Underfloor Heating Under Linoleum: Step-By-Step Instructions For Laying A Film Ir System

Linoleum is a relatively inexpensive and easy to install floor covering. But it does not always tolerate heating well. Therefore, when choosing underfloor heating for linoleum, it is necessary to be guided by a number of factors. With these guidelines is worth reading, agree?

We will tell you which variant of floor heating system is better to choose for laying under laminate flooring. We will tell you how to install it, which technological rules should be observed during assembly. With our recommendations you will be able to arrange a comfortable living space with your own hands.

The contents of the article:

  • Selecting the right brand of linoleum
  • Infrared film - the ideal option
  • Preparing to install a warm floor
  • Guidelines for installing the system
  • Features of laying linoleum
  • Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Selecting the right brand of linoleum

There is an opinion, that linoleum is a fully synthetic floor covering that releases harmful chemicals such as phenol when heated.

Linoleum is also criticized for its poor heat resistance. When exposed to high temperatures, the coating may warp noticeably.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

Marmoleum is a type of linoleum made of natural materials. It looks great and goes well with warm flooring

Finally, the material was originally designed not to transmit heat, but to protect against the cold that comes from below. All this is true, but only partly. Linoleum is easy to install and reasonably priced, so it remains an extremely popular floor covering.

Modern technology and developments have allowed manufacturers to create new types of linoleum. These include those that transfer heat perfectly, tolerate moderate heat without damaging the appearance and do not emit any hazardous fumes.

There are five main types of linoleum:

  • Alkyd or Griftalic;
  • Nitrocellulose, also called Colloxylin;
  • Relin or rubber;
  • Vinyl, more precisely PVC;
  • Natural, known as Marmoleum.

Without going into the details of production technology, it can be noted right away that the first three variants are categorically unsuitable for use with a warm floor. They all react badly to heat, and Relin is not at all suitable for residential applications.

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Linoleum selection in a specialized market

Linoleum with thermal insulation backing

Dry screed to install the covering

The most popular version of linoleum is its PVC version. This flooring is very versatile in design and thickness, relatively safe, and pleasantly reasonable in price. After installation, vinyl linoleum almost always exudes a not particularly pleasant characteristic odor that wears off over time.

However, PVC linoleum is not dangerous, it is suitable for rooms in which people live. When buying it is advisable to study the marking on the material, the packaging should have a note that this covering is intended for installation over underfloor heating systems.

For example, normal linoleum may be provided with an additional layer of thermal insulation material that is completely unnecessary above the warm floor.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

Not all linoleum is suitable for laying over underfloor heating systems. The designation on the packaging can help you choose the right material (+)

Natural Linoleum, aka Marmoleum, is the cutting edge of the flooring market. It consists only of natural components such as crushed cork bark, pine resin and linseed oil, powdered limestone and natural dyes.

Naturally, this material cannot emit any harmful substances when heated, only natural vapors. Marmoleum is sensitive to strong heat, so to the question of selecting the temperature mode for such a coating must be approached very responsibly. However, this is also true for vinyl materials.

With Marmoleum can be accused only a solid price, but the high durability and safety of the material fully justify such costs. Marmoleum does not change color over time and also resists fire effectively.

When selecting linoleum for underfloor heating, attention must be paid to the thickness of the material. Too thin coverage will expose all the irregularities of the base, and excessively thick material will reduce the efficiency of room heating.

Infrared film - the ideal option

It is known that the warm floor is divided into two main groups: water and electric, one of the varieties is  infrared option. The system that emits infrared radiation is energy dependent, because it requires electrical energy to work.

The film works in a favorable range for the coating, which is why infrared floor heating is considered an excellent choice for installation under linoleum.

As already mentioned, linoleum is sensitive to overheating. Even if the effects of overheating of the surface are not immediately apparent, they will eventually appear as warping, softening, bulging, etc.

The heat output of about 150-230W per square meter of heated area is considered optimal for linoleum. Infrared film provides exactly these parameters.

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Roll of carbon infrared film

Laying carbon film

Cutting the film system into sheets

Assembly process of the infrared floor

Film heating system heating system in the kindergarten

Equipment of the carbon floor on the loggia

Carbon floor combined with lumber

Film floor control system

The name \"foil\" is given to this material because of its appearance. called \"the film material\" because of its appearance. It is really a two-layer polymer film, inside which are embedded carbon heating elements with a unique nanostructure. It is this content that emits the infrared radiation capable of heating the surrounding surfaces.

