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Type of wood floor acceptable over radiant heating?

wdp Member Posts: 1
I am building a new house and I would like to install radiant heating through out, my only problem is that I want the install solid wood flooring on the first floor. I have been told by some people that you can not install solid wood flooring over this type of heat because of the amount of moisture that comes through the floor can damage the wood. Is that correct.


  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Not correct

    Nearly every radiant system that I have installed has had at least some hardwood flooring.

    As long as you allow tha wood to aclimate, you will have no problems.

    We make sure that the wood flooring is laid out, NOT NAILED, for at least 7 days while the radiant system is running.

    We also do not allow the floor surface to go beyond 80 degrees

    Find a heating contractor that is experienced with radiant heating and they will know how to handle the wood floor.

    Mark H

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Visit the websites of both the AHC (American Hardwood Council) and the RPA (Radiant Panel Association).

    You will see that they BOTH agree that radiant and wood floors (both natural and engineered) are a good mix. Remember though that ANY natural strip wood flooring WILL move with the seasons and that the lower cost grades generally tend to move more than the higher grades. Most engineered wood flooring however is made in a way that nearly eliminates movement.

    Both natural and engineered floors are available in unfinished and pre-finished varieties. Pre-finished flooring is more expensive initially, but costs significantly less to install. Most pre-finished floors are beveled slightly at the edges so that tiny manufacturing variations don't show up as an uneven floor. Some find the bevel objectionable, others aren't bothered.

    IMHO engineered wood flooring now has an edge over most natural flooring. Why? Because really good, stable wood is hard to find and extremely expensive. The oak floors in my house were installed in 1922. Upstairs is Bruce (yes, they've been in business that long) #31 Plain-Sawn Red Oak. At least I believe that is the number on an original tag I found--too lazy to dig it out of the file...

    I checked with Bruce and found this was their "standard" strip oak flooring back then. Now it is most similar to their "Heritage" grade--VERY expensive--but even then the strips are shorter and less well-matched. I don't have radiant in the hardwood areas but I can tell you that this floor DOES move quite a bit with the seasons.

    Downstairs the floors are quarter sawn and highly figured. Such is now fabulously expensive but seasonal movement is nearly imperceptible.
  • Doug Wagoner
    Doug Wagoner Member Posts: 78
    Radiant and hardwood

    I have hardwood over concrete with radiant in the concrete. I have hardwood over staple-up radiant in the joist bays. I have quary tile over concrete with radiant. The hardwood is engineered and is doing great (5 years old)The rest of the house is 3/4" solid hardwood and warm air heatpump. Someday that will be radiant staple-up also. Don't be afraid of hardwood and radiant. Be choosey with your contractors and your will be delighted. My wife is pleased--most of the time--with the radiant heat that is.
  • Doug Murphy_3
    Doug Murphy_3 Member Posts: 15
    Radiant Flooring Guide 2004

    Just a possible help with that install.
    This guide is put out by the Radiant Panel Association and BNp Media.

    I think it's 10 bucks...about 68 pages and covers a lot of info.

  • cruizer
    cruizer Member Posts: 48

    Here, visit these links to learn a little more.


    Installing radiant under wood floors will NOT cause a problems if installed correctly. Talk to the hardwood manufacturer. If they don't recommend it, go find someone else. Because if you do, everything that may go wrong with your hardwood they're gonna blame on the radiant. It's nothing but a cop-out for many hardwood companies. Acclimate the wood according to the instructions before the install.

    I typically design all my floors to me 85 deg or lower. The hardwood can handle well over 85 degree temperatures. If it couldn't then hardwood would not be allowed in areas with direct sunlight or in areas where the air temperatures are above 85 degrees.
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    they say...

    the wood should be cross cut - (cut against the grain)

    but !!!! MOST IMPORTANT !!!!!! -
    if you don’t spread out the uninstalled wood and let it sit on the live (at operating temp) radiant floor for 2-3 weeks first - you will have endless grief - from huge spaces between the boards from drying out or buckles from expansion
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