Installing underfloor heating on existing concrete floor: How to Install Radiant Floor Heating in Concrete

How to Install Radiant Floor Heating in Concrete

Concrete has changed the way the world looks at development and construction. As a result of this incredible chemical concoction, buildings are much sturdier, roads are easier to drive on, and homes are less prone to foundation issues.

Despite all the tremendous benefits of concrete, it’s also responsible for creating cold and damp living environments, which is less than ideal. No one wants their home to be uncomfortable, frigid, and expensive to heat. Thankfully, there’s an affordable and effective solution to this problem – radiant floor heating.

What is Radiant Floor Heating?

Radiant floor heating is a method that generates heat using electrical wires beneath your floors. Electricity heats the floor, and since heat rises, the floor heats the rest of the home, covering all livable space.

This is an evolution in indoor heating that is affordable, easy to install, and incredibly effective. Once installed, it’s maintenance-free, noise-free, highly efficient, and will provide evenly distributed heating throughout your home without blowing around allergens.

Radiant Floor Heating Works Great with Concrete

Radiant heating works exceptionally well with concrete because it has ideal heat-retention properties. The radiant heating system can also be concealed within the concrete while it’s being poured, so it’s never visible.

Instead of cold floors that are uncomfortable to walk on, you can have heated floors that are pleasant on your feet. It’s a no-brainer!

Installation Process

Some home improvement projects are relatively simple, while others are incredibly complex. This particular installation process falls into the latter category because it requires specialized electricity and concrete installation knowledge.

Remember to educate yourself and decide what’s best for you. When in doubt, find a highly reviewed and qualified installer in your area to help you out. They will be able to walk you through the process and explain what to expect.

If you’re interested in tackling the installation process yourself, here are the steps for installing radiant floor heating in concrete:

Step One

Determine where your thermostat, junction box, and relay panel should be placed before installation. These enable you to change the temperature of the radiant heating system after it’s installed. Put it somewhere that’s easy to access but out of the way.

Step Two

Use a digital ohmmeter to test the ohm value of the heating element between the two conductors. Verify that this value is correct on the product’s CSA tag. You should also take this time to use a megohmmeter to test the heating element between the conductors and the grounding element.

Step Three

Install eight to twelve inches of crushed rock aggregate on the bottom layer. Then, install two inches of insulation on top of that. Last, install wire mesh or rebar to reinforce the layers, using wire chairs or concrete pavers to keep them in place.

Step Four

Install the sensors and heating cables or radiant heating mats, connecting them to the wire mesh. Avoid overlapping, crossing, or touching two heating wires during this phase. Once everything is installed, be sure to test the cables and sensor with an ohmmeter before placing the conduit that connects them to the junction box on the wall.

Step Five

Now that the radiant heating system is completely installed, finish pouring the concrete. There should be four to six inches of slab above the heating elements. Remember to test the cable with the ohmmeter as you go, in order to ensure it’s still functional.

Step Six

Once the concrete is finished curing, complete all the wiring for the relay panel, junction box, and thermostat. Once that’s finished, you should turn on the breakers and test the system. If everything works, then you’re finished!

How to Install Radiant Floor Heating in Already Poured Concrete

If you’re already working with existing concrete and don’t want to start from scratch, the process is a bit different. In fact, you have a couple of options.

First, you can install directly on top of the polished concrete. Follow the instructions or work with a professional to install insulation and the radiant heating system. Once the radiant floor heating is installed, you can pour a new layer of concrete on top, which will add a few inches to the floor.

Another option is installing a new flooring type above the concrete. First, add insulation above the concrete, then install the radiant heating system onto the new subfloor. Once the heating system is properly installed, you can install wood, vinyl, or laminate flooring on top of it.

Warmup Provides Superior Radiant Floor Heating Options for Concrete Flooring and Slabs

Warmup offers top-of-the-line radiant floor heating solutions for concrete flooring at a fraction of the price of our competitors. We’ve provided radiating heating systems for over 25 years, and our products are used by professionals in over 70 countries worldwide.

Contact us today or visit us online to learn more about how radiant heating can change your life.

How To Install Underfloor Heating On Concrete Floor – Wunda

A concrete floor is particularly efficient at retaining heat making it an excellent material to work with underfloor heating.

It may be particularly solid, yet you should be extremely careful not to damage it with an incorrectly installed underfloor heating system.

Ensure that you use proper insulation before laying the underfloor heating system as failure to do so will harm its effectiveness.

The installation process can be relatively straightforward with the right tools, and you can have the Wundatherm boards down in no time.

In this guide, we will look at how to install underfloor heating on a concrete floor and why concrete works so well with an underfloor heating system.

How To Install Underfloor Heating On Concrete Floor

By making sure you undertake the correct preparation and by fitting a perimeter strip, installing an underfloor heating system on a concrete floor should be straightforward.

You may have to cut some boards, yet that is easily done, and you can have the system ready soon enough.

Get Prepared

Take the time to ensure that you have sufficiently measured the area and have the requisite equipment and tools to complete the installation. You really do not want to stop and start between trips to the hardware store.

Prepare The Flooring

If there is any existing flooring then this needs to be prepared which can take some time. At this point, you should simply be exposing the layer of concrete flooring.

Once fully exposed, make sure you have cleaned the concrete floor of any debris or dust, so the area is as clean as it can be before you get started.

Wundatherm boards can be applied to new or existing concrete floors, but they must be dry, flat, and level.

Also take the time to check the floor as it must be free from damp, grease, and oil as this will prevent the adhesive from successfully adhering.

Once the concrete floor is ready, lay down some insulation, such as polystyrene or polyurethane boards, and ensure that the damp-proof membrane is fully cured.

Fitting The Perimeter Strip

Remove any skirting boards and doors as these will require trimming after the final floor finish. Around the perimeter of the area you are heating, lay a perimeter edge strip by using the sticky tape on the back of a hand staple gun.

The perimeter strip not only marks the area but allows for expansion and helps reduce heat loss.

Pass Through The Piping

As you may have to cut some boards anyway, you may want to drill a few holes in the wall before laying then fixing the boards themselves. Once the pipes are through without any kinks, protect and seal the ends with tape.

Check The Pipe Layout Drawing

This is the ideal time to consult the pipe layout drawing, so you can ensure that the manifold is in the correct position. The pipe layout drawing will also demonstrate how the pipework will be set with the boards on top.

Before you begin the installation, work out the routes for any transitional pipe runs and boards.

Cut The Boards

You may need to cut some boards to get them to neatly fit in the right places and+ this is easily done with a fine-toothed saw or craft knife.

The Installation Process

First, attach your heating pipe to the manifold then lay the boards as instructed. You should use Wunda spray adhesive to ensure quick and effectively strong bonding of Wundatherm boards to a concrete floor.

An alternative is Mapei Ultrabond ECO 380 which can provide another strong bond. Once the boards are installed and in place, you can lay out the floor heating pipes.

Why Underfloor Heating Can Work Well With Concrete Floors

As a common material, concrete is a great heat conductor. Concrete’s thermal mass helps the material retain heat to ensure that each room, and your entire home, can stay warm for longer.

This is even when the heating is turned off which is a huge advantage to have over a conventional radiator system. With that heating retention in mind, a polished concrete floor can work incredibly well with underfloor heating.

With a successful installation, the underfloor heating will warm up, and the concrete can absorb the heat then keep it in place.

You could run the underfloor heating system all day at a lower temperature of around 15 °C or 16 °C to create a base heating temperature for the entire house.

By having the heating down by a few degrees, you should see a reduction in your energy bills.

Final Thoughts

As a flooring material that retains heat, concrete can be incredibly effective and works really well with an underfloor heating system.

There are some simple measures to take when you are installing underfloor heating on a concrete floor, yet these are easily done. With the right adhesive and an appropriate pipe layout drawing, you can soon be saving money on your energy bills.

Contact us for further information on how to install an underfloor heating system in your home.


Do-it-yourself installation of a warm floor on a concrete base in a private house or apartment

Heating a home is such an important component of comfortable living in it that, if poorly arranged, it is quite capable of irreparably complicating life. It is this circumstance that prompts the improvement of heating systems in an effort to rationally use thermal energy.

One of the improvements of the last decades is insulated floors.

Content of article

  • Concrete floor heating
    • Water heated floor
    • Electric cable floor
    • Film floor heating
    • Infrared floor heating
  • Tips and recommendations
  • Conclusion

Use of underfloor heating on a concrete base

On this basic base, any type of surface heating device can be used, such as:

  • water;
  • electrical systems using heating cables;
  • electric foil floors;
  • infrared.

