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Radiant heat and Rubio Monocoat

  • 2 min read

At Rubio Monocoat, we sometimes get asked if our hardwax oil wood finish, Oil Plus 2C, is a suitable finish for finishing a wood floor installed over a radiant heat system.

If you are considering radiant heat or already have a floor with radiant heat and are looking for a compatible wood floor finish, you are in a great place.

We will discuss the basics of radiant heat, the suitability of Oil Plus 2C, and any specific considerations during application.

About radiant heat

Many homeowners like the comfort and warm feel that radiant heat provides to a floor but not every wood floor is suitable for radiant heat.

Radiant heat is also known as hydronic heating or underfloor heating. The radiant heat system circulates heated water through tubing installed over the subfloor before the wood flooring is installed. It may also be a retrofit, where the tubing is installed under the subfloor.

A wood floor installed over radiant heat should never get warmer than 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, it typically causes undesirable and excessive shrinkage as the moisture content gets driven out by the warmth.

Each wood floor manufacturer provides specific installation recommendations for installing their flooring product over a radiant heating system. These recommendations should be adhered to strictly to avoid problems with the wood floor!

Regardless of which type of floor finish gets applied to the wood floor, the moisture content in a wood floor will always get driven out by the warmth of a radiant heat system.

Suitability of Oil Plus 2C over radiant heat

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C is very suitable for finishing wood flooring installed over a radiant heating system!

Oil Plus 2C is a non-film building product that allows the floor to “breathe” as opposed to trapping moisture in the wood floor under the finish. Therefore, it will allow a wood floorboard to acclimate more evenly to changes in the environment, keeping the flooring nice and flat. The wider the flooring planks, the more critical it is to keep the moisture content consistent.

Application considerations when applying Oil Plus 2C over radiant heat

Typically, the radiant heat system must be turned off during application of a polyurethane style finish. If not turned off or the temperature reduced, the polyurethane will flash off too quickly during application and provide a poor result.

Luckily, due to the product technology, Oil Plus 2C does not have such an issue. There is no need to adjust the radiant heat temperature before the application of Oil Plus 2C.

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