Wide Plank Floors & Radiant Heat? Yes You Can!

Boy and dog sitting on white pine flooring

In Kitchens, Bathrooms, Beaches: Wide Plank Wood Floors & Moisture we talked about the reasons why wide plank wood flooring works well in kitchens, bathrooms, and in coastal or humid climates. It has to due with the quality of wood, the tightness of the vertical grain, and properly acclimating the boards.

These are the same factors that contribute to wide plank floors performing beautifully over radiant heat, or with any type of heating system for that matter:

  • When floor planks are cut from the center of slow growing timber, with a tight grain running vertically down the face of the board, the planks will be stable with minimal opportunity for expansion and contraction.
  • It’s important to acclimate the floor planks prior to installation in the environment where the floor will be laid, and with the heating system turned on.

Radiant heat is actually an excellent heating source for wood. In fact, the application of solid hardwood floors installed over a radiant heated floor is approved by many hardwood manufacturers and trade organizations, with the above conditions, of course. With forced hot air or baseboard systems, there is more heat on the wood around the perimeter of the room, so those boards may have a tendency to contract a bit more as a result. It is an uneven distribution of heat.

With radiant heat, however, there is an even distribution of heat, so floor boards will react, even if it’s just minimally, the same across the entire floor because the heat source is evenly applied.

The opinions of many trade organizations and flooring professionals is that engineered wood flooring is a better option than solid wood flooring over radiant heat, and that narrow planks will result in less expansion and contraction. This is due to the dimensional stability of 11- to 15- ply construction (depending on the manufacturer). But, keep in mind that engineered flooring comes with the same considerations when it comes to quality of wood and acclimation. Hardwood Floors magazine, a publication of the National Wood Flooring Association, offers up some great guidance on this topic.

At William & Henry, we have seen wide plank solid wood floors perform beautifully over radiant heat. And we are available to help our customers consider all of the variables, including climate, types of heating system, and wood species, to determine the best options for your home. We make our engineered wood floors out of the same high quality wood as our solid wood floors. This allows us to be able to offer a wide variety of options, and together, determine which of those options is the very best for your home and your family, with whatever heating system you have.

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