The world at our feet

Or underfloor heating to warm our feet, to be more precise. As explained, our dreams of having an additional bathroom and a laundry room had disappeared into the mists of construction hell. But what happens when life hands you lemons? You make lemonade.

In this instance, lemonade meant we were actually able to afford underfloor heating. I had always dreamed of installing underfloor heating as being from California means I’ve not been warm in about 11 years? But it felt like a splurge when we were already spending a lot of money. The bi-fold doors alone were enough to make me cry… And yes, we wanted bi-folds instead of the very popular Crittall window that’s popping up everywhere at the moment.

Back to the details…

Now we could have been sensible and put the money we’d saved towards inevitable overruns, but given we want the kitchen to be the showpiece, we went for it. With the boiler installed in the loft space, we had to run (what seemed like) several miles worth of pipework throughout the house. This piping runs to the kitchen and I’ve been told can all be controlled through a “wireless” sensor. Mind. Blown.


Now being the novice I am, I found the installation process absolutely fascinating.

For starters, a poor lad had to work in the boiling heat (remember those two uncomfortable weeks in June? Yeah…) in our darkened kitchen, digging out a massive hole, which was only then filled and levelled.


For a bit of perspective, in the above image look at the radiator in the distance. That’s the ground floor of the house … It was definitely a hard-hat kinda area! And in case you were wondering, yes, we were still using that sad little oven. In fact, we still are, but that’s another story for another time.


And then the hole that poor boy dug was filled in again…


And an initial layer of cement was laid, to bring the floor level with the new extension floor.


Insulation was added next, as all new structures have to meet minimum insulation standards.


Finally, the pipes were laid out, as specified with the proposed kitchen design. Those little tubes will hold the water that will eventually heat the floor in the cold hours of the long winter.


And a slightly closer view of the floor.

Further to this, another layer of cement was floated and once the kitchen is fitted we will be laying down porcelain tiles. The little kitchen was finally starting to take shape.

In terms of options for underfloor heating, there are two main options: water and electric. Both do the same thing and while we chose water, it was the right decision for us.  It’s really down to you to understand what method will work best in your home. A few pointers below…

If you’re considering installing electric underfloor heating, some considerations include:

  • Easy to install
  • Cheaper to install in smaller areas i.e. kitchens/bathrooms
  • Can be retrofitted into existing rooms with minimum disruption
  • Will only increase floor height from as little as 3mm
  • Can choose wattage output for different scenarios

If you’re considering installing water underfloor heating, some considerations include:

  • Generally cheaper to run than electric heating
  • Cheaper to install in new builds and full refurbishments
  • Can be run using Air Source Heat Pumps for low energy usage
  • Systems can be remotely controlled via PC/iPad/mobile phone
  • Perfect for large areas and multiple rooms

Further to that, you may want to explore whether underfloor heating will work through other areas of your home. We did consider installing it throughout the entire bottom floor, but our house is already well insulated and we felt one radiator in the living rooms would provide sufficient heat. Plus my other half is perennially warm and this felt like a good compromise. I can’t wait to be barefoot in the kitchen in the middle of winter!

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