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Updated: 14 Feb 2022

Underfloor heating costs and installation

Find out how much underfloor heating costs, how it will affect your home and what to expect from a typical installation.
Paula Flores

How much you pay for underfloor heating varies dramatically depending on which type you choose, whether it will be installed in a new room or retrofitted to an existing room, and how your home's floors are constructed.

To give you an idea of how much you can expect to shell out upfront, we've worked with RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) to calculate likely costs for different scenarios.

We've also spoken to Which? members who have underfloor heating to ask them about how the running costs of underfloor heating have affected their energy bills.

Types of underfloor heating

There are two types of underfloor heating:

  • Electric underfloor heating is cheaper to buy and have installed. You can even install some types yourself, although you'll need a qualified electrician to connect it. But it's typically more expensive to run than water-based systems, due to the high cost of electricity.
  • Water underfloor heating is cheaper to run than electric systems, but it's more expensive to install and it's advisable to get professionals to do it. Water systems are more efficient than electric systems, especially in larger areas.

Underfloor heating installation costs

The table below shows how much you can typically expect to pay to buy and install water or electric underfloor heating in several rooms in different types of property, based on data supplied by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. 

Which? members can log in now to unlock the exclusive information in the tables. 

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Water underfloor heatingFromTo
Terraced
Semi-detached
Detached
Electric underfloor heatingFromTo
Terraced
Semi-detached
Detached

Regardless of your situation and the type of underfloor heating you want, we recommend getting at least three installers to come to your home to give you a quote, which should be free of charge. They can also advise you as to the best type of underfloor heating system for you, the wattage you will need, what insulation you will need below the floor and which flooring type is best. 

If you're looking for an installer in your area, you can use our Trusted Traders search tool below. All Trusted Traders have been through our rigorous background checks.

Can you install underfloor heating yourself?

You may be tempted to keep costs down by installing underfloor heating yourself. Whether this is a good idea depends on your DIY experience and the type of underfloor heating. Electric systems are fairly straightforward to lay for confident DIY-ers (though you'll need an qualified electrician to wire the system up to your electricity supply). Water systems can be complicated, though, so we'd recommend using a professional.  

Regardless of the type of system you're thinking of, we'd suggest getting a professional in to look at the floor type and assess what's needed to make it level and insulated, before going ahead. This should ensure you have the right heating system for your needs.

If you do install underfloor heating yourself, make sure you get clear installation instructions from the company you're buying it from, and follow them closely. That way you're less likely to damage the system. And test it thoroughly to make sure it's working properly before you lay the flooring over the top. 

Head to our electric underfloor heating and water underfloor heating guides to find out more on installing these systems and the associated costs.

Where to buy underfloor heating

If you're having underfloor heating professionally installed, the trader may take the lead on sourcing and supplying the equipment required. If you're installing it yourself, or buying your own kit for a professional to install, there are a number of retailers that sell underfloor heating, including both specialist heating stores and plumbing and DIY stores. 

Remember that prices will vary depending on your home's existing insulation, the type and size of room, how much work needs to be done to prepare the floor, and the flooring you'll be laying on top.

If you're shopping online, make sure you know your rights and only hand over your money to reputable retailers

Here is a selection of popular retailers that stock underfloor heating: 

  • Amazon - Sells a variety of underfloor heating products, including kits for electric and water systems, electric underfloor hearing mats, and thermostats.
  • Screwfix - Offers a selection of water and electric underfloor heating equipment, plus thermostats and insulation boards.
  • The Underfloor Heating Store - This underfloor heating specialist sells a wide range of electric and water systems, thermostats and insulation boards.
  • Toolstation - Sells a selection of wet and electric underfloor heating equipment.
  • Topps Tiles - Offers electric underfloor heating and thermostats designed primarily for use under tiled floors.
  • Victorian Plumbing - Its range mainly comprises electric underfloor heating and thermostats.
  • Wickes - Stocks electric underfloor heating wires and mats, primarily from manufacturer ProWarm, plus insulation.  

Discover which retailers are rated highly by Which? members with our guide to the best and worst shops.

What can affect the price of underfloor heating?

There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of buying and installing underfloor heating, which we've summarised below. 

Heating source

If you're getting a water system, it will need to be connected to whatever powers your heating (for example, a boiler). The cost of installation will likely be higher if your heating system is far away from the room the underfloor heating is being installed in, or it's difficult to run pipes to it.

Some installers we've spoken to have mentioned that the type of heating system you have can also affect the cost, as it will determine how powerful the underfloor heating system needs to be. There is also a chance that you will need adjustments made to your boiler or, in some cases, even need a brand new system if your current one is old and inefficient.


Regardless of your reason for doing so, if you're looking to replace an old and worn-out boiler, use our advice on buying the best boiler to choose one that won't let you down. 


Multi-zone heating

The cost of underfloor heating could be higher if you want multi-zone heating – where the underfloor heating is zoned off to specific parts of a room, or is fitted in more than one room – as it will mean more pipework and thermostats.