All of them have features of the device and application for a general purpose – creating comfortable conditions by heating the floor.

How to correctly calculate the energy consumption of a warm electric floor – see this material.

What are electric warm skirting boards and what are they – read here.

Water heated floor

To equip it, you will need to make another concrete screed with a heating radiator inside. This is done as follows:

  1. The concrete screed must be covered with a layer of vapor barrier made of polyethylene film, the edges must be fixed to the walls with construction tape.
  2. Glue a damping strip thick 12-15 mm around the perimeter of the walls. Its purpose is to compensate for the thermal expansion of the concrete layer during heating, since it will be the heat carrier for heating the finish coating.
  3. Lay reinforcing elements on the floor, most often a road mesh with a cell of 50×50 or 100×100 mm is used. Lay the mesh using spacers between it and the floor height 10-12 mm . Separate sections must be fastened together with a knitting wire.
  4. Lay beacons to ensure evenness of the screed.
  5. Lay the pipes at a distance of 30-50 cm from the coil and 50 cm from the walls of the room. When using metal-plastic pipes, it is possible to arrange a seamless system in the hidden part of the pipe wiring, which you definitely need to use. Joints are the weak point of any piping, where leaks most often occur.
  6. The pipes must be covered with concreting 50-70 mm thick . Drying of the screed is carried out within 30 days , but if necessary, it can be moved after 7 days. When drying, you need to spray a layer of concrete with water daily, and in the hot season, also cover it with a film. The water in the concrete is designed to crystallize its mass, and the splashing compensates for the evaporated water.
  7. Leveling of the surface is carried out as needed to level it.
  8. For the possibility of manual or automatic regulation of the floor heating temperature when pouring into concrete, a temperature sensor is installed. In this case, the device must be installed in a metal sleeve, taking into account the possible need to replace it.
  9. Before laying the top coat, the screed must be covered with another layer of vapor barrier made of polyethylene film.

It is preferable to create separate floor heating circuits for different rooms. For example, in corridors and hallways where there are no radiator heaters, a higher heat transfer temperature may be required for the same floor temperature as in other rooms.

You can clearly see the installation process on the following video:

Electric cable floor

The installation technology of such a device is practically the same as laying water heating elements.

The peculiarity is that the cable is not laid in places where heavy furniture or powerful electrical appliances will subsequently be installed.

The temperature sensor with such a heating device is placed inside the screed, and the control panel, as a rule, on one of the walls of the room in a convenient place. You should remember about the maintainability of the device in case of replacement of the temperature meter. The cable floor can be used with any type of finish.

Underfloor heating foils

They are a type of cable floor, where instead of wires, flat carbon material conductors pressed into the film are used.

The design feature of the film floor is demanding on the flatness of the surface, so self-leveling floor for this option is required .

Further work is carried out in the following order:

  1. A heat insulator must be laid on top of the leveling screed, for which Izolon material can be used.
  2. Lay the thermal film, while avoiding places where furniture or a powerful electrical appliance (fireplace) will be placed.
  3. The heater must be covered with plastic wrap.
  4. An additional reinforcing layer of fiberboard or plywood is placed on top of the film.
  5. Next, you should mount the top coat, which can be laminate, carpet or linoleum.

The heater is supplied in rolls. It can be cut into separate sections, each of which is connected to a power source with special clips. The temperature meter is built into the floor scheme, the control panel is mounted on the wall of the room in a convenient place.

You can also see the step-by-step installation instructions in the following video:

Infrared underfloor heating

This unit uses a completely different heat generation principle. The film, in the form of which the infrared floor is produced, does not heat up, but emits infrared waves. They do not affect the air in the room, but all objects in it begin to heat up under the influence of radiation.

In this case, it is especially important that there are no massive heavy objects or energy-intensive devices above such a device.

The procedure for installing the system is declared to be very simple, even for a person who does not have high qualifications. However, silver contacts are used for the connection, which must be installed in a certain position. They are not reusable and are limited in number.

