What could be more inviting and luxurious on the feet than warmed, wood floors?
Radiant heat is all the rage. It provides home heating from the ground up,that is evenly distributed throughout each room.Don’t think this high-end combination is trouble-free, however. With radiant heat, installing the appropriate flooring on top can be critical for success. If you select an incompatible type of hardwood flooring in Toronto, you may find that your floors start to buckle and warp over time.
A Trending Style Choice
Toronto hardwood flooring or engineered?
Hardwood flooring is consistently a trending style choice for home designers because it is timeless and maintains high-value. Wood has unique properties as a building material, however. Whether maple, mahogany, oak or another species, wood can absorb and lose moisture, changing its appearance and positioning.If you’re considering radiant heat for your wood floors, read on for expert tips to help you plan for the best result.
Engineered hardwood is an excellent option for all climates and applied over in-floor heating. Its stable construction doesn’t allow it to shrink and expand as much as solid planks. Natural hardwood can be used over radiant heat as well, but we recommend installing floating floors (unattached tothe subfloor) for radiant heat situations.
There are risks associated with nailing and gluing solid wood over the heating grid in the floor. It’s also crucial for the consumer to understand that long term placement of wood planks over consistent heating can cause the finish to chip, peel or become opaque.
The recommended options for hardwood over in-floor heating
Choose floating floor installation. Placed over an underlayment and not fixed to the subfloor, the planks are free to move as a unit, independent of the floor underneath. That helps to accommodate environmental fluctuations due to temperature and moisture. Quarter-sawn or rift-sawn wood flooring is preferable for installation over radiant heat because it expands upward in the grain direction rather than side to side. Also, quarter-sawn solid wood flooring reduces side gapping or board edge cupping as a result of environmental fluctuations.
Select thinner boards
Strip flooring(boards 3” wide or narrower)make a smarter choice than wide planks in the long run. That’s because narrow boards have a little more wiggle room with the additional seams. When placing wider planks, take care to allow wider gaps which accommodate expansion.
Tips for installation of radiant flooring under hardwood in Toronto. Newly heating systems should be installed and operational at least two weeks before hardwood installation. Any hidden pockets of moisture in the sublayer can be thoroughly dried out in that time. Hydronic(water) systems include built-in temperature sensors and outdoor thermostats to adjust water temperature in relation to anticipated heat loss.
A Humidification System
The adequate moisture levels for your wood
Radiant heat will contribute to drying out your wood. Ensure the plank moisture content is roughly 6-9% before and after you install it. A humidification system inside the home may be necessary to maintain the adequate moisture levels for your wood. Aim for an indoor relative humidity of 30-50% all year. During the floor installation, reduce floor heat to 65°F. 2 days later, you can slowly raise the temperature to its preferred level over a gradual, 5-day period. Your floor’s surface temperature should never be above 85°F. Try to avoid turning the system completely off as well, or shocking the floor with rapid temperature fluctuations. Failing to maintain humidity, or applying heat quickly could lead to cupping, curled edges and other visible damage for your wood floor.
*Note that even when using the correct wood flooring type and careful heating, small surface splits in the wood- particularly at plank ends- are common.
If you need expert advice, the hardwood pros at Chestnut Flooring are happy to help. Call or come in today.