Thermal flooring

Thermal flooring: A beginner’s guide

Andrew ALL, Flooring Leave a Comment

Thermal flooring is becoming more and more popular in housebuilding, and more developers are looking for thermal flooring to ensure their SAP calculations are met, and efficiencies built into the new developments. Here we lay out the basics of what thermal flooring is, and why it is used.

What is thermal flooring?

thermal bridge

A thermal bridge is caused when the cool outside air penetrates the envelope of the building, and heat is lost. heat loss is measured as U-values.

Thermal flooring is a type of construction flooring used in housebuilding that is used to improve the thermal efficiency of the property. It generally consists of prestressed concrete beams spanning across the floor with the gaps being filled by EPS (expanded polystyrene) panels, which are cut to fit in between the concrete beams.

The EPS panels are available in different grades which are used depending on the requirements of the build.

These EPS panels are designed to reduce the amount of cold air getting into the property and reduce heat loss from the property.

Why is thermal flooring needed?

When a house is built, the outer envelope of the property has natural gaps where heat can escape and cold air can get into the property. These gaps are called cold-bridges (or thermal-bridges), and there are some areas of the property that are more likely to have cold-bridges, for example, the join between the floor and wall.

These cold-bridges cause the air in the house to cool which requires more heat to keep the room at an appropriate temperature. Because more heat is being used the occupants heating bill is increased and more resources are used. In certain circumstances, the cold air can also cause mould resulting in work being required to repair the property.

In the case of flooring, a cold-bridge is created by the cold air in the vented area underneath the floor seeping through the floor beams and concrete screed.

The amount of heat loss is measured by a value called the U-value (thermal transmittance). This is “the rate of transfer (in watts) of heat through a structure.”

As well as the thermal efficiency of a property, and a natural desire to save money and resources, building regulations are in place to ensure developers and housebuilders maintain a level of thermal efficiency.

This is documented in Part L of the Building Regulations, entitled ‘Conservation of fuel and power.’ Part L of the building regulations includes the SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) calculations which were brought in by the Government to assess ‘the energy and environmental performance of dwellings’.

What are the different types of thermal flooring?

Stressline EPS panel

Polystyrene is an excellent thermal insulator. The air bubbles in the EPS panels mean heat doesn’t transfer through the material and is retained in the dwelling.

The general design of thermal flooring is for the EPS panels to form a layer between the cold air, and the inside of the room. EPS panels are used because the air bubbles within polystyrene trap air and prevent the flow of heat energy. Different grades of EPS panel have different performance statistics. The main difference in the systems is effectively where and how the EPS panels sit within the structure.

We use three types of thermal flooring, basic beam and block where the floor beams have standard block infill with insulation on top, ‘topsheet’ which is insulation in between the beams and topsheet insulation over the top, and under-beam where the insulation is inter-locking underneath the floor beams.

Find out more about the three thermal flooring systems.

How is thermal flooring installed?

The best way to demonstrate how our flagship thermal flooring system is installed is by way of our video. Have a look at how we install thermal flooring.

For more information on thermal flooring explore our website or contact our flooring team – floors@stressline.net.

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