The heating elements, which look like black strips about 15mm wide, are connected by contact bars made of copper and silver. A layer of polymer reliably protects this construction from damage. Infrared rays are not only considered harmless, but also, to a certain extent, useful for people.

Film floor heating is not difficult to install, since it is not necessary to \"wet\" work on pouring the screed. This system provides a uniform heating of the room, is perfectly amenable to automatic regulation and can be integrated into a smart home system.

Another positive point is the easy dismantling of the floor heating. If necessary, you can simply remove the floor covering, remove the foil and lay it on a new base, even in another room. Electricity consumption when using film systems is about 30% less than when using electric heating cables on a similar area.

Preparations for laying the floor heating

Before starting the installation, it is necessary to prepare carefully for the work. On an ordinary sheet of paper, make a plan of the room, marking on it the places where stationary items of furniture or large household appliances will be installed, tightly adhering to the floor. Here it makes no sense to lay the infrared film.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

Infrared film strips are laid butt to butt along the length of the room. This will reduce the number of joints between the individual strips and make it easier to install the underfloor heating

Then make a plan for laying the film strips. The fewer the cut lines, the fewer connections will be needed and the easier the installation will be. Therefore the foil strips are laid along the long side of the room. When the plan is made, you can calculate the length of the foil and the number of connectors that are needed for installation. On the plan you should also mark the locations of the temperature sensors and the thermostat.

Film under-linoleum floor heating usually includes infrared film and connectors, which are completed in two pieces, temperature sensors and thermostat, as well as bitumen tape, which acts as an insulator.

Additional material to be purchased:

  • electric cable;
  • thermal insulation material;
  • film to insulate the substrate;
  • contactors (for working with high power systems).

Copper cable with at least 1.5 mm² cross-section is usually used for the connection of the foil floor. A layer of polyethylene of at least 0.1 mm can be laid as a waterproofing material. The list of heat insulation materials that are suitable for under-floor heating is rather long.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

To install the infrared floor yourself, you will need the most common tools: pliers, screwdriver, assembly knife, tape, tape measure, scissors, etc.

You may also use extruded polystyrene foam, cork materials, liquid composites, etc. Under linoleum, polyethylene foam or laminated isolon have been used successfully.

In all cases, you should study the marking of the thermal insulator to make sure that the material is allowed to be used with underfloor heating. Thermal insulation material with a metal foil coating is not allowed.

The most difficult tool you will need for installation is a special tool to crimp the contact connectors. But with some skill, ordinary pliers will do the job.

In addition you should prepare a screwdriver and wire cutters, scissors and an assembly knife for cutting film and insulation materials, a hammer, etc. Thus, the installation of infrared underfloor heating under linoleum laying can be done with the most common building tools.

System Installation Guide

When the film laying plan has been made and all materials and tools have been prepared, you can start work with preparing the base. It must be clean and as even as possible.

The film itself is very thin, less than 0.5 mm. If the material is laid on an uneven base, the heating elements will be subjected to additional loads and this may cause damage.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

The base for the infrared floor heating must be clean and flat. Usually only a small surface repair is sufficient, but sometimes a fresh screed may be necessary

If there is extensive damage, additional base leveling work should be done, such as pouring a new screed over the old base. But if the subfloor is initially sufficiently even, it is sufficient to clean off dirt and dust and remove individual height differences if necessary.

Layer of thermal insulation material is placed on the prepared subfloor. If it is a roll material, usually the strips are laid butt to butt and the joints are fastened with adhesive tape. The insulation should lie very evenly, with proper preparation of the substrate there are usually no problems in this regard.

Cutting the infrared film into strips of suitable length is a crucial moment. There are special places for the cuts, marked with a dotted line. If you cut in other places, the film will surely be damaged.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

The places for cutting the infrared film are marked on the material with dotted lines. Do not disregard these instructions to avoid ruining the system

The narrowest piece of film cut on the dotted line may be less than 20 cm and the longest about 8 meters. This makes it possible to make strips of the right length in the right quantity. The fewer the cuts, the easier it is to perform the installation.

The cut strips of infrared film are laid out according to the plan on top of a layer of thermal insulation material. The copper strip should be placed with the side facing up as indicated by the manufacturer in the instructions.

The film should be carefully smoothed so that it adheres tightly to the substrate. The presence of an air layer between the heating strips and the thermal insulation is unacceptable. Once the foil strips have been laid, the installation of contacts can begin.

