Our programme of research delivers a major portfolio of reports and practical guides

Underfloor Heating – a guide for house builders



Underfloor heating can have design, comfort and economic advantages, and so it is not surprising that its use in new build homes has increased in recent years. This guide sets out good practice guidance for those house builders and designers who are less experienced in underfloor heating but may be considering its use.


The guidance draws on design insights from BSRIA and NHBC’s practical experience of underfloor heating installed in new homes, and highlights the key considerations during the design, installation and handover of ‘wet’ underfloor heating systems.By following the guidance, designers and builders can ensure that the performance of installed systems meet consumer expectations and provide trouble-free, convenient and efficient heating as part of the overall building services equipment installation within homes.

Summary of content


Explaining underfloor heating, how it works, its contribution to energy efficiency and its benefits, including:

  • Compatibility with low temperature heat sources, such as condensing boilers and low carbon heat pump technologies
  • Delivering stable/constant temperatures for occupants
  • Delivering comfortable temperature profiles in rooms
  • Allowing flexibility in interior design of rooms
  • Safety: no hot surfaces which might injure children or the elderly
  • Maintenance: underfloor heating systems are designed for easy maintenance.

Key considerations

Describes the key components of an underfloor heating system and the main steps in the installation of systems in timber floors and concrete floors.

Heat source

Explains the heat sources that can be used with underfloor heating and considerations for each, including gas, oil and biomass boilers, heat pumps and community heating systems. Considers how systems deliver heating and hot water.

System distribution

Includes guidance on the following:

  • Primary pipework
  • Manifold assemblies
  • Location of manifolds
  • Maintaining water flow
  • Preventing leaks
  • Secure fixing
  • Insulation around manifolds
  • Labelling of manifolds

The floor as a heat emitter

Making sure that the underfloor heating is effective. This section includes guidance on:

  • Layout of pipework loops
  • Heat output of emitter/floor
  • Insulating the floor


Includes guidance and illustrations for concrete, timber, floating and acoustic floors.

Programmers and controls

This section explains the Building Regulations guidance for controls and gives guidance on the using controls and settings for programmers.


How to pressure test the installation and inspect for quality of installation.

Commissioning and maintenance

Includes notes on water treatment and maintenance checks of the manifolds.


An introduction to what should be included in handover material/user guidance for residents and home owners.