Can You Put Rugs Over Radiant Floor Heating?

Having rugs make a space feel cozier and more welcoming. However, if you have radiant floor heating, will putting rugs over them be a wise choice? Will they trap heat and eventually warp your floorboards? What are your options? We have researched answers so that you will avoid problems later.

Putting synthetic rugs over heated floors is not a wise choice. Synthetic rugs cause damage, especially with engineered wood. Most woods have a heat limit, and the surfaces will warp if exceeded.

If you intend to put rugs over heated floors, you should only put rugs made with natural fibers, which are typically more resistant to heat. This principle applies to all types of heated floors.

Before you head on and purchase that cute rug you saw, you should consider whether it's wise to layer it over your heated floors. Keep reading below as we delve into the essential factors to consider when putting rugs onto heated floors to avoid accidents and repairs in the future. Let's begin!

Special Rug, Carpet, Seat on the Carpet. - Can You Put Rugs Over Radiant Floor Heating


Should You Put Rugs Over Radiant Floor Heating?

It is possible to put rugs over floors with radiant floor heating, but only if the rugs won't trap the heat within the floor. Generally, it is not advisable, especially if your flooring is made of wood or laminate.

Women's feet in socks put on house slippers. Warm feet

The synthetic material can insulate the heat within the subfloor, making it more difficult for the heater to escape and heat the surface. This will eventually cause your floors to warp and break since they won't be able to handle too much heat.

The warping is caused by the molecules expanding as it reacts with heat, so choosing the right rug material is essential.

Choosing Rugs For Heated Floors

Choosing the right rugs is essential to ensure your heated floors' structural integrity.

Even though it may be tempting to choose rugs simply for their aesthetic value: you should consider several things before deeming them right for your home.

That's especially true if you have electrical floor heating.

Although Hydronic underfloor heating can be more forgiving, it is still better to choose rugs that have high-quality and light material.

That's not only for your floor's structure but also for the home's general energy efficiency.

Below are things you need to consider before purchasing a rug for your home.

Modern fireplace in interior of living room

Fabric Material

Generally, the rug material determines whether it fits to be installed on your heated floors. Choose rugs made with natural fibers, namely silk, wool, or hessian.

These materials won't trap heat in one spot within your home since they release the heat from within the subfloor easily.

Aside from functionality, natural fibers rarely get misshapen. They last longer than synthetic rugs, and they look more aesthetically pleasing. The quality is top-notch, and your space will look effortlessly luxurious.

Natural fibers such as wool are also more stain-resistant, which is ideal if you want a more low-maintenance but classic option.

Check out this hand-knotted silk rug on Amazon.


Although it may be tempting to choose thick rugs because you have the incorrect notion that thicker carpets are better, they will do more harm than good when put above underfloor heating.

When you buy rugs, look for ones that are no thicker than 25mm. It should also have a tog rating below 2.5 to ensure that the heat won't have difficulty escaping to heat the surfaces.

You should ask for a carpet or rug with low thermal resistance. Having a thick synthetic rug will not do you any good, and at worst, it may damage your floors.


Open space living room interior with geometric carpet and dining area with barstools and white bin

Installing large rugs will make it more difficult for your underfloor heating to distribute heat. Although it may look cozy, it won't be wise to do this since it can negatively affect functionality.

It is better to opt for medium-sized rugs that you can treat as accent decor instead of an extra-large one that covers the entire expanse of your surface.

If the heat cannot reach you, your heating will need to work harder. If it works harder than necessary, you will face higher utility bills and possible heater and floor damage.


As with all home fixtures and decor, choosing the right location is crucial, especially if heating is involved.

You should avoid surfaces that get hit directly by the sun, even if it's only during a specific time of the day. This is not advisable, especially if the rugs are not 100% natural.

Since heat can come from all sides and cause the floor to break or the entire system to get damaged.

If the living room gets lots of natural light, opt for the bedroom instead or a sitting area that doesn't get a lot of sun.

Knotted Vs. Tufted Rug: Which Is Better For Underfloor Heating?

Although tufted rugs are made with natural fibers, it is best to opt for knotted rugs. Heat can easily be distributed by hand-knotted rugs, regardless if the material is made of Persian silk or wool.

However, you need to ensure that the rug has a thin pile since the material will matter less if there’s resistance from the pile.

Aside from knotted rugs’ compatibility with underfloor heating, having natural knotted rugs will also mean less time for you to deal with dust and dirt.

This is ideal if you suffer from allergies and do not want to vacuum often.

Types Of Underfloor Heating

Knowing the other types of underfloor heating will give you a better idea of how it works when there's a rug layered over it.

You can also weigh if your current heating is enough for you or if you need to change it to make your home more energy-efficient.

If you do not have underfloor heating yet and are still figuring out the do's and don'ts of having one, we have elaborated on the two types of underfloor heating below.

Electric Underfloor Heating

Electric underfloor heating comprises a network of electric conductors that direct heat to the floor’s surface using thermal energy. The radiant heat comes from electrical resistance.

This floor heating system is relatively easy to install, which is why they are more common among homes. You can install it yourself if you have experienced enough, lowering the overall cost.

This type of heating is also generally more low-maintenance and is best for renovation projects. However, note that they require a deep layer of concrete to avoid repairs and hassle later.

Hydronic Underfloor Heating

Construction of house. Tubing are elements of radiant floor heating system

Hydronic floor heating needs a boiler to function. It is comprised of pipes through the subfloor. The heated water provides radiant heat to your surface, warming your home.

Unlike electric floor heating, this system should only be installed in a newly-built space. You should also never attempt to do it yourself; you need to hire a licensed specialist to have them install this system.

Layering rugs on a floor with Hydronic heating will have little effect, but it is still best to go for the most energy-efficient option.

This system generally requires more maintenance than electric heating, which would need you to shell out more money after installation.

Which Is Better: Electric Or Hydronic Heating?

Electrical heating is a better option if your priority has a low-maintenance and affordable option. Electric heaters are also easier and faster to install.

However, hydronic heaters heat faster and cool down slower, which means they may be more energy-efficient.

They are also less influenced by the changes outside the subfloor, whether you layer carpeting on the outer surface.

Ultimately, the best one depends on your priorities and preferences. You should be able to balance costs with comfort for your home seamlessly.

Our Final Thoughts

Having radiant floor heating makes your home comfortable, and having carpets layered over increases the cozy atmosphere of your space.

However, they are not always compatible depending on the carpet's material and the type of heating you have. It's important to factor in essential things before you combine rugs and heating.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related posts!

What Size Rug To Layer Over A 9X12 Rug?

What Size Area Rug For Living Room?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *