The coolest part of the apartment is the floor. Even with relatively warm weather outside, it can remain cold. There’s nothing strange about it. The usual law of physics is that warm air stays upstairs, and the cold air below. But it’s not so bad. If the floor insulation is incorrectly made, up to 30% of the heat will escape from the room through the unprocessed seams and inter-panel joints, and the heating bill for the apartment will grow to a large extent.
What material should I choose for a thermal insulation device? Let’s give several recommendations on this subject, and also consider the features of the isolation process.
We choose the material
For such work, you can use different heaters:
- Loose materials. These include wood shavings, slag, expanded clay and arbolite. They do not stand too much and have excellent indicators in terms of warming the floors.
- Mineral or glass wool. Has a high effect in terms of heat and sound insulation, fireproof, non-rotting, hygroscopic, but requires additional steam and waterproofing.
- Styrofoam and polystyrene. In some ways, a diverse material. It perfectly “works” as an additional thermal insulation for the warm floor, and also as a heater in wooden houses.
It’s impossible to say unambiguously which heat-insulating flooring materials are better. All of them have different indicators of thermal conductivity and resistance to climatic influences. In this case, you need to build on your financial capabilities and technological features of flooring.
Heated wooden floors
The insulation of the wooden floor is carried out in a traditional way, that is, by laying the material in the space between the lags.
A phased work plan looks like this:
- We open the old cover. To do this, we dismantle all the boards, if the work is carried out in the old house. In the case of floor insulation in the building under construction everything is much easier. Before laying the floorboard, we perform a warming procedure.
- Steam insulation. The vapor barrier device is the flooring of a special film, through which condensate vapor can escape. At the same time, moisture cannot penetrate into the insulation from outside. Roll material unfold and lay stripes on top of the frame of the floors, winding its overlap of 10-15 cm. Also leave a little on the joints with the walls. We attach the joints with adhesive tape.
When using polypropylene material, some people ask themselves which side to put the vapor barrier on? There is no difference, and you can put it as you like.
- Heater. The most important moment. Here, the work is divided according to the type of material used. If loose materials are used, they are evenly distributed in the internal cavity between the lags. But first we make an even earth foundation, if there is no slab of reinforced concrete floor. Thermal insulation plate or roll warmers are laid between the supporting bars and are pressed against them so that there are no cracks.
- The final part. At the end of the heater, we again lay a vapor barrier film. It will protect the material from the vapor coming from the room. The principle of work is the same – we distribute the material overlapping and fasten joints with adhesive tape. Then we sew the whole structure with the floorboard and lay the floor covering.
In most cases, the floor in a city apartment is a concrete slab, which in itself is very cold. Plus possible slots in the floors, loose connections between the wall and the floor, and in the end – just an icy surface underfoot.
Therefore, for the owners of such apartments, and even located on the first floor, the primary issue is insulation. You can lay a system of contour heating. In this case, thermal insulation for the warm floor is required. It will need to be laid under the heating system, so that the heat does not go to the basement. But this is an expensive option, so consider two less expensive ways.
Option number 1 – insulation under the screed
Significantly insulate this coating will help heat-insulating roll materials, laid under the cement screed. In this case, the work is carried out according to the following plan:
- Dismantling of the floor material. At this stage, the laid finish coat is removed – linoleum, parquet or laminate. The situation is simpler if you started such work in a new building. To do this, just remove the layer of cement screed, if any, level the surface and remove all debris.
- Laying of protective material. The vapor barrier device for such works is carried out as follows. Polyethylene or polypropylene material is laid on the cleaned surface. The recommendations are the same – an overlap of 10-15 cm and the same allowance on the walls. Joints are sealed with adhesive tape.
- Heater. On the vapor barrier film, the insulating material is laid as insulation. Have it striped, fastening the joints with adhesive tape. Then again there is a layer of vapor barrier. You can use expanded polystyrene. But when working with him, show maximum attention. Place the slabs as tightly as possible to each other so that cold bridges do not form at the joints. When using these materials, the vapor barrier device can be omitted.
- Screed. On the heater first you need to lay reinforcing mesh – a kind of skeleton for the screed. Pouring is carried out with a small layer of approximately 50 mm. Do not make a more thin coating, otherwise it will crack with time. After this, the material should dry for two weeks, and then the surface is primed for greater strength.
Option number 2 – lag warming
This method is similar to the warming of wooden floors. The only difference is that in wooden houses the logs are thicker, they are already mounted, and any material for insulation can be used.
In the variant with a concrete covering it is necessary preliminary to lay plywood, and here you will be limited in a choice of a heater. The reason is the impossibility of using thicker logs, which will hide the precious centimeters of the height of the room.
Preparation and vapor barrier
As in the first case, the surface is cleaned and all cracks and potholes are sealed on it.
Then comes the turn of the waterproofing. In this case, the use of polymer compositions applied by the roller or brush is allowed. You can also put and roll materials with the same recommendations – overlap between the film and placing the material on the walls with subsequent fixing of joints with adhesive tape.
Mounting the log
The responsible moment. This will require bars not exceeding 40 × 40 mm, pre-treated with rotting. Install them approximately at a distance of one meter from each other, so that the engineered floors do not bend.
If for the insulation use loose material, the lag is not required. It will be necessary to install beacons for pouring cement screed.
Here, any roll materials, for example, mineral wool or polystyrene foam, can be used. But you can use loose fillers.
In any case, they need to be packed in a dense layer. Then another row of waterproofing, and then there is the turn of the flooring.
For such work, you can use bakelite plywood, particle board, gypsum board or OSB plate with a thickness of at least 15-20 mm. It will be safer to put them in two layers so that the seams of the lower row overlap with the top slabs. This minimizes the possibility of cold bridges.
Alternative insulation options
With small losses of heat from the floor, you can use simpler methods. At the same time, floor materials with a low thermal conductivity index are used. The easiest way out is laying the carpet.
The greatest insulating qualities are the products with natural wool and long nap. You can also lay a marmoleum or linoleum with a warm substrate – jute or felt. In the same way, it is possible to insulate floors with subsequent finishing with a laminate, laying under it a thicker cork substrate. The tree is already warm, but for residents of the ground floor this option can be taken as a note.
Thus, to keep floors even in winter at a pleasant temperature, it is not necessary to lay low-circuit heating systems. Of course, this is very convenient, and in such cases, no additional thermal insulation for the warm floor is required. But this is a more expensive option, and it will not be affordable for everyone. Moreover, in most cases, modern floor materials are sufficient to create a comfortable warm floor.