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Should I consider underfloor heating as standard in new builds

  • 11-04-2023 11:13am
    Registered Users Posts: 40

    Hey folks,

    We are in the process of buying a 4-bed semi-d in a new development. We saw a few developments where they're installing underfloor heating, mechanical heat extraction ventilation, bathroom tiling, branded sanitary wear and oak-finished doors as standard. But dropped them as the house in one of the development was very close to Motorway where the road noise was very loud and another was close to a cement factory.

    The one we are finally considering doesn't have underfloor heating, demand control ventilation (it's just mechanical ventilation in wet rooms with trickle vents), no bathroom tiling, cheap sanitary wear and doors, and ironmongery. But the location is excellent and it's not close to any industrial area or major roads.

    All these houses have the same built-up area, and they are all BER A2 with Air to Water heat pumps. Houses with UHF are priced 15-25K higher. I'm trying to understand

    • how standard is underfloor heating in the new builds?
    • Are UHF just marginally superior to radiators or they are worth that extra money?
    • Do radiators provide sufficient heating/convenience as UHF?
    • Is it worth spending extra on the nicer finish with UHF and slightly better ventilation, compromising on the location?

    I know sanitary wear, doors and ironmongery are cosmetics and they can be upgraded as per my choice. Also, I know it's always a compromise between location vs finish. as it's very hard to tick every single box. Hope I get some input to clear my mind.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,975 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    My own 2c as someone who is not an expert in construction:

    The majority of new builds have UFH. The rationale is that a larger surface area requires a lower water temperature from the heat pump to heat the space. This makes the heat pump more efficient and lower energy costs.

    Conversely, a smaller surface area means higher temps and higher running costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,094 ✭✭✭witchgirl26

    So we bought a new build 5 years ago & there was no UFH. There is more development both in my estate & around me & none of them have UFH.

    UFH is great but only if you ensure no clutter on the floor. Sounds easy but with kids not always the case. My brother put UFH in his house & has regretted it because of that. Honestly radiators heat our house fine & with the energy rating & the heat pump, house stays pretty warm.

    My opinion would be not to compromise on location. It's the one thing that you can't change about a house without moving.

  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭mike_2009

    Two friends bought houses this year and both have Rads, no underfloor so it's not as standard as I would have thought.

    UFH is better in my opinion as there are no draughts and I've heard that it gives off a nicer heat, more even temps compared to convective radiators.

    Rads are fine, do the job, well known and any plumber can diagnose and fix. Any UFH heating issues needs more expert attention but as time goes by more will learn the necessary skills. The Rads just take up space as indicated. Plus they can't cool. UFH can cool, to a limited degree depending on model.

    Location, location, location!

  • Registered Users Posts: 40 mitra

    Thanks folks for that! Even i have noticed not all new build have UHF. I presume the new airtight buildings don’t need to run the rads at very high temperatures to maintain a comfortable environment as there would very minimal or no droughts in these buildings?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭Field east

    Would you hear the traffic if you have triple glazed windows? Would it be just white noise - which one can get used to. Any chance of you staying in a house near a motorway for a nite or two . Have you ever stayed in hotels /B and Bs’ and did you notice the traffic. White noise can be useful as it drowns out other types of low decibel noise. The heat extraction/ ventilation system also helps as that has to have the house pretty airtight in order to work efficiently. I am not a ‘seasoned expert) in this area - just based on my experience

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  • Registered Users Posts: 277 ✭✭Guildenstern

    UFH is still very much not the norm in new developments or am I very much mistaken? Admittedly it was just pre COVID when I last looked at new houses so appreciate things may have moved on in those 3 years.

    I thought it was marketed as a high end add on rather than the norm though appreciate it will slowly more become the norm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 40 mitra

    The house was under construction, so I wouldn't know. but definitely, I could hear outside. I felt like it was more than just white noise. The motorway is just under 90 meters from the house being constructed. Though it may not be audible inside the house, I'll never be able to enjoy the back garden. I'm an outdoor person and I enjoy a bit of gardening and spending my time in the garden during the summer months. The price of the house was close to half a million so I thought' it isn't worth the investment if I can't really make proper use of the garden space

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,094 ✭✭✭witchgirl26

    OP you would be amazed how quickly you just don't hear the sounds after a while. I grew up under a flight path to Dublin airport on the north side of the city. And beside a main road where there was a hospital nearby. Most people who came over noticed the planes going overhead & the sirens but honestly I never did. I barely even now when I go back to visit my mam. Noises like that fade into the background overtime. (Although just going to say, the people in north dublin under the new flight paths I totally get their issue as the planes are so low so different scenario). Ask someone who lives near a train line or busy roads. You'll hear it but after a while it will all become background noise that you probably barely notice unless it's louder than it normally is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 40 mitra

    Surprisingly most of the new houses I have seen in Cork & a few in Galway & Limerick had UFH. But very few in Kildare & the Dublin Commuter belt had them. The big builders don't seem to care about it. Considering the astronomical prices of the new houses, it shouldn't cost substantial money to put UHF vs radiators, in terms of equipment cost. Maybe UHF is a bit expensive in terms of labour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 40 mitra

    Even I thought the same. I have lived in a busy metro city where road noise was constant, so I know how it feels like. But my partner was not okay with it, so had to drop the plan.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 332 ✭✭Exiled1

    Take an old fools advice. I have lived within 25 metres of a very busy main road for donkeys years. Outside, the traffic noise is significant and I can hear it from the back of a long garden if I strain to hear. I too am an avid gardener.

    It is the smallest inconvenience of my life.

    On the other hand my house is a nineties build with all the insulation, solar, etc fitted to improve it. It will never be up to scratch no matter how much I try to retrofit and how much I am prepared to pay.

    Go for the house with all the bells and whistles and you will soon ignore the relatively distant sound of traffic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,705 ✭✭✭irelandrover

    I grew up beside an airport and never noticed the noise. My dad never got used to the sound, it always bothered him after moving there and he lived there 30 years. I wouldn't buy a house beside a motorway expecting to get used to the noise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭Bracken81

    UFH is phenomenal in Bathrooms, I'd recommend it for any Bathroom/En-Suite............I wouldn't be a big fan of them to whole ground floor areas or kitchens, Can make the Kitchen unbearably warm at times

    Plus the biggest concern with UFH systems is maintenance, anything goes wrong with the system and you will be Tiling/Laminating the floors again

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,094 ✭✭✭witchgirl26

    I just wouldn't let it put me off my dream house. If the house I loved & wanted was beside a motorway, I'd still go for it. Plus most motorways in Ireland aren't that bad except for rush hour so shouldn't be too noisy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,094 ✭✭✭witchgirl26

    That's far enough then. If your partner is dead set against it, then that is somewhat decision made?