Deciding which underfloor heating system is perfect for your home, involves understanding exactly what makes up the cost of both wet and electric underfloor heating. Unfortunately, this can be something of an apples and oranges comparison, as each is quite different in the way it works, and the way it is installed.
Setting long-term running costs aside, we will take a look at the factors which affect the installation cost of both electric and water based underfloor heating.
Wet System Underfloor Heating Installation Cost
By far the highest contributing part of the installation cost for wet underfloor heating is actually laying the heat pipes themselves.
Hot water pipes must be embedded into the screed of the floor. Usually, this will be a layer of cement. For wet system installations in rooms with a generously high ceiling, the water pipes can be set inside a new layer of cement, on top of the old.
For installations in rooms with tight headroom, then it could mean digging up the current flooring and relaying it with the hot water pipes embedded within it.
Both of these options can be expensive, with the latter being potentially quite costly. Depending upon the volume of the floor that needs to be dug up and put down again to install the heating.
The good news is that the actual heat pipe itself is less costly compared to electric elements. You may also need to install a new or updated water boiler and pump system to power your wet underfloor heating.
Electric System Underfloor Heating Installation Cost
Electric underfloor heating sits on top of the screed, usually the cement floor. There is no need to lay new flooring, or to dig up existing flooring, as electric underfloor heating is fitted on top of what is already there. It does cost a little to fully insulate the bare flooring before laying the heating though.
The actual heating elements, which usually come in in the form of a special matting, are more expensive per square meter than wet heating pipes. Yet they are not that more expensive that the increased costs could offset digging up the flooring to install wet underfloor heating instead.
There may also be some electrical work required, such as fitting a new uprated fuse box and running new high amperage cables to each room that needs to be heated.
Common Underfloor Heating Installation Cost
Both types of underfloor heating, wet and electric, share certain common costs.
Regardless of which type you choose, the floor covering will need to be pulled up and refitted afterwards. It might simply mean rolling up the carpet, which doesn’t cost anything. But for floorings such as wooden planks, it means pulling them up, and then refitting them again after the underfloor heating has been installed.
Both types of underfloor heating may require room fittings to be adjusted. For example, door frames might need to be resized and doors re-hung after being cut down in height.
And of course, once the underfloor heating installation is complete, the job needs to be made good, with minor repairs to paintwork and wall coverings. Again, this could be nothing more than a quick dab of paint, but it could also mean redecorating a room entirely.
Comparing Underfloor Heating Installation Cost for Different Properties
The installation cost of underfloor heating whether wet or electric is going to be driven by the complexity of the installation. Some types of buildings are far easier to work with.
- Large buildings with high ceilings – this is where wet underfloor heating shines. Large open buildings offer the cheapest square meter price for wet based systems.
- Large buildings with wooden upper floors – this is a tough call, the lower floor will suit wet underfloor heating, but the laying of a suitable screed in the upper floors is going to be very expensive and electric would be far cheaper. Potentially a hybrid system would be best of all.
- Medium sized buildings with wooden upper floors – generally, electric underfloor heating is going to be far cheaper to install in this kind of property unless the downstairs rooms are exceptionally large for the building’s size.
- Small sized buildings with many small rooms – electric underfloor heating is much simpler to fit in this kind of building, and therefore the installation costs are a lot lower than a wet system.
Underfloor Heating Installation Cost Roundup
As we can see from above, the type of building the underfloor heating systems is being installed in, and the complexity of the installation are the real drivers of cost.
As a rule of thumb, electric underfloor heating will always be cheaper to install than a wet system. However, electric underfloor heating will never deliver the same energy efficiency as a wet system. Put simply, install costs are higher for a wet system, but years down the line once the energy efficiency has paid back the extra cost of the installation over an electric system, wet is going to deliver a lower cost of ownership.
The Underfloor Heating Company London specialises in both wet and electric underfloor heating, and we can help you to understand the underfloor heating installation cost for your specific building and usage.