There is a lot of controversy on the Internet regarding radiant heating systems and hardwood floors. Our most popular package is the overfloor radiant system, where the radiant tubing comes in direct contact with the hardwood flooring.
The radiant tubing can be in contact with the hardwood flooring as long as the temperature stays within the recommended parameters. Always make sure to use a good quality aluminum heat transfer plate to spread the heat across the floor more evenly. The water temperature should not exceed 140 degrees and the surface temp of the floor should not exceed 85 degrees.
If the wood is a very thin type material, you may want to put Luaun down before the hardwood. This will help reduce the “striping” effect by reducing the temperature at the point of contact. Thicker materials will have the effect of spreading out the heat naturally.
Maple, for example, is one of the most “active” hardwoods in terms of expansion and contraction. Expect there to be gaps during the winter and swelling in the summer. It’s the nature of the wood. We recommend that you acclimatize the wood for several weeks in the space where you are installing the hardwood flooring. This will allow the wood to adjust to the same temp and moisture level as all of the surrounding materials. This is a step that is missed in most installations.
Also, installing the floor during the shoulder seasons is good if possible since the humidity and temperature are in the middle of their range. Expansion and contraction will be 50% in each direction. If you install the floor in the winter, and make it tight, the floor will swell heavily when the humidity rises in the summer.
The same thing for installing it in the summer. If you make it tight then, by winter there will be gaps in the floor.
Call Eagle Mountain at 1-800-572-7831, we would be happy to answer any of your questions about using radiant heating systems with hardwood flooring.