The connectors are placed on the copper strip and clamped with a special tool or conventional pliers. The connectors should be mounted so that one part of the element is between the layers of the film sheath and attaches to the copper bar and the other part is outside.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

The connector is mounted so that its part is between the layers of the infrared film sheath. To fix the connection, ordinary pliers can be used

After that, all connections of the bimetal bus to the power line must be hidden under pieces of bitumen insulation. All strip contacts that are not connected to the wires also need to be insulated. These are on the opposite side of the connection.

After the insulation work has been completed, the position of the film on the floor must be secured with tape so that it will not move during the installation of the linoleum.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

All contact points when installing the infrared film must be insulated with the bitumen adhesive tape provided. The bitumen insulation is applied separately at the top and bottom, no kinks are allowed

Now the thermostat has to be installed. It is usually hanged on the wall in an easily accessible place. The connection must be made according to the wiring diagram. Inexperienced electricians should consult a specialist at this stage. Lay the temperature sensors under the foil and connect them to the thermostat with wires.

To hide the cable leading from the thermostat, you may make a chink in the wall. If the repair is already finished, the cable is placed on top of the wall and covered with a decorative plastic box. At the bottom to disguise the cable use plinths. The edges of the cable providing electrical power are attached using connectors and pressed down with pliers.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

For the temperature sensor and the cable connected to it are not marked on the infrared floor heating foil, a channel and a suitable shape are carefully cut out in the thermal insulation material

Then the connection place is insulated. Where the insulation is installed, as well as where the temperature sensor is attached to the foil, thickenings will appear. These may make further installation of the floor covering difficult.

To prevent this from happening, use a mounting knife to cut indentations in the layer of thermal insulation material. This eliminates the height difference and the surface of the foil becomes flat again.

This completes the installation of the underfloor heating under the linoleum can be considered complete, it remains to check the performance of the system before installing the floor covering. To do this, electrical power is applied to the foil. First make sure that the insulation is reliable by using an electric tester and check that there is no voltage at each insulated section.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

This diagram illustrates the procedure for connecting the under-floor heating to the power supply. The thermostat should be installed in a place that is easily accessible

After that, the heating degree of each individual strip is checked. If there is no heat, or if some sections are colder or hotter than others, it means that the installation is incorrect. Identify and correct possible errors.

Trouble usually arises with such violations as laying strips of film is not butted, but overlapped, this position of the heating material is unacceptable. Also, do not cut the foil too close to the copper bar, this can cause violations of the insulation. Complete or partial lack of insulation is one of the most common causes of underfloor heating failure.

Peculiarities of laying linoleum

Linoleum also requires preparation of the base. First a layer of polyethylene is laid on top of the infrared film. This material acts as a water barrier.

Separate strips are laid with 10-20 cm overlaps and secured with tape. In this case it is necessary to move over the surface of the infrared film very carefully in order not to disturb the graphite heaters.

After that a flat surface of fibreboard is mounted. This material will reliably protect the underfloor heating and become a suitable substrate for the linoleum. This type of floor covering is supplied rolled up, therefore it is recommended to unroll it and leave it for a few days before installation.

Underfloor heating under linoleum: step-by-step instructions for laying a film IR system

Before laying the linoleum, place it on an even surface of the floor heating, switch on the system and wait for the covering to level out

The process can be improved with underfloor heating. The linoleum is laid on a fibreboard subfloor without fixing, and then the infrared film is turned on. The levelling process will be quicker when exposed to heat. The thermostat should be set to 28 degrees or less. For linoleum, this temperature is considered optimal.

After the coating is sufficiently level, it only remains to secure the linoleum to the substrate. This is done with double-sided tape or glue.

The use of an adhesive compound is considered more suitable for use with underfloor heating unless the removal and relocation of the equipment is planned. The adhesive ensures a tight fit and uniform heating.

The specifics of installing underfloor heating systems on wooden subfloors and on concrete floors can be found in our recommended articles.

Conclusions and a helpful video on the subject

This video shows in detail and clearly demonstrates the installation of infrared flooring:

Film floor heating is an excellent choice for laying under linoleum. Installation of such systems seems not too difficult, but this is deceptive simplicity.

In laying infrared film, it is necessary to strictly follow the technology of works and accurately follow the manufacturer's recommendations. This will allow you to avoid mistakes and lay the system correctly to ensure a long service life.

Would you like to tell about how you arranged the floor heating system with your own hands? Would you like to share information that will be useful for visitors to the site? Please write your comments in the box below, post photos on the topic of the article, ask questions.

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