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Underfloor heating for renovations

The latest UFH systems are designed to depose radiators as the go-to retrofit heating option – but are they all they’re cracked up to be? Chris Bates takes a look at how lowprofile setups could work for your project

Since wet underfloor heating (UFH) first took hold of the self-build market in the late 1990s, it’s gone from a nice-to-have luxury to being a cornerstone of most home building projects. It’s a natural fit for new houses, because it’s easy to integrate the pipework and pour the screed as part of the process. It all gets a bit harder when you’re dealing with an existing property – with issues like floor height build-up leaving homeowners and plumbers alike scratching their heads. So can UFH make sense for renovations?

Why choose underfloor heating?

First up, let’s take a quick look at how wet UFH works. Fundamentally, it transforms your floor covering into an ambient heat emitter. It’s a hidden system, in that the pipework that carries the heat is buried beneath the flooring, usually bedded in a layer of screed. It’s then hooked up to your boiler (or other appliance) via a mixing manifold. Because you’re using pretty much the entire surface area of the floor, the UFH can operate at far lower flow temperatures – typically around 35°C to 40°C. The key benefits of the system are pretty well-established:

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About Build It

The September edition of Build It magazine will help you get your self-build, renovation or extension project off on the right foot. It’s packed with inspiration and advice, including: • Britain's best self-builds and renovations (page 19) • A contemporary, low-maintenance home (page 30) • Prefab homes: The future of self-build? (page 70) • Why underfloor heating makes sense for renovations (page 73) • How to create the perfect kitchen-diner extension (page 94) • How to get value for money (page 106) … and more!