Rugs and underfloor heating?

If you are thinking about installing underfloor heating for your home but are wondering if you can put a rug or a rug on it, the answer is that yes, you can. However, there are a few factors to consider before you make a final decision.

Underfloor heating and rug basics 


Underfloor heating allows you to enjoy the ultimate comfort of a warm and inviting home, without the need for bulky radiators or vents.

Let's take a look at a few different features of underfloor heating: how it can be combined with rugs, and what benefits it can bring to your home or workplace.

How does underfloor heating work?

Underfloor heating systems are a popular choice for homeowners looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to heat their home. Unlike conventional heating systems such as radiators or central heating, underfloor heating distributes heat evenly throughout a room.

So how does underfloor heating work exactly? It's actually quite a simple process. Either hot water spreads through pipes, or electricity is distributed through electric mats under the flooring. This heats up the floor first, which in turn radiates heat slowly and evenly throughout the room.

Even warmth through underfloor heating Even warmth through underfloor heating

This heating system has a number of advantages:

  • One of the main advantages of underfloor heating is its low energy consumption. Because it heats a large area evenly, it uses less energy than conventional heating systems, which can be wasteful.
  • It is also quiet and gives off heat without the noise that can come from conventional radiators or radiators.
  • Underfloor heating systems are also popular because they are easy to maintain, the temperature can be controlled consistently and, unlike conventional heating systems, they are not visible in interior settings.
  • They are also often cheaper to install than other heating systems, making them an attractive option for homeowners looking to save money.
  • Because underfloor heating is panel heating, the whole room is heated evenly from the floor, whereas a wall radiator would provide only one source of heat.
Underfloor heating Underfloor heating

The higher the floor construction above the panel heating, the more energy is needed for the heat to reach the room. But don't worry, we have some tips on how you can combine underfloor heating and a rug for maximum energy efficiency and comfort.

Can heat get through rugs?

Rug and underfloor heating Rug and underfloor heating

The question of whether the heat generated by underfloor heating can get through a rug is a popular one. Homeowners are understandably concerned about the effects of heat on their rugs, especially if they have invested in high quality home textiles that are meant to last.

Whilst it's true that a rug is a light insulating layer, a sheepskin rug will always feel warm, with or without underfloor heating, simply because of the natural material. Another piece of good news is that the heat generated by the underfloor heating can come through a rug. The heat from the underfloor heating is partly absorbed by rugs, which, in turn, slowly release the heat into the air.

To better understand how this works, it is helpful to take a look at thermal resistance:


Thermal resistance [R] =

Thickness of the material [d] / thermal conductivity [ λ]

The thermal conductivity λ of sheep wool is between 0.035 and 0.045 Watt per metre and Kelvin. Depending on the thickness of the rug, this therefore results in the thermal resistance of the floor layer.

The thermal resistance or heat transfer resistance R indicates how well a material insulates against heat. It is measured in watts per square metre and Kelvin (m²K/W). A large value means an excellent insulating effect, a small value indicates a poor one. If the thermal resistance increases, the thermal insulation property also increases.

How long it takes heat energy to move through a certain material depends on the material. To ensure good heat transfer, the floor covering must have a low thermal resistance.

Faustregel Faustregel

Als As a rule of thumb, experts recommend a maximum value of 0.15 m²K/W. This applies to all floor coverings placed above an underfloor heating system. If several floor layers are combined, like a rug on top of laminated flooring or impact sound insulation underneath, all of these values must simply be added together.

This number will then result in the so-called U-value or heat transfer coefficient (for which, strictly speaking, the heat transfer resistances of the adjacent outside and inside air are also added.

If you consider thermal resistance, it becomes clear that the choice of floor covering decides what performance your underfloor heating must provide. Floor professionals can already take the floor structure into account before the start of construction and can calculate how many heating loops, with which output, are required.

Once your floor covering is ready and you are working on the details of your interior design, it is advisable to place rugs selectively and to make sure that enough floor space remains free. This way, the warming effect of the heating is barely affected, and you ensure that each rug creates an attractive highlight.

Factors influencing the choice of rug with underfloor heating

The combination of rugs and underfloor heating is one of the most popular ways to achieve a perfect balance between warmth and style. However, before making your decision, you should consider some important factors. The floor covering, the rug material as well as the density and thickness of the rug all play a role in making your underfloor heating as efficient as possible.

The right floor covering for underfloor heating The right floor covering for underfloor heating

Floor covering for underfloor heating

In principle, almost every floor covering is suitable for underfloor heating nowadays, also in combination with a rug should be a possibility. Of course, some are more suitable than others due to their higher heat transfer capacity. We have taken a look at some popular options for you, with focus on natural products:

Tiles and underfloor heating Tiles and underfloor heating
Tiles and underfloor heating Tiles and underfloor heating
Tiles and underfloor heating Tiles and underfloor heating

Stone floor or tiled floor with underfloor heating:

Whether in the entrance area or in the bathroom, tiles can be found in almost every home. They are elegant and usually cooler in temperature underfoot. Nevertheless, they are perfect for underfloor heating. This is because natural stones or even ceramics have a low thermal resistance and a large part of the warmth reaches the surface of the floor. A rug on top of such flooring is therefore not a problem. In combination with a rug made of sheep wool, you can give your feet an extra treat.

Material Thickness Heat transmission
Ceramic tiles 13 mm 0,012 m²K/W
Stone tiles 20 mm 0,017 m²K/W


Laminate flooring or wooden flooring with underfloor heating:

Wood and laminate are somewhat more difficult in combination with underfloor heating and a rug - but not impossible options. However, pay attention to the manufacturer's notes regarding suitability factors, especially with laminate flooring. If the flooring is suitable, there are just a few things to keep in mind when making your final decision.

