Can cork or bamboo flooring be used over a radiant flooring system?


Can cork or bamboo flooring be used over a radiant flooring system?

Asked by Polly Dawson

The radiant tubes would be separated by plywood. The new floor would replace a vinyl flooring. We live in NH with 4-5 months of snow coming in on shoes! Would the heat from the radiant heat or the wetness from the snow hurt the floors.

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From my experience, radiant heat would not affect the cork product.

There are a few vendors that actually encourage using the cork with radiant heated flooring for two reasons:

  1. as a testament to the durability of the cork and
  2. the cork helps incubate the heat in an effort to boost the energy efficiency of the cork.

Prior to purchase and installation, I would advise inquiring with vendor about the durability of the cork with respect to the radiant heat and read as much information on the flooring or more products & its performance with cork.

The perception in radiant flooring sometimes is that radiant heat is a fast response heating system but it is based on steady radiation from a thermal mass, which is the tubes.

Always protect the cork or look into a product that can withstand wetness of a drop zone or mud room in your homes. Weatherization is always a keen consideration in flooring in an area that is susceptible to potentially extreme conditions.

For more information:

Read "We are considering radiant heat. Will manufactured bamboo flooring stand up to the challenge?" a Q&A answered by Lily Livingston.