Reviews of this heating system allow us to highlight some points:

  • Infrared flooring does not require very careful leveling of the concrete base, however, a frankly uneven floor can lead to premature failure.
  • The system is highly reliable, but only with the highest quality of installation in accordance with the instructions for use.
  • The declared energy savings of 20% in comparison with other underfloor heating devices is possible only with a well-functioning radiator heating system in parallel and an infrared segment temperature of up to 22 o C.
  • The use of an IR system in a room results in the elimination of unpleasant odors.

Tips and tricks

  • The use of floor heating is limited by some special features. So, at a surface temperature of more than 30 about C, dust rises from the floor, which is always present on it. Therefore, it is advisable not to raise the temperature above this indicator.
  • When using combined heating in the house, reduce the temperature of the radiator part by setting the appropriate sensors on the water heating mixing unit. This will save on heating water and reduce the degree of oxygen burnout on radiators.


The conclusion is that each of the mentioned heating systems has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the most reasonable choice would be to use combined methods to achieve the goal.

For example, an infrared floor will work great in common areas: bathroom, kitchen, hallway, and so on. Its ability to clean the air from unpleasant odors can be a godsend. The use of combined systems simultaneously with a traditional radiator will help reduce the degree of burnout of oxygen in the air.

foundation device, how to properly pour the screed, rules for installing the electrical structure, mounting features, possible errors

Cable, infrared or water heated floor greatly increase the comfort of using a residential or public space.

This engineering equipment allows you to reduce indoor humidity and improve the microclimate.

For the efficient operation of a warm floor, taking into account the intensive use of the finishing coating above it, with permanent static or dynamic loads, a reliable concrete or cement-sand screed is required.

Professionals call the best solution the installation of pipe or cable communications in the structure of a concrete floor screed, but at the same time, such a design turns out to be completely unrepairable.

So that the owner of the premises can carry out repair work without significant damage to the structure of the cake, experts recommend laying a warm floor over a concrete screed. Below is a detailed description of the technology of these production operations, as well as the subtleties of the device and the further operation of such engineering equipment.


  • 1 Can it be installed on a concrete base?
    • 1.1 What type of heating is suitable?
  • 2 Preparation and how to pour the screed?
  • 3 Fixing the electrical structure
    • 3.1 For infrared film
    • 3.2 For heating cable with temperature sensor
  • 4 Errors and difficulties
  • 5 Pros and cons of this installation method
  • 6 Useful video
  • 7 Conclusion

Can it be installed on a concrete base?

Underfloor heating is available on the market in a wide range, and some of its modifications do not have to be hidden in the screed, as it can be laid on top of it after the concrete or cement-sand mortar from which the building structure is made has hardened.

Installation of underfloor heating on top of the screed is possible only if this engineering equipment is reliably protected after its installation and connection , and the rough bearing coating cake itself is equipped with heat-insulating and reflective materials, which eliminates heat loss and increases the energy efficiency of the room.

In addition to the specified requirements, the floor screed, on which the cable or pipe communications of the underfloor heating are arranged, must meet the conditions of strength, wear resistance, and also withstand significant temperature changes from constant cooling and heating of the heating elements.

Which type of heating is suitable?

Not every type of underfloor heating is suitable for laying on top of the screed, as different designs differ in terms of mechanical strength, overall dimensions and other parameters. Thus, it is allowed to mount the following types and modifications of underfloor heating elements on a concrete screed that has gained strength after laying the mixture:

, which serves as the basis for a fine floor covering in particular:

  • Heating cable, which is supplied for sale together with a nylon or composite core, in the form of a mat, since such an element cannot be arranged in a strobe and requires pouring a self-leveling floor, or a duplicating cement-sand structure.
  • Pipe communications of a water-heated floor, for the same reasons, since the minimum outer diameter of an element of the heating system cannot be less than 15 – 20 mm, and a strobe in the existing screed under them can cause the formation of through cracks in the material.

In case of installation of pipe communications of a water-heated floor over a screed of their concrete, it is necessary to pour a backup structure to ensure the protection of plastic or steel elements of the circulation ring with a liquid heat carrier. The thickness of the layer depends on the diameter of the pipes, as well as on the distance that must be observed between the top of the pipe and the design mark of the screed surface.

Preparation and how to pour the screed?