For instance, since wood is a "living" material, it expands when it gets warm and also tends to deform when it gets too hot. Therefore, the rule is to avoid heat or heat build-up. The best way to do this is with a short pile rug or flat-woven rugs with a low pile density. This way, the heat can be ideally released into the room and does not accumulate between the floor and the rug.

Material Thickness Heat transmission
Laminate 9 mm 0,044 m²K/W


Parquet flooring and underfloor heating Parquet flooring and underfloor heating
Laminatboden und Fußbodenheizung Laminatboden und Fußbodenheizung
Cork flooring and underfloor heating Cork flooring and underfloor heating

Cork flooring with underfloor heating

Warm underfoot and easy on the joints - cork as a floor covering is certainly a good choice. The reason lies within its structure: millions of cells filled with air provide perfect thermal insulation. In connection with underfloor heating, however, one thing should certainly be kept in mind: cork is only compatible with hot water underfloor heating. The temperatures in an electric underfloor heating system become too hot too quickly. Cork cannot adjust to the new temperatures so quickly and cracks can occur. This natural material is obtained in a particularly sustainable way from the bark of cork oak trees. These trees regenerate about every nine years and can be peeled again

Material Thickness Heat transmission
Cork flooring 11 mm 0,129 m²K/W


Linoleum compared to vinyl and PVC flooring

All three flooring options belong to the so-called resilient floors and offer several advantages. They are easy to clean, slip-resistant, hard-wearing as well as gentle on the joints and warm underfoot.

The biggest difference between the three is that PVC and vinyl are made of the plastic polyvinyl chloride. Vinyl, which is usually laid in the form of rectangular individual elements, is slightly higher quality than PVC from a roll.

Linoleum, on the other hand, is not made of plastic but of organic and mineral materials and is therefore biodegradable and a genuine natural product. In addition to linseed oil, linoleum contains more than 80 % natural raw materials such as cork, limestone, jute or resin. However, this only applies to classic linoleum floors and not to those that have a decorative layer, for example.

Material Thickness Heat transmission
Vinyl 3 mm 0,015 m²K/W
PVC 2 mm 0,010 m²K/W
Linoleum 2,5 mm 0,015 m²K/W
Vinyl flooring and underfloor heating Vinyl flooring and underfloor heating
underfloor heating underfloor heating
PVC-Boden und Fußbodenheizung PVC-Boden und Fußbodenheizung

Rug material

Not all rug are the same. Whilst a fitted rug spreads over the entire living space, a rug covers only a partial area of the floor and usually does not significantly affect the heat output of the underfloor heating.

Flat rugs with a low pile density made of natural materials and an unsealed backing are ideal for underfloor heating. Our FELICE rugs are made of 100% unsealed sheep wool and make a good choice in combination with underfloor heating.

Here are three things to look for when choosing a rug.

rug material rug material
sheep wool sheep wool

1. Toxic gases

Due to the underfloor heating, the rug is exposed to temperature fluctuations and higher temperatures. The fibres must therefore not emit any toxic vapours or gases into indoor air. Therefore, inform yourself well in advance with the manufacturer or dealer whether your rug is generally suitable for underfloor heating.


Sheep wool does not release any gases, on the contrary: by nature, sheep wool can even filter air-borne toxins such as formaldehyde. A rug made of this natural product is therefore not only a real eye-catcher, but also good for your indoor air.

Back rug Back rug

2. Sealed backs

If the back of the rug is sealed, there is a possibility that it will become brittle and fragile due to constant heating and the resulting stresses. This permanent stress on the material can contribute to a reduction in the life of the rug.

Find out in advance if the rug is suitable for you and your requirements or go for an unsealed one.

Anti-rust mat rug Anti-rust mat rug

3. Caution when choosing the anti-slip mat

Due to the warmth of underfloor heating, there are also a few things to look for when choosing an anti-slip mat. For example, it should be made without PVC or acrylic adhesive.

The reason why is simple. The heat can cause harmful plasticisers to be released and enter the room air. In addition, adhesive residues can remain on the floor, and the mat can lose its purpose over time as it becomes brittle and fragile.

Our recommendation:

The high-quality anti-slip mats from Luxertonare suitable for almost any floor covering. They are free of plasticisers, environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable.

The thickness and density of a rug

Whether your rug is suitable for underfloor heating depends mainly on two factors:

  • How thick or thin is your rug?
  • What is its pile density?

There are two basic rules for rugs:

Auf Dicke und Dichte des Teppichs achten Auf Dicke und Dichte des Teppichs achten
  1. The shorter the pile, the more suitable it is for transferring heat. Short pile rugs and flat woven rugs have a lower thermal resistance than high pile rugs do. This is because they tend to be thinner and let heat through more easily.
  2. The lower the density of the pile, the easier it is for heat to pass through the rug. Heat build-up between the floor and rug is thus prevented.

Jute and sisal are therefore particularly suitable materials. Woven rugs made of sheep wool are somewhat thicker, but usually not deep pile, which means that they can let heat through, store some it and will feel cosy underfoot. These properties make such rugs the perfect choice for your underfloor heating and for your home.

Pure wool rugs with underfloor heating

Do you want to give your wooden, tiled, etc., flooring a cosy finishing touch? Our beautiful selection of rug would be a perfect choice. Even if you don't know exactly which colour or which weave to choose, then we will gladly send you up to four free rug samples to help you decide what looks best. Most importantly, it should look and feel like home to you.