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LanterDan 07-03-2006 04:54 PM

kitchen floor/underfloor heating
I am looking to help my parents redo a kitchen floor and add under floor heating. Looking at either floating laminate or ceramic tile (parents inclined toward lam, Iím inclined toward tile). Iím confused about several things.
1) Iím worried about the life time of laminate especially since the main entrance is through the kitchen and this is a winter climate so snow will inevitably be tracked through. Also, realistically, cost constraints will force this to be a lower to lower middle end laminate. Are my fears misplaced?
2) Most under floor heating systems Iíve seen have pipes/tubing put down and then an inch or two of concrete. Iíd like to build up the floor as little as possible, so as not to terribly mismatch with adjacent floors. Iíve found a couple of places online that sell systems that you attach from beneath, basically run tubing between the joists, staple in aluminum sheets around the tubing to the bottom of the sub floor, and then insulate. Looks really simple (I have easy access, 2/3 of kitchen over unfinished basement, 1/3 crawlspace), but Iíve had several people tell me they donít think such a system will work well without the thermal mass of the concrete. My instinct is that it will since a couple of uninsulated hot water lines under the bathroom, right in front the sink, seem to have serendipitously created a nice warm floor (so wonderful:) ). Of course working doesnít necessarily equal efficiency or even good idea. I should also mention parents want base board radiators removed for aesthetic reasons, so floor hearing system must actually be able to heat the kitchen.
3) Iíve heard several warning not to use electric floor heating with laminates. Presumably the concern is the heat drying out the lam making it shrink? Why would water heating be any better in this regard (or is it just less popular)?

LanterDan 07-03-2006 04:58 PM

Oh, for what it is worth, the floor is approx 17'x10' (make 17'x13' or so if you want to count area underneath cabinets).

Floorwizard 07-04-2006 07:17 PM

I live in AK, and I would recoment tile if you plan on tracking in snow and not wanting to worry about it.

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