To prepare the base for underfloor heating made of concrete before laying underfloor heating elements on it, , the following production operations will be required , in accordance with the requirements of the detailed design and regulatory documentation in force in our country:

  1. The floor slab or floors on the ground are diagnosed for mechanical defects or defects.
  2. If necessary, the material is polished or repaired with special plastic compounds.
  3. Even in the absence of pipe communications for a water-heated floor, it is recommended to install a coating waterproofing, which will prevent the penetration of moisture into adjacent rooms in the event of an accident.
  4. Insulation is laid, consisting of extruded polystyrene foam boards with a layer thickness of 50 mm.
  5. All joints between insulation boards are foamed with a special mounting compound.
  6. If a screed layer is expected to be cut for mounting a heating cable, it is recommended to spread a foil reflective membrane immediately over the insulation, which reduces heat loss.
  7. High chairs are exposed, supporting the reinforcement elements of the screed.
  8. The road mesh is laid, in compliance with the protective layer, or a flat reinforcing cage is knitted from individual rods.
  9. After laying the mesh, galvanized beacons will be required to achieve an accurate height mark for the future screed. Lighthouses are fixed on a rigid cement-sand mixture, which gains strength in just 12 – 24 hours.
  10. Prepared concrete mixture for screed, according to a pre-selected recipe.
  11. The screed is arranged between the beacons, followed by smoothing and compaction with thin internal vibrators.

After the concrete has been poured to the design mark and smoothed out, it is imperative to withstand the required period for the material to cure and harden. For classic concrete, mixed on the basis of cement, sand and gravel, this period is from 2 to 3 weeks, with a layer thickness of the bearing part up to 100 mm.

Fixing the electrical structure

When the screed has already been poured and gained design strength, it is necessary to check its surface for compliance with the horizontal plane, as well as the formation of possible defects – shells, chips, cracks or delamination traces, after which you can proceed to fixing the elements of the warm floor, which requires compliance with the following technological map:

For infrared film

  • The film is pre-rolled into a flat element.
  • The screed is marked, taking into account the design project of the room, so that the IR film is not laid under the pieces of furniture, as their heating will lead to damage to the materials.
  • A distance of 100 to 150 mm is broken off from each wall along the entire perimeter of the premises, since this zone in the room is not in use.
  • The film is cut strictly according to the permissible trajectory, which is indicated on the heating element itself (intermittent contacts and the minimum number of conductive wires).
  • The material is laid out over the entire mounting plane in the room.
  • The film is laid down with strictly conductive copper contacts.
  • The entire perimeter of the material is fixed with double-sided adhesive tape with a high level of adhesion.
  • The film is laid without overlaps, in a joint, with a minimum distance between its edges.
  • After fixing the material, each connecting terminal with wires is fixed “in the lock” on special plugs with miniature sockets.

For heating cable with temperature sensor

  • If a mat with a heating cable is rolled out on the surface of the screed, which is subsequently to be filled with a self-levelling plastic compound, then it must be fixed locally in the corners on silicone or other adhesive compounds.
  • Before installation of cable products, the bending pitch of which is determined according to an individual project, the entire laying plane is marked with a marker.
  • The markup is checked against the project.
  • To work, you will need a special wall chaser, which is set to the desired width and immersion depth of the working bodies.
  • With a wall chaser, a groove is cut in the screed, the inner plane of which is subsequently polished with a file, dedusted and subjected to wet cleaning.
  • The cable is pierced into the strobe, without kinks and twists.
  • Separately, a paste-like repair mortar based on high-strength, non-shrinking cement is mixed.
  • The material fills all the free space of the strobe with the cables already laid.
  • After polymerization of this composition, the cable is securely fixed in the body of the tie.

Before installing the finishing coating over the installed, fixed and connected elements of the underfloor heating, it is necessary to check its performance, as well as the efficiency of space heating, achieving the required efficiency guaranteed by the supplier. This control operation will prevent the onset of negative consequences associated with the dismantling of finishing materials for repair work.

Mistakes and difficulties

In the process of laying, fixing and connecting a warm floor over a concrete screed that has hardened and reached the required bearing capacity, regardless of the type and design of the heating elements, beginners may encounter a large number of difficulties and make a number of rough errors.

This often leads to negative consequences, up to the need for complex repair and restoration work. Below are the most common mistakes that a home master can make when installing underfloor heating elements with his own hands:

  1. Selection of low-quality materials for floor screed for the installation of additional space heating devices.

    There is a risk of delamination of the screed during operation, the formation of cracks in concrete with subsequent movement of individual structural elements.

