Update 2022: The underfloor heating prices displayed on this page have been updated to reflect the recent price increases and inflation that’s been well publicised in the media and confirmed by our own research. If you would like a fixed quote, fill in this online form with details of your underfloor heating project.
Is there anything worse than waking up in the morning and experiencing a bitterly cold floor underfoot?
Worry not, there is a solution but according to our latest research, it will certainly cost you.
On this page you’ll discover:
- The difference between a dry and a wet system.
- Underfloor heating installation prices per square metre for new builds and retrofits.
- How energy-efficient underfloor heating really is.
- What others are saying about underfloor heating.
- Pros and cons of this type of heating.
- Do carpets and flooring affect the performance of the heating system?
What is a Dry System?
A dry system is powered by electricity and consists of heated mats that are laid under the flooring. This is the cheapest system to purchase and the easiest to install and they’re often found in specific rooms such as a bathroom.
It’s very unusual to see a dry system in every room for one reason – the running costs.
Almost all types of electric heating are expensive to run in the long term and underfloor heating mats are no different.
Based on our understanding and from speaking to specialists, dry systems are up to three times more expensive to run than a wet system.
What is a Wet System?
A wet system consists of plastic underfloor pipes that are connected to a boiler or other heat source.
Wet systems are more difficult to install but they have a redeeming feature – they’re cheaper to run than electric systems.
Which System is Best For You?
That depends on your budget and circumstances, but as a general guide:
Dry systems are best for smaller areas such as bathroom installations.
Wet systems come in two sizes:
- A slimline system
- A standard system.
Slimline systems are perfect for retrofitting to an existing property as they’re thin and don’t raise the floor height too much. The downside? As they’re so thin they may not produce enough heat to fully replace the existing radiators in a home. They can complement an existing heating system but may not be able to adequately replace it- depending on the system and how high you can raise the floor height etc.
Standard systems use thicker pipes which produce more heat and can be installed as a complete replacement but as the pipes are so thick, they are difficult to retrofit into an existing home as they raise the floor height. Standard systems are best installed in new builds and extensions where they can be included at the design stage of the project.
Which system is best for you will depend on what you hope to achieve with an underfloor heating system? Do you just want some extra warmth in one room? Perhaps one floor of the home? Is this a retrofit project or a new build?
Fill out this form with details of your project to get impartial advice and a fixed price for underfloor heating.
Underfloor Heating Prices (Updated April 2022)
This is how much underfloor heating typically costs to install.
There is a variation in the price, depending on where you live and the type of heating you require, retrofitted installations cost the most and are the most disruptive.
|Project:||Price Per Sq Mtr:|
|Dry system retrofitted||£75 - £95|
|Dry system in a new build/extension||£65 - £85|
|Wet system retrofitted||£145 - £175|
|Wet system in a new build/extension||£120 -£150|
|Get a Custom Price Here||Get a Custom Price Here|
The prices above include everything, including materials, floor screed, labour and VAT. Due to the economics of scale, very small projects may cost more and larger projects may cost less (per sq mtr).
What Do Others Say About Underfloor Heating?
As with any type of home improvement project, it’s always a good idea to scour the web and find forums and websites where others are discussing the pros and cons of the products.
Back in November 2016, ShortLass from Mumsnet forum wrote:
Everyone I’ve spoken to who has had electric underfloor heating doesn’t use it because it’s too expensive to run.
The consumer organisation Which? wrote:
Underfloor heating can take longer to heat up than radiators, which work quickly to reach high temperatures. In some cases, such as with smaller systems, they won’t be able to totally supplement radiators.
The blog at Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies claims that:
…it is only really beneficial if the insulation of your property is the best that you can get it. In many ways, the better insulated your home, the less money you will spend on heating it, regardless of which method you use.
Is Underfloor Heating More Energy Efficient Than Radiators?
Wall-mounted radiators are bulky, unsightly and perhaps more importantly – inefficient. Heat isn’t distributed evenly and one end of the room can be chilly while another is warm.
Wet underfloor heating systems distribute the heat more evenly throughout the room and as such, they operate at a warm but not boiling temperature. This means they generally cost between 15% and 25% less to run than a traditional wall mounted radiator system.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint then a wet underfloor heating system is your best option.
Dry systems are a different story altogether.
They’re far more costly and are the least energy-efficient system. Expect to pay 2-3 times the cost of running a wall-mounted radiator system.
If you’re thinking about using solar panels to heat an electric underfloor system, then remember that these panels generate power in the daytime and not during winter evenings when you’ll most likely need heating.
Pros and Cons of This Type of Heating
Wet underfloor heating is a great choice and once installed has many benefits:
- reduced heating bills, underfloor systems use between 15 and 25% less energy than wall mounted radiators
- frees up space where the wall radiators once were
- warm feet – no more cold floors
- consistent warmth, no cold spots
- modern systems are less than 25mm thick so won’t significantly reduce your headroom
- it’s desirable so may increase the value of your home
There are some negatives to consider:
- if like me, you often dry clothes on radiators in the winter then you won’t be able to do that with underfloor heating
- it takes time to warm up so planning via a programmable is essential, this isn’t ideal for those who want heat quickly
- pipes are difficult to locate if your installation develops an issue like a leak, which won’t be cheap and easy to repair
- isn’t easy to install and the work can be disruptive (floor up, doors and skirting boards off, screeding etc)
- smaller installations such as bathroom-only installations may still require a wall radiator or towel rail
Does the Floor Need to be Dug up?
Traditional underfloor heating systems are best suited to newly built homes where appropriate planning can incorporate the additional 50-70mm of depth required.
New modern systems found on the market today are much thinner and are designed specifically for retrofitting into existing homes without reducing the available headroom to a significant degree.
Some slimline products only can add as little as 15mm depth (excluding insulation), so existing concrete floors don’t need to be dug up.
The downside of these systems is that they may not heat the room quick enough or to a satisfactory temperature in the winter. If you’re retrofitting a slimline system into an existing home, you’ll almost certainly need to upgrade the home’s insulation and we urge consumers to first get in touch with a pro who can assess your property and give you independent advice.
Plenty of new systems have come onto the market in recent years that provide great heating from a slimline system that can be fitted to an existing home without raising the floor too much, so do get expert advice and at least three quotes before you proceed with an underfloor retrofit project.
Want to Try DIY?
Installing an underfloor heating system is best left to the pros but those of you that are considering a DIY project may find these prices insightful (updated 2022):
|Item (supply only):||Price Per Sq Mtr:|
|Wet system kit||£40|
|Aluminium heat spreader plates||£15|
|Insulated panels for under tiles/laminate||£25|
|Floor screed at 40mm||£12|
Does the Type of Carpet or Flooring Affect the Performance of Underfloor Heating?
In one word: Yes.
This can be overcome by installing a higher capacity system but that will cost more to run. You can also fit extra insulation under the system to deflect more heat upwards. This adds extra cost to the build and raises the floor too.
In a nutshell:
Tiles allow the most amount of heat to transfer through into the home.
Wooden flooring blocks some heat but allows an acceptable amount of heat through.
Carpets, especially thick carpets and thick underlay allow the least amount of heat through, this results in slow warm-up times and a cooler house.
The worst-case scenario and one you want to avoid, is having little or no insulation under the pipes, thick underlay and carpets on top and a system that doesn’t have much capacity to create heat. Do bear in mind that many slimline systems are designed to be fitted without the need for digging up the ground floor, but these installations sometimes compromise on insulation and/or capacity.
This only reinforces the importance of choosing an installer that will first carry out a complete survey of the home and will take into account things like:
- the insulation value of the rooms
- the type of carpet/tiles/flooring etc you want
- the type of existing floor base you have on the ground floor
- where you live in the UK as some parts are consistently colder during the winter than others
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