by Sara Costi
Today, underfloor heating is synonymous with luxury and comfort. Its fascinating story has inspired important technological advancements. The idea of underfloor heating dates back to about two thousand years ago. Ancient Greeks used hypocausts (meaning “heated from underneath”), which made hot air circulate under the floor raised on pillars. This system was also used in ancient Rome to heat public baths and large spaces.
Early forms of radiant heating appeared in 1905, thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright’s studies after his first trip to Japan. In 1907, Professor Arthur H. Barker invented a panel warming system using small pipes in England. Inspired by Oscar Faber’s studies, in 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a radiant-heated house for Herbert Jacobs. It was the first Usonian home, which was the term used by Lloyd Wright to describe his vision for the United States. The first water underfloor heating system was installed in Canada in 1960. This system became popular worldwide during the ‘80s.
Underfloor heating, also known as radiant heating, consists of a network of pipes inside which warm water (30-40 °C) flows to evenly spread the heat upwards. These pipes can be arranged in a spiral or serpentine layout across the entire flooring. They are immersed in the screed and covered with a layer of insulation on top of which the flooring material is installed. Both the screed and the flooring serve as barriers to spread the heat upwards and prevent its dispersion. Flooring materials with higher thermal conductivity will ensure lower heat dispersion, thereby reducing consumption.
Underfloor heating has many advantages. It spreads heat evenly in all the rooms of the house and prevents the formation of mould and dust. It integrates into other systems that use renewable energy (solar or thermal panels or biomass boilers) and allows for significant energy savings. It’s also an excellent solution from an aesthetic point of view.
The advantages of a porcelain stoneware floor
Porcelain stoneware features high transmittance and thermal conductivity (equal to about 1.3 W/mK), making it one of the best choices for underfloor heating.
Large-format porcelain stoneware tiles only 6.5mm thick allow the heat to spread evenly and consistently, reducing dispersion.
The small grout lines and the adhesive layer free of air bubbles underneath these large-format porcelain stoneware tiles ensure an elegant aesthetic effect. But they also promote optimal heat transmission because of the uninterrupted surface they create and homogeneous material. Grout and expansion joint arrangement need to be carefully chosen when using large-format porcelain stoneware tiles for underfloor heating.
An underfloor heating system combined with Casalgrande Padana’s Bios Antibacterial® technology allows everyone to enjoy walking barefoot at home and children to play on the floor even in winter. Bios Antibacterial® is a treatment for floor and wall tiles suitable for any indoor or outdoor setting. This silver-based treatment helps make your spaces healthier by reducing the main bacterial strains (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis) by 99.9% and preventing the formation of mould, yeasts, and fungi. The secret of Bios Antibacterial® is silver, which has been used for its antibacterial properties since ancient times. It’s non-toxic to humans and animals, non-allergic in contact with skin, and doesn’t release harmful substances; therefore, it’s safe for human health. This treatment is integrated permanently into the tiles; therefore, their antibacterial properties don’t decrease over time. Moreover, Bios Antibacterial® creates a shield that is always active, day and night, with or without sunlight or UV light.
Grout and expansion joint arrangement need to be carefully chosen when using large-format porcelain stoneware tiles for underfloor heating.
Casalgrande Padana allows you to choose from a vast range of wood-effect, stone-effect, marble-effect, concrete-effect and metal-effect tiles. The perfect choice for any style: classic contemporary, minimalist, Scandi, shabby chic, and urban chic.
Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware tiles are made solely with natural raw materials, without any plastic or harmful substances. They are fully recyclable, inert, fire-resistant, non-allergic, and remain unchanged over time.