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Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?

Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?

Nothing beats the comfort of stepping onto a heated floor, especially on cold mornings and nights. However, stepping onto a soft, cozy rug is also a luxury. Is it possible to install carpet over heated flooring? And, perhaps more importantly, is it safe?

Yes, heated floors can be installed beneath carpet. You can safely enjoy the best of both flooring worlds if you have the right information, a little planning, and the right materials. Contrary to popular belief, carpet does not trap heat rising from the floor and instead provides the same temperature as any heated floor.

Furthermore, the right underlay will provide some cushion to the carpet, doubling the luxury of an in-floor heating system.

It stands to reason that when heat and textiles are in close proximity, safety risks and product performance may be a concern. But keep reading to find out why heated flooring under carpet is a good option and a good investment for years to come!

Prioritize Safety

Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?

All in-floor heating products have passed numerous tests, undergone rigorous studies, and have been widely used by electricians for nearly 45 years. Through independent testing agencies, national standards ensure product safety. Furthermore, cables used for in-floor heating are designed to protect wires and to eliminate the possibility of electric shock.

It is useful to know that consumers can adjust and monitor the temperatures coming from their heat sources by using a thermostat. Furthermore, because in-floor heating systems are limited to a maximum temperature, homeowners can be confident that their flooring will never become dangerously hot.

Of course, contacting a professional electrician who can provide more detailed information about any safety concerns is always a good idea, especially if it can provide you with peace of mind.

What Is The Process Of In-Floor Heating?

In-floor heating, also known as radiant floor heating, is typically available in two configurations.

The first is a hot water system, in which tubes are installed beneath the flooring and hot water runs through them, warming the floor. The second option is an electric system, in which wiring is installed beneath the floor and, when connected to a power source, uses electricity to warm the floor. Both systems are efficient and provide consistent heat evenly across floors, but they have different advantages and disadvantages.

Water-based systems, also known as hydronic floor heating, are typically the most efficient option over time; however, installation can be complicated and costly due to the involvement of a boiler, pump, and gas lines. These systems are also best installed during the home building process, though they can be retrofitted in an existing home.

Electric floor heating, on the other hand, is less difficult to install and thus less expensive to install. It warms floors and even rooms just as well as hydronic systems, but it is powered by electricity, which can be costly.

Is Underfloor Heating Effective?

Yes, as long as the layers between the heat source and the carpet are adequate heat conduits. The warmth from your underfloor heat source should reach the surface you want to warm as quickly as possible. As a result, your carpet, including its backing and padding, should have a low thermal resistance, allowing heat to rise more easily.

Selecting The Best Carpet For Your Heated Floors

Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?

Fortunately, carpets and padding have an R-value that takes into account the fiber, yarn type, pile height, and weight of the carpet, as well as the thickness and density of the padding. HVAC professionals recommend that your carpet R-value be between 1-2 and no more than 3 when combined with padding.

Consider the material on the reverse side of your carpet as well. A felt-backed carpet will absorb heat and may harm the finish of your floor.

A hessian back, which is typical of most carpet backing, is a better option.

Is Special Underlay Required For Underfloor Heating?

Sometimes a special underlay is required, and sometimes it is not. To find out if your in-floor system has any special flooring requirements, contact the manufacturer. Underlayments, which are typically made of foam, rubber, or cork, can be a worthwhile investment and are frequently used to absorb sounds, repel moisture, and ensure a smooth and level floor.

How Long Can Heated Floors Be Used?

An in-floor heating system can last up to 25-30 years if properly installed and maintained on a regular basis. A standard furnace needs to be replaced every 10-20 years, implying that in-floor heating is a significant and valuable investment.

You can also use a standard electric heating mat to turn your floors into a cushioned, heated luxury.

How Does Under Carpet Heating Work?

Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?
  • Consult with an electrician to ensure that adding this new heating element will not overload your electrical system. It’s possible that you’ll need to add more circuits to your home to provide more power.
  • Purchase an electric underfloor heating mat kit designed specifically for use beneath carpet. These kits can be purchased at any home improvement store or online directly from a brand distributor. Make sure to measure the size of the floor space you want to heat before purchasing material.
  • Remove any debris, nails, staples, or screws from your subfloor. To avoid accidental punctures, use sharp tools with caution.
  • Install the appropriate carpet padding, making sure it has an R-value of less than one, is no thicker than 3/8″, and has a density of six pounds per cubic foot. This is the insulated underlayment.
  • Unroll the heating mat and adhere it to the underlay as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Determine the path of the heating element’s cords to the power supply before covering the floor with carpet. Consider where your electronics’ cords will run as well. To accommodate power cords, you may need to cut a small piece of carpet at the edge.
  • Connect the thermostat per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Unroll and position your carpet over your newly installed in-floor heating system, taking care not to damage the wiring or the mat with any tools or sharp objects.
  • That’s all! You can now unwind, knowing that your feet will always be toasty and warm.


This information about carpets, in-floor heating mechanisms, and how they work together should help to clarify the radiant heat installation process.

Can Heated Floors Be Installed Under Carpet?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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