DIY Projects

How to Install Laminate Flooring over Radiant Heating Systems

Submitted by: Woody Wall on November 25, 2011

Laminate over radiant

Important information on the subject of radiant heating

Windsor Plywood’s laminate flooring can be installed over hot water radiant heating systems. Laminate flooring has favourable thermal resistance for the efficient operation of your radiant heating system (see technical specifications). Due to the natural thermal conductivity and uniform heat dispertion of laminate flooring, the radiant heating can be turned off much earlier during transition periods for increased energy savings.
Note: Windsor does not recommend installation of its product over electrical radiant heating systems.

When installing Windsor Plywood’s laminate flooring over a hot water radiant heating system:

  • The cement subfloor must have completely cured and be free from humidity or hydrostatic pressure. To test the subfloor for humidity, cut several pieces of PE film in square of approximately 50 cm x 50 cm / 20” x 20”. Tape PE film squares to the subfloor ensuring the edges are completely sealed. Leave the squares down for 48 hours then remove and check for condensation on the film. If no signs of condensation are present then the installation can proceed normally. If possible, this test should be performed at different time periods before installing flooring.

  • The radiant heating system must be put into operation for approximately 2 weeks prior to installing Windsor’s laminate flooring. The initial system output should be set at its minimum level then increased incrementally on a daily basis until maximum output is reached. Please ensure sufficient ventilation for the area when initializing radiant heating systems.

  • When maximum output is reached, run at this level for a 72 hour period (time period will vary depending on the type of subfloor: cement = 1 day per cm thickness of subfloor).

  • Turn off the radiant heating system 1 to 2 days prior to installing the laminate flooring. A subfloor temperature of 64°F / 18°C to 72°F / 21°C should be maintained at all times during the installation.

Please note: It is absolutely essential that a non-porous vapour barrier (PE film) with a minimum thickness of 0.2 mm be installed over cement subfloors. Overlay the seams of the film by a minimum of 8” / 20 cm when installing. The thermal and acoustic insulation foam (ie. 3/32” / 2.5 mm PE foam) should then be installed directly over the PE film.

Note: If Quietwalk underlay is being used: Quietwalk has a built-in vapour barrier so the PE Film is unnecessary. Remember to install Quietwalk with the vapour barrier side up.

The installation of the Windsor’s Laminate Flooring can now begin. Please follow the laying instructions precisely. After the newly installed floor has rested for a period of 24 hours, run the radiant heating up to the required heat- ing output in increments of 18°F / 8°C per day.


This occurs when the wood fibers in the flooring expand suddenly from a rapid temperature change. Thermal shock may result in damage to the flooring. Note: This applies for the beginning of each heating period, for the life of the floor.

Note: Room temperature should not exceed 79°F / 26°C. An ideal room climate during the heating period would be a temperature of 68°F / 20°C to 72°F / 22°C and a relative humidity level of 50-60%

The instructions and information given in this section meet current published industry standards and are given for informative purposes only. These instructions are not binding and cannot be presented as proof in the case of a product claim.

Quietwalk Underlayment is highly recommended as it disperses heat more evenly and doesn’t breakdown under high temperatures as some foams do.

For more information on hydronic radiant floor heating, refer to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website at: