RADIANT HEAT UNDER ANY FLOORING TYPE


Our thin and flexible heating elements are certified for use under all floor types. STEP Warmfloor is the trusted radiant heat choice not only for heating tile and stone but also carpet and hardwood floors. Our self-regulating heating technology is guaranteed to never overheat making it safe under carpet, and will always remain below the approved temperatures for underfloor heating beneath hardwood floors. 

 

Wood Floors

Hardwood, engineered & Laminate Flooring

STEP Warmfloor element installed under hardwood floorsWe often get asked, Can you install hardwood floors over radiant heat? The answer is yes, STEP Warmfloor heating elements are certified for use directly under wood floors; including hardwoods, engineered floors and laminates. Our heating elements can be placed safely closer to the finished floor than any other radiant heat system and they can be nailed through to get installed in direct contact with the floor. The self-regulating properties of the elements guarantee that they will never overheat and will always stay below the specified temperature set forth by the National Hardwood Flooring Association.

Plank style finished floors come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Traditional hardwood products along with the newer laminate and engineered products fit into this category. The luxuriant look and feel of these floor products combined with a STEP Warmfloor system creates a finished floor installation that greatly enhances the comfort and value of your home.

Design Notes & Benefits

Plank style floors are installed using either a floating, nail down or glue down method. Which method is used is dependent upon the finished floor and subfloor types. For glue-down installations, cover the elements with floor leveler or underlayment boards or used approved adhesives. 

Due to the unique properties of the STEP Warmfloor system, the nails used in the plank floor can penetrate directly through the center section of the heating element. The only place that nails should not penetrate is along the edges of the element where the bus wires are located. 

Element Spacing & Orientation

The natural and man-made materials commonly found in plank style floor systems offer good thermal mass performance, allowing up to a maximum 5-inch spacing between STEP Warmfloor heating elements. An element spacing that is larger than 5-inches will have a cold strip down the center of that spacing. This will result in undesirable performance for the customer. A spacing tighter than 5-inches, even down to 1-inch, is used to provide a very even floor surface temperature and to increase the floor response time to temperature changes in the room. 

To ensure that the finished floor has a smooth and even surface, the heating elements strips should not be installed parallel with the direction of the planks. The optimum installation should have the elements running perpendicular to the plank direction. This provides for even support of the planks across the back of the heating elements, eliminating the potential for dips and sags at the plank joints. 

 


Tile & Stone

Our thin (1.2 mm) STEP Warmfloor heating elements provide more comfort and versatile installation options than any other radiant heat system. The slim profile, combined with the ability to be placed directly under the tile floor allows you to design without the hassle of additional buildups. Our heating elements can be placed directly in a mortar bed or underneath cement board and won't be damaged by construction traffic, trowels or heavy tiles dropped.

Tile and natural stone provide the coldest sensation out of any of the common finished floor materials. By incorporating a radiant heat system under the tile, a luxuriously warm finished floor that will greatly enhance the comfort and value of your home.

Design Notes & Benefits

The most common tile installation methods used with STEP Warmfloor are with cement backer boards, self-leveling compounds or placing the STEP heating elements in double mortar beds.

STEP Warmfloor under tile allows for unmatched versatility compared to any other radiant heat. STEP Heating elements can be installed directly on top of the subfloor underneath the finished floor or with cement backer board. When using a cement backer board, the STEP Heating elements can be placed either above or below, to best accommodate your conditions or requirements.

Element Spacing & Orientation

Due to the high thermal conductivity of tile, the STEP Warmfloor™ heating elements should be installed with a maximum 3-inch spacing between the elements. Tile conducts the heat vertically from the elements so fast that the heat does not transfer very far laterally within the floor. An element spacing that is larger than 3-inches will have a cold stripe down the center of that spacing. A spacing tighter than 3-inches, even down to 1-inch, is used to provide a very even floor surface temperature and to increase the floor response time to temperature changes in the room.

Whether you use a backer board or install the elements directly between the subfloor and the tile, their orientation does not matter. When installing the elements underneath the backer board, make sure to mark the location of the bus braids and the extensions wires with a chalk line, in order to be able to see where you can screw.


Carpet

We’re also often asked if you can install carpet floors over radiant heat. Again the answer is yes, STEP Warmfloor heating elements are safe for use under carpet, which is a flooring type not often associated with radiant heat. Our 1.2 mm thick heating elements can be placed directly under the carpet pad and will not be affected by heavy furniture being placed on them. The self-regulating properties guarantee that they will never overheat, making them completely safe.

Out of all the commonly used finished floor materials, carpet provides the warmest sensation on the floor. Even though that is the case, many carpet installations can benefit from the use of a radiant heat system, especially if the floor is over an unheated space.

Design Notes

For a STEP Warmfloor system installed under the carpet, the selection of the carpet cushion is critical to ensure even heat distribution and satisfaction with the system performance. The carpet cushion must have a sufficient density rating, thickness and cellular structure to assist with transferring heat laterally within the finished floor. The cushion should be a commercial rated product to assist with achieving the desired physical characteristics. 

The STEP Warmfloor system should not be in direct contact with many aggressive solvents and construction adhesives. With glue down installations, a protective layer must be installed over the heating elements to prevent direct contact with the carpet glue. Examples of protective layer options include self-leveling compound and plywood covering.

Element Spacing

While carpet has one of the highest insulating values out of the commonly used finished floor materials, the STEP Warmfloor heating elements can be placed upwards of 6 to 8 inches apart and may still provide even heat across the floor. Care must be taken in the proper sizing of the system, the proper selection of thermal insulation, and most importantly, the proper selection of the carpet cushion to ensure that the system will provide even heat distribution. An element spacing larger than 6 to 8 inches will have a cold stripe down the center of that spacing, resulting in undesirable performance. A spacing tighter than 6 inches, even down to 1 inch, is used to increase the floor response time to temperature changes in the room.

 For more information on installing STEP Warmfloor under any type of flooring, please see our Flooring Guide

For Complete Installation Instructions and Information please download one of our guides below.

STEP Warmfloor Architects Specifications

STEP Warmfloor Low Voltage Installation Manual

STEP Roof Deicing Installation Manual

STEP Snowmelt Installation Manual

STEP Touch Thermostat Installation and Operation Manual

STEP Micro Prog Installation and Users Guide

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Stonestreet Distribution

501 Wampanoag Trail, Suite 400, East Providence, RI 02915

Sales@Stonestreetcorp.com | 401-433-6900

Stonestreet is an Official Distributor of STEP Warmfloor Radiant Heat