How To Install Radiant Heat Into Hardwood Floors?

Thinking about adding some serious comfort to your home with radiant heat under your hardwood floors? We've got you covered. 

This guide is your go-to resource, from picking the best materials to nailing down the final touches. We'll walk you through the entire process so you can enjoy a warm, cozy home without the hassle.

Choosing the Right Materials

Engineered wood or parquet wooden floors are best suited as they adapt well to temperature changes and are less prone to warping than traditional solid hardwood.

When selecting a radiant heating system, keep in mind that some systems are specifically designed to work effectively under hardwood floors, while others cause damage due to temperature fluctuations.

Preparing for Installation

  • Clean the Subfloor: Start with a clean slate by ensuring your subfloor is free from any debris or dust.
  • Moisture Check: Using a moisture meter, check the subfloor to confirm that the moisture levels are within the acceptable range suggested by the flooring manufacturer. This step is crucial to prevent future flooring damage.
  • Leveling: If you find any uneven areas, use a leveling compound to create a flat surface to ensure the proper function and longevity of your heating system.

Installing the Insulation Layer

Although optional, laying down an insulation layer is recommended to enhance the efficiency of your heating system. This layer reflects the heat upwards into the room rather than allowing it to dissipate downwards.

white thermostat hanging on the wall

Deploying the Heating Element


Starting from the thermostat, roll out your electric heating mats or lay down the tubes for a hydronic system. Follow the layout you sketched to ensure proper spacing and pathway of the heating elements.

Secure the Elements

Use manufacturer-recommended staples or clips to secure the mats or tubes to the insulation or subfloor. This prevents any movement that could lead to system failure or inefficiency.

Installing the Temperature Sensor

Place the temperature sensor between the heating elements, close to the surface but still covered by the hardwood. This sensor monitors and controls the floor temperature to avoid overheating.

Connecting and Testing the System

  • Wiring: Connect the heating mats or tubes to the thermostat. Ensure all electrical connections are secure and adhere to your local electrical code.
  • Initial Testing: Before laying down the hardwood, power up the system to check for proper operation. This is important to ensure there are no defects in the heating elements.

Laying the Hardwood Flooring

Acclimate the Wood

Allow the wood planks to adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation.

wood planks and floor brush


Begin from the longest wall and proceed to install the planks, ensuring you maintain a gap around the edges for expansion.


Use spacers to maintain this expansion gap uniformly around the room's perimeter.

Secure the Planks

Depending on the type of wood, you may need to nail, glue, or click the planks into place. Be cautious not to puncture any heating elements during this process.

Final Checks and Calibration

Once the flooring is installed, turn on the heating system again. Monitor the performance over the next 24 hours to ensure everything is working as expected.

Adjust the thermostat to find a comfortable heat setting that suits your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can radiant heat be installed under any type of hardwood flooring?

While radiant heat can be installed under many types of hardwood flooring, engineered wood, and parquet are the best choices. These materials are specifically designed to handle the expansion and contraction that come with temperature fluctuations better than traditional solid hardwood.

How long does it take to install radiant heating under hardwood floors?

The installation time can vary depending on the size of the area and the type of heating system used. Generally, the installation of the heating system itself can be completed in 1-2 days, but you must also allow time for preparing the subfloor and laying the hardwood, which can take a few extra days.


By selecting the right materials and following these detailed installation steps, you can easily install radiant heat into your hardwood floors. Remember, using engineered wood and adhering to the guidelines for installation and testing will help avoid potential issues and maximize the effectiveness of your heating system.

Take the time to monitor the system initially to make the necessary adjustments for the perfect heat setting, and enjoy the cozy, inviting atmosphere it creates.

Author - Olivia Poglianich
Olivia Poglianich          

Content Strategist

Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the wooden crafts and 3D product design space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


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