Industrial and commercial underfloor heating floor construction differs from domestic underfloor heating (UFH) in that it is required to be superior in strength, depth, and durability. In an industrial or commercial construction, traditional heating can often lead to wasted energy. The ceiling is often heated long before the ground level, and large open doors often lead to loss of convection heat, whereas underfloor heating-generates radiant heat maintains the room temperature. Generally, commercial or industrial flooring is constructed in a single pour slab form. A single pour slab is a heavy duty flooring component created with a thick concrete floor layer which increases the thermal mass of the construction, making it suited to industrial or commercial buildings which require constant heating, possibly to a relatively low temperature. Single pour slab flooring is not advisable for settings wherein the temperature is required to alter regularly.
Underfloor Heating Benefits in a Commercial and Industrial Setting
For commercial heating or industrial heating, an underfloor heating system is often considered superior to more traditional heating methods for a variety of reasons:
- Energy costs are reduced
- Floor space is saved, maximising usability of the building
- Low upfront costs
- Floor heat of the required 18C is easily maintained
- A lower temperature water supply used in conjunction with a heat pump
- Maintenance free heating
- Clean air due to lack of dust circulation in the warehouse, storeroom, or showroom
Construction of Single Pour Slab with Underfloor Heating
The underfloor heating (UFH) pipework is attached to a loose-laid, reinforcing steel wire mesh which is then positioned above a layer of 75mm minimum flooring grade rigid insulation which prevents any downward escape of the heat. Where mesh is not used, pipework can be fixed using traditional pipe clip rail. The insulation ought to be of high compressive strength and moisture resistance. Products such as XPS or Foamglass are recommendable. The mesh, with pipework attached, is then raised and supported on 50mm blocks or spacers as the concrete is poured over and around the combined materials, eventually encasing the mesh and pipework to form the slab. Because the concrete forms a structural slab, it should be sufficiently thick that the pipes are safely distant from the surface of the floor (150mm or otherwise, depending upon local planning regulations). Therefore, any fixtures to be added to the floor by drilling or screwing should not cause damage to or otherwise disrupt the UFH system within.