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Radiators versus Underfloor Heating

Updated 11th September 2018

If you don't like walking on cold tiles, if you don't like your wall space cluttered by ugly radiators, if you don't like draughts and want your house to be cosy warm throughout then underfloor heating is the way to go.

I don't have underfloor heating installed but I wish I did!

I live in a bungalow with tiled kitchen, utility room and bathrooms. Here are the things that I don't like about my radiators which underfloor heating could improve on:

Hot Head and Cold Feet

People often go for radiators because radiators get hot fast. However all this heat goes straight up to the ceiling. Your ceiling will be roasting while you wait a long time for the air at the bottom half of the room to warm up.

  • The bottom half of a room and the floor will be the last place that will warm up and the first place to cool down.
  • Radiators will give you a blast of stuffy heat at head height while the bottom half of your body will still feel uncomfortably cool.
  • The part of your room where the radiator is located will be uncomfortably overheated while other parts will struggle to get warm.
  • While you're sitting in front of TV, most of the heat will rise up from the radiator to the ceiling above you.
  • Radiators cause the air in a room to move around giving you a cooling draught on your feet and legs.
  • In winter groundfloor tiles will be very cold on bare and socked feet. You will need to invest in slippers and try to remember where you last left them!
  • You have to put down unhygienic mats for your bathroom floor because the tiles are too cold for bare feet while brushing your teeth.
  • Children and babies will get cold playing and crawling on tiled floor - need to get insulating play mats.
  • If for some reason you need to get down onto a tiled floor during the winter it will not be pleasant.
  • It is impossible to precisely regulate the temperature of individual rooms with radiators.

    Goddamn Ugly

    Nobody ever complements my radiators:
  • Radiators clutter rooms - standard radiators only take away from the look of a nice room.
  • Plumbers are now using flexible plastic piping which dosen't come straight out of the floor and looks wonky!
  • You have to cut holes through your nice flooring for the pipes.
  • Not used for half the year but you still have to look at them winter and summer.
  • Curtains won't draw properly over them and if you don't have full lengh curtains then the ugly bottom of the radiator will be visible sticking out.
  • Radiators gradually go off colour, get scratched, dented and rusty.
  • Impossible to touch up a radiator properly - I've tried and failed.
  • When you paint a wall a nice colour this only acts to highlight an ugly radiator even more.

    Get in the Way

  • You lose a lot of wall space - radiators reduce and restrict the places where you can put shelving and presses.
  • Pictures and shelves get damaged from hot air rising.
  • They makes it much more difficult to paint the walls and skirting boards.
  • It's difficult to vacuum and mop behind pipes sticking out of floor.
  • They gather dust which is difficult to clean properly.
  • Children can be burned by hot radiators.
  • Children and adults bang into hard edged radiators and stub toes against pipes.

    Damp

  • Tiled floors take longer to dry after mopping.
  • Door mats and hallways take longer to dry from wet shoes.
  • Clothes take longer to dry on clotheshorses.
  • Wet shoes take forever to dry.

    So in summary radiators are bad at heating rooms and look terrible! If I had the choice between radiators versus underfloor heating I would definitely give underfloor heating a try. Unfortunately I have decades of non-cosy heating ahead of me and a houseful of ugly radiators to look at. Underfloor will cost more to install than radiators but you will get a lot more value for money.