are incorrectly or badly prepared will only cause problems down the line, with potential damage to the floor finishes.
Low-profile systems include all of the great features of Underfloor Heating generally such as even heat spread and energy efficiency. Due to the nature of the systems, the heat output from them is slightly less, although the response or heat-up time is quicker.
How to install a Low Profile Underfloor Heating System
Most experienced plumbers are used to, installing UFH systems. Installing low-profile systems can be more of a tricky process with more elements involved, including the laying of the low profile panels. We provide comprehensive technical resources and installation guides for our underfloor heating systems.
Low-profile underfloor heating has a lot of benefits, the main one being that it can be built into existing properties.
At St Annes Road in Harrow, commercial spaces were converted into quality residential dwellings with the help of the AmbiLowboard. As the system boasts minimal floor build-up and allows complete utilisation of space, the interior designers were left with the flexibility to fill the spaces how they wished.
Best Low Profile Underfloor Heating Systems?
At Ambiente, we provide quality and realistic advice, to make sure that you can incorporate Underfloor Heating into your home. We have solutions for every scenario and are always looking to improve.
Our low-profile systems are designed to maximise space, reduce installation time and increase energy-savings. If you need an underfloor heating solution with confidence, contact Ambiente today on 01707 649 118 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article was written by Robert Tuffin.
Rob Tuffin is the General Manager at Ambiente and has been working in the underfloor heating industry since 2012.