How do I keep my tiles and floors warm for winter?
Cosy homes come from good designs using clever material choices for active and passive heating. Porcelain tiles are great for both. Why? Passively, during winter, tiled floors absorb the heat from the sun during the day and release it as the temperature falls at night (known as thermal mass). Think of it as a massive sponge for all that free heat. Actively, tiles lend themselves perfectly to underfloor heating (UFH).
Underfloor heating throughout New Zealand homes is on the rise with innovative technologies resulting in extremely cost-effective products on the market. They are one of the most comfortable heaters of a room as heat is evenly distributed and rises from below meaning no room 'cold spots'. Conventional-forced methods tend to produce heating results that are too local and top-down. Just as you wouldn’t stand underneath a fan/radiant heater to feel warmth, underfloor heating gives you warmth whilst providing an overall cosy home.
UFH is also silent, efficient and allergy-friendly. UFH produces a wonderfully gentle heat that no other system can replicate. Plus it feels sensational underfoot.
Which flooring is the warmest?
Porcelain tiles are the easiest type of tile to heat and they also retain the heat. Nowadays tile is being increasingly used in all living spaces of the home across New Zealand, following a centuries-old trend in Europe.
With so many flooring options on the market today, choices can be overwhelming for consumers. What we do know is that Architects and engineers often recommend tiling floors in both residential and commercial environments because these automatically introduce passive warmth as discussed above by way of thermal mass. Thermal mass works by using a simple principle of physics: heat moves from warmer surfaces to cooler surfaces. An added bonus is that because tiles absorb the heat, in summer they’ll provide a cooling effect in living spaces during a hot day.
In other words, thermal mass evens out variations in temperature to keep you comfortable, day and night, all year round.
Whilst it is true that different materials work with UFH, careful considerations must be made on the flooring materials used. For example, timber flooring requires specialist systems and run the risk of warping, cupping and other problems. Carpets must adhere to certain thermal resistance ratings before even being considered suitable. The selection therefore becomes rather limited and usually always points towards Tiles.
What about cost-effective heating?
Underfloor heating (UFH) systems are one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods to heat a home. In fact, the DEVI underfloor heating system recommended by Tile Warehouse is one of the most inexpensive compared to some other heating alternatives. UFH can save you as much as 50% on your energy costs and will ensure that your feet are toasty and warm.
European-designed, DEVI will ensure the heat is evenly distributed and rises from below, recreating the ideal vertical temperature gradient. CLICK HERE for further information on DEVI and to download technical information.
Note also that because tiles increase the thermal mass in a building, this can then be built into your ‘build envelope’ design calculations reducing the need to further invest in heating.
Where in the home should I tile?
In the Kitchen
As the heart of the home and a place both friends and families congregate, our kitchens tend to be the most-used room in the house. Whether we are cooking or relaxing around the bench, kitchens need to be comfortable spaces. Tiles lend themselves perfectly to kitchen floors with their longevity and ability to withstand spills, water and abrasion! UFH is ideal for use in kitchens as it provides an ‘invisible’ approach to home-heating, which means it's effortless.
In the Bathroom
Again, UFH is an excellent option as it’s much nicer to step out of the bath or shower and have your feet land on a warm floor. For those who use the bathroom during the night, warm floors can provide welcome relief, especially during the winter months.
In the Living Room
The beauty of tiles in living spaces can be seen in the images above. Scroll through for inspiration if you are building or renovating! Worth noting is UFH comes with an ability to use timers so you are heating only the hours you need. Set the timer to come on early morning so when you rise, your home is warm and cosy without any fuss or hassle. Tiles are heated quickly and easily and because of how well they retain their heat you don’t need to have the heat running for long to make a massive difference.
In Entrance Ways and Foyers
Tile can be purchased in a number of formats and finishes and is, therefore, the obvious choice for wet areas. Slip-resistant tile is safe, easy to maintain and won't scratch or stain. Perfect on rainy days for muddy footwear and the wet that comes in the door from umbrellas and coats.
For further information on the underfloor heating system recommended by Tile Warehouse experts, CLICK HERE >>>