Working within the constraints of a listed building will be a very familiar situation for builders operating in the city of Edinburgh. Having successfully worked in a number of prestigious Edinburgh townhouses in the past, we were asked by a specialist building contractor to provide an underfloor heating solution for a large terraced property in the New Town.

Underfloor heating Edinburgh townhouse

Underfloor heating in a townhouse in Stockbridge Edinburgh

Each level of the property was to be heated with underfloor heating; no increase of floor height would be acceptable, and a mix of solid and suspended timber floors was going to be encountered between the basement and ground floors.

At basement level the existing floor was excavated during the project, which allowed for insulation to be fitted. The AmbiTak system was employed throughout this level, pipework was secured to the insulation using barbed staples. Pipework followed the ‘snail’ pattern ensuring an even spread of warmth across the floor.

Construction works in the Centre of Edinburgh

We are very conscious of the need to keep the environment clean when we carry out our screed pours. Luckily the property still retained the coach house with access to the lane behind. From this point we were able to set up our screed pump and run hoses into the basement. Taxing the patience of Edinburgh’s traffic attendants, we were able to pump six and a half cubes of anhydrite screed in just a few minutes, had a traditional sand/cement screed been applied this process would have taken many times longer.

The screed is a mix of sand, binders and clean water. It is a cement free product, therefore much easier on the environment. As it is liquid when applied, the screed can envelope the pipework, increasing the surface area to emit heat into the floor. Laboratory tests indicate that anhydrite floors warm up 30% faster than sand/cement floors as a result.

Elsewhere in the property we encountered joists- serious pieces of timber! The existing floorboards were lifted to expose the joists; typically these were centred at 18” (give or take a bit.) To cope with the slightly wider joist centres, aluminium heat diffusing plates were manufactured to suit. This reduced the need to carry out additional joinery work in getting the plates to fit.

As underfloor heating manifolds would look out of place in such an environment we went to great lengths to ensure these were concealed, but still accessible. When the manifold for the ground floor proved too long for its intended housing we provided two shorter ones stacked one above the other.

Underfloor heating combined with cast iron radiators in Edinburgh

Underfloor heating combined with cast iron radiators

On each landing throughout the property beautiful cast iron radiators have been installed- these have been connected into the same manifolds as the underfloor heating. We supply 15mm adaptors to take industry standard plumbing pipe; each radiator in the property can be controlled individually, preventing the wasteful habit of heating the whole house when only part of the house is occupied.

The whole project has been a great example of a 19th Century property with an infusion of 21st Century technology. Each zone is controlled by its own NEST thermostat, allowing the homeowner to monitor and adjust the temperature from their smart phone or tablet, from anywhere in the world. 

Underfloor heating Edinburgh townhouse