  2. The absence of a protective layer of cable products after installation over the screed.

    The conductive element must not be overloaded and subjected to excessive pressure from operational loads, and therefore, after the installation of the cable, it must be protected by pouring a self-leveling floor, duplicating a thin screed or laying other types of materials that will simultaneously act as a supporting base for a finishing coating .

  3. Neglect of the need to fasten infrared film underfloor heating. During the installation of the final floor covering, there is an increased risk of elements shifting, as well as breaking the electrical circuit, which will lead to a complete loss of engineering equipment performance.
  4. Wrong choice of finish. Not every clean floor material can work with certain categories of heating cables or other types of underfloor heating. For example, when installing wooden floors, the installation of a heating cable makes little sense, since its energy will be absorbed when passing through a porous material with increased resistance to heat transfer. In such situations, the device of a film infrared floor is recommended.
  5. Lack of isolation of the contact planes when joining several elements of the infrared floor heating. If there are no dielectric insulating materials on the conductive parts of the warm floor, this often leads to oxidation of the contacts, which provokes their rapid failure.
  6. Neglect of the underlayment when installing the finish coat. The finish coating lays unevenly, and when permanent or temporary operational loads are applied to it, non-design point stresses arise, which often lead to cable squeezing and, as a result, damage to the conductive cores.
  7. No insulation or reflective membrane under floor heating. In such situations, the amount of heat loss increases, which significantly affects the efficiency of the underfloor heating, the energy efficiency of the room, as well as the consumption of energy resources during the operation of the heating element.

To eliminate all the above errors, you need to study the instructions for the correct installation of underfloor heating elements on top of the screed, check the rated power of the machines in the shield, and also read the video tutorials and master classes from professionals who often post them in public access.

The best solution is to trust professionals. Which have a long experience and will carry out the installation in the shortest possible time, with the provision of a guarantee for the result.

Pros and cons of this method of installation

Underfloor heating is often laid on top of the screed, as this method of installing additional space heating gives property owners a lot of undeniable advantages

  • Easy installation of the foil heating element.
  • When installing cable products that are embedded in strobes, the excess of the total power of the tie cake is excluded, which satisfies the space-planning requirements even in the conditions of typical city apartments.
  • Reflective material, arranged under the cable products, significantly reduces heat loss and increases the efficiency of the heating element.
  • There is no need for wet work and a long wait for the polymerization of the screed after installing the underfloor heating elements.
  • Relatively inexpensive type of additional efficient space heating.
  • At that time, many owners of residential and public premises prefer the installation of underfloor heating elements in the body of the screed, since laying heating cables and infrared mats on top of the bontoon structure entails some disadvantages

  • The need for complete dismantling of the finishing coating, in case of failure of engineering equipment or disruption of its operation.
  • There is an increased risk of a short circuit if an electrical heating appliance is installed in wet areas.
  • There are increased requirements for the quality of the final floor covering.
  • If the screed, on top of which the underfloor heating is mounted, does not initially correspond to the conditions of its laying, since the concrete structure is not designed for significant temperature changes, there is a risk of its rapid physical wear.
  • A large amount of dust when installing cable products in strobes, which requires the protection of all adjacent finishing elements in a room or other type of space being used.
  • The impossibility of laying reflective material with local chasing of the screed, which often requires an increase in height by pouring a duplicate layer or self-leveling floor, or milling the entire plane in order to slightly lower the mark of its top.
  • Despite the disadvantages, almost every expert and professional installer recommends this heating element over a concrete screed if it is necessary to install an infrared or electric underfloor heating.

    Useful video

    We offer you to watch a video on the topic of the article:


    Many owners of residential and public premises prefer to install underfloor heating not only during major, but also during cosmetic repairs. In such cases, a film infrared floor or a heating cable is arranged directly on top of the concrete base, or shallow strobes are cut out in the concrete body for laying conductive elements.

    This job requires the use of concrete with a higher strength class and minimal porosity, as the material must withstand temperature changes.

    If the property owner makes an informed decision about the installation of pipe communications and a water heating element, such engineering equipment must be protected by a layer of duplicating screed, which is why its installation on top of a concrete structure entails a lot of disadvantages, and experts recommend this technique refuse.