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Expansion Joints and Underfloor HeatingHow to create beautiful tiled flooring that doesn’t crack under the pressure of underfloor heating

Current trends in hard flooring surfaces for modern residential homes means that there is a greater use of stone or ceramic tiled flooring in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and hallways. This coupled with the increasing popularity of underfloor heating systems poses a potential problem for architects and contractors who design and specify flooring installations.

What is the problem?

The use of underfloor heating systems causes thermal expansion and contraction of the subfloor, which is then passed on to the surface tiling. This movement causes high stress levels within the tiling and will result in unsightly cracks and/or loose tiles.

How is it solved?

We recommend the use of movement joints and a decoupling matting within the flooring installation to accommodate the movement caused by the expansion and contraction of the subfloor. A basic rule of thumb is a tiled flooring installation should not exceed 40 square metres, with no one side exceeding 8 metres in length, without a movement joint being installed. These joints allow movement to occur in all direction and distributes the stress evenly between the subfloor and floor covering.

We also recommend the use of a decoupling matting as this absorbs the pressure and movement within the subfloor caused by the underfloor heating system. The matting prevents the stresses from being passed on to the tiled surface, therefore keeping it free of cracks.


Click here for more information on our range of Movement Joints