Also, if you're having water underfloor heating, keep in mind that the number of zones you have is likely to have an affect the size and cost of the manifold (the connection that links the water underfloor heating to your central heating system - take a look at our guide on water underfloor heating for more on manifolds and what they look like). Therefore, think about where it might sit. Most people choose to put it in a cupboard out of sight, but make sure it will be accessible.

Floor structure

The more that needs doing to make your floor suitable, the more it will cost to install your underfloor heating. Whether it's being laid in a new-build property or extension, or fitted in an existing room, can also affect the cost.

For example, it would cost more if you wanted underfloor heating retrofitted on a second-storey floor made of suspended timber. This type of floor doesn't conduct heat well, and as it's already laid it would need to be prepared for the underfloor heating.

However, there are advances in underfloor heating that make retrofitting a floor and insulating easier, so it's worth asking to look at the options.

Knock-on changes to your home

Retrofitting underfloor heating often means making changes to various aspects of your home, too.

Some underfloor heating systems can be fitted to the top of your existing floor, so it won't have to be ripped up, making it less work and therefore bringing down the cost. However, it will mean that the floor needs to be raised, so be prepared to put up with the effect of that or make sure you ask your installer for as low-profile a flooring system as possible.

If you're having underfloor heating installed in a new room, check that this extra height will be taken into consideration with the rest of the build.

Also keep in mind that if you're only getting it added to one room, whether retrospectively or in a new-build, raising the floor could create a small step up from one room to another.

Insulation

How well insulated the room is may also alter the price, as this affects the type of system you need. Rooms that are less well insulated would need a more powerful system to heat them properly.

An underfloor heating expert will be able to advise you on all of this. You can use Which? Trusted Traders to find someone we have checked has the right credentials to do the job. 

We've asked people who've had underfloor heating installed what they love about it, and any frustrations. Take a look at our page on underfloor heating pros and cons to learn more.

Underfloor heating running costs

Running costs of underfloor heating can vary wildly as it depends on many variables (including room size, insulation, floor type and how many hours per day the heating is on). Based on estimates from underfloor heating manufacturers, we've calculated that electric underfloor heating for a 10 square metre room will typically cost between £18 and £25 a month, assuming you run it for four hours a day. 

We asked Which? members how having underfloor heating installed had affected their energy bills. Log in or join Which? to see what they said. 

Can you fit underfloor heating in old houses?

Yes you can – underfloor heating can be fitted in any home. However, in properties with low energy efficiency - for example those with single glazing and no insulation - it's unlikely that it will be able to act as the only form of heating – you'll probably need to have central heating and radiators as well. The first thing to do is to how to draught proof your home.

If you do carry out additional work to improve how well the house retains heat, such as fitting loft insulation and modern glazing, you shouldn't need to use multiple sources of heating and this will have a positive impact on your heating bills. 

Do you need planning permission to install underfloor heating?

In most cases, no. However, if your home is a listed or a historically significant property, it's worth checking your plans with a qualified surveyor or architect. This is an additional expense you might need to consider. 

If you're installing underfloor heating into a new room, work will need to conform to building regulations.

What type of flooring is best for underfloor heating?

Most types of flooring are fine to use on top of underfloor heating, including vinyl, laminate and tiles. But some, such as natural stone, are even better as they naturally conduct heat. This means the floor will feel warm more quickly and will retain the warmth for longer. Bear in mind that natural stone will cost more than man-made tiles. 

However, if your heart is set on a particular type of flooring, your installer should be able to adjust the underfloor heating system output, the underlay and screed to suit the floor type.

Wooden flooring

Wooden floor living room
If you have real wood floors, it's worth checking with the manufacturer what the maximum temperature is that the wood can take – it's typically 27°C. Temperatures that are too high can warp and shrink the flooring, especially if the moisture content of the wood is high.

Engineered wooden or laminate floors are a much better choice if you don't want to run the risk of problems in the future but want the look of wood. However, it shouldn't exceed a maximum thickness of 18mm, as this will reduce the efficiency.

Carpet

Carpeted floor in bedroom

Although carpet isn't the most efficient floor covering on top of underfloor heating, as it will take time for the heat to get through, it can still be used. To get the best out of it, keep the combined tog value of the underlay and carpet below 2.5. 

Concrete

Concrete floor in kitchen

If you want exposed concrete floors, make sure you don't use this to encase the underfloor heating system. Both water and electric systems should be installed within a layer of screed, not concrete, as sharp aggregate can damage the system.

It's also worth keeping in mind that concrete will take longer to warm up, but will retain the heat for longer.

If you're in the market for a new flooring check out our carpet guides and wood flooring guides for top tips to decide between laminate, engineered wood and real wood flooring. 


* In December 2021 we asked 119 Which? members who had fitted underfloor heating in the past five years about their experiences


This article uses insights from the Which? Connect panel, collected from research activities with our members. Find out how to get involved