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Community and Q&A

Carpet over concrete floor with radiant heating?

Mary Ann Pope | Posted in General Questions on

Is carpet tile a good choice as the finish flooring for a very large (40,000 sq. ft) single storey building with retro-fitted radiant in-floor heating (concrete slab that is not finished to a level that would allow a ‘polished concrete’ floor)?

If the carpet tiles are glued to the concrete, Will the heat cause the glue to off-gas/create fumes? If not glued down, will the carpet tiles shift or curl at the corners?
_Thanks very much for any advice
—Mary Ann

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  1. James Morgan | | #1

    For the stability of loose-laid tiles or glued-down over a heated floor you need to contact the manufacturer to see if it's a recommended installation for the particular tile you're considering though to me glue-down definitely sounds like a bad idea. Of course any carpet over the heated concrete will affect its thermal performance, at the very least increasing lag time somewhat.

    Of course it must be said that retrofitting a floor with inslab heating without considering finishing issues beforehand is generally not a good idea. It seems a curious choice in any case - in most US climate zones 40,000 sf single-story buildings will often have larger a/c loads than heating loads and for that you need ducted air. Out of curiosity, what is the use of the building? And finally, what is your location/climate zone?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Mary Ann,
    For a detailed answer to your question, visit this web site: Carpet & Pad with Radiant Floors.

    The page includes this paragraph:

    "Most buildings will include carpet and pad, often the majority of the floor coverings will be carpet. This presents a challenge for the designer of a radiant floor heating (or cooling) system. Carpet and pad is, by design, a thermal insulator. It would probably be wise to state right up front that any thought of using carpeting over a floor cooling system should probably be abandoned. While it is possible, the use of carpeting dramatically reduces the cooling capability of the floor. Radiant floor heating, on the other hand, is quite tolerant of carpeting although there are limitations. The designer and installer of radiant systems should be aware of these limitations in order to direct the building owner into making wise floor covering decisions."

    To read more, click the link above.

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