Combining dry screed with underfloor heating in retrofits

Incorporating screedboard and underfloor heating in your home can provide acoustic and thermal benefits. Janeeth Devgun of CCF, offers expert insight.

Landlords and facility managers are increasingly looking to install flooring solutions that are not just easy to install and maintain, and can also improve tenants’ quality of life. From improving acoustics in the home, to saving precious floorspace and minimising energy bills, one such solution is underfloor heating (UFH). It removes the need for bulky radiators and can be more economical.

In the past, most UFH systems in the UK market would have comprised of solid floor systems, with pipework embedded within a concrete or floor screed. While this works for new build developments, an alternative solutions is required for existing buildings, where space and other build restrictions can be an issue. This is where dry screed panel products are being recognised as the ideal solution, offering improved acoustic performance while being compatible with UFH to enhance thermal conductivity.

Floating floor systems typically incorporate an insulation panel that has been pre-grooved to accept a plastic UFH pipe and an aluminium heat diffusion plate. The UFH pipe heats the plate which ensures an even heat distribution to the underside of fibre board decking. This solution has been demonstrated by CCF and Kay Metzeler in a recent underfloor heating and acoustic flooring project for the Grade II listed redevelopment of the Royal Star and Garter Home in Richmond Hill.

Dry screed panel products are ideal for retrofits, offering improved acoustic performance and compatibility with underfloor heating

The refurbishment nature of the project meant that most floor thresholds were already set with no scope to increase floorspace, and the 1920’s concrete sub floors were limited both structurally and acoustically. For these reasons a Floating Floor system incorporating Screedboard and a 50 mm grid pattern laminated to the EPS was used. Once in place, the pipe was secured to the board using a U clip, allowing a seamless finish for the UFH solution.

Installing a dry screed panel product on top of UFH systems allows room heating and cooling to be controlled more cost-effectively than other options. Many dry screed products can also be applied in kitchens or bathrooms, as ceramic tiles can be installed on it.

This is just one example, but there are many different flooring systems and product options to suit various developments. Finding out what is suitable for the property can be a daunting process, but with the right support and manufacturer advice, these challenges can be overcome.

Good flooring can offer a better quality of life and in an uncertain housing market also serves as a way to standout and add-value. Therefore, for those who take the initiative and factor flooring improvements when refurbishing older properties will reap the benefits and future-proof their home for years to come.

Janeeth Devgun is External Envelope and Flooring Category Manager at CCF