Installing Hardwood Floors Over Radiant Heat

Installing hardwood floors over radiant heat, is a great investment. It will also make your room very comfortable in the winter. Your feet will feel warm and toasty.

You can install any type of wood flooring over this type of heating system.

Aside from all the typical attributes of hardwood flooring. Make yourself aware of the stability of the hardwood.

This would be the most important attribute of all. If your installing this type of heating system.

Keep in mind that with constant contact to heat.

Your hardwood floors will continuously dry out. Your just pulling moisture right out of the lumber.
Which will result in gapping. Now we don't want that.

Gaps will collect dirt, and some vacuums won't pull them out.

Wide enough gaps can cause injury, also. Especially,if you like to wear heels around the house.

When you re-coat your hardwood floors. The wood floor finish will seal dirt in, that wasn't removed. It cost to much to have a flooring contractor to pick them out.

So choosing a stable wood flooring material will help.

Stability Chart

  • Mesquite


    Cypress Australian Cypress




    Purple heart


    Cherry American

    Heart Pine




    Walnut Black

    Brazil Cherry




    White Oak

    Red Oak




Note - These numbers a represented at normal relative humidity levels 40-50%. Expect to have larger gaps, below the normal RH level.

The smaller the number the more stable the hardwood flooring.

The cut of the wood will affect it's stability also. For example, White oak flooring, flat sawn versus a quarter sawn. On a flat sawn, size change affects it's width and length, where as a quarter sawn, size change would be on it's thickness and length.

Besides the wood specie itself, the way it is cut, will have an affect on gaps, too.

A great way to prevent movement is to include a humidifier in your heating and cooling system.

Keeping moisture in the air will help stabilize your hardwood flooring. Between 30-40% is good. This will be good for breathing, also.

So go out and purchase your new radiant heating system. If you would like to learn more about this type of heating system visit

Then come back, to learn how to install over this type of heating system.

flooring supplier

Installing Hardwood Floors Over Radiant Heat

When, installing hardwood floors over this type of heating system. The types of installation method allowed are laminate floating floors and staple down hardwood floors.

I do not recommend installing a glue down flooring, reason for is, if, you ever need to make a repair. You can damage your heating tube.

Floating Floors

If you will be installing, a floating floor.

Do not use a plastic vapor barrier, this can be a fire hazard.

Use material that's rated for radiant heating. You wanna be able to enjoy your floor and home. So make sure all your material is fire rated. Before going ahead with your floating floor installation.

Then follow our instructions for a floating floor installation.

Staple Down

If you choose to do a staple down installation.

Do not use a vapor barrier, this will be fire hazard and also hide your heating tubes.

You need to know it's location to avoid damaging it. Like a flooring staple or nail mistakenly puncturing your heating tube.

Average repair cost of this type of heating system is $20.00 sq. ft.

They don't replace one sq. ft. They have to replace a whole section, to make your warranty valid.

One section or zone normally covers about 100 sq. ft. Which amounts to $2000.00

Not only that, you'll have to replace all the wet, unusable hardwood floors that you just damaged. Which is more money on top.

Awareness is key here. You must know where your heating tube is at all times.

Let's begin,


Set-up and install your hardwood flooring, perpendicular to your heating tubes. This way your installing your flooring staples onto the radiant heating panels only.

Installation is no different from a regular staple down installation. Just avoid putting a flooring staple or nail into your heating tube.

Use polyurethane liquid nail, where your not able to fasten the flooring with a staple or nail.

If you need to face nail any boards. Trace or mark the heating tube's location onto the hardwood flooring.

Becareful of a redirecting fasteners.

Sometimes, during your installation, your fastener may hit a screw or a framing nail head. And redirect it's way, upwards or sideways. To avoid accidentally puncturing your radiant heating tube. Stay away from your heating line, a minimum of 2 inches.

That's all you need to know about installing hardwood floors over radiant heating. Take your time and avoid the tubes.

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