Thanks to guidelines by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), updated in 2019, flooring installers can install electric heating systems that are not embedded in the subfloor. The change opened a world of opportunities for installers, promising faster, lower-cost installs of radiant heat systems or both glued down and nailed down wood flooring. We recently spoke with Sergey Shlyapintokh, sales manager, ThermoSoft, who highlighted some of the benefits of these changes.

FCI: What’s your take on the changes that have been made to NWFA’s radiant heating specifications?

ThermoSoft's WarmStep
ThermoSoft’s WarmStep.

Shlyapintokh: The NWFA has switched the guidelines from what they were previously, especially in the radiant heat section, from what was Appendix H which was a single page, to it now being an almost 20 page document that covers 10 different hydronic and 10 different electric systems—actually 11 because some are merged together—and the various ways they can be installed.

Ultimately, what the NWFA did was at that time, they put together a very, very, very high-level overview of different applications or different systems that can be used. And they opened up the path to wood floor manufactures to start actually acknowledging these types of systems.

FCI: What challenges did these changes address?

Shlyapintokh: One of the big challenges that was in place beforehand, before the new guidelines came out, was that the wood manufactures wouldn’t even look or consider anything that wasn’t in the guidelines.

FCI: What does that mean for installers?

Shlyapintokh: The biggest impact this has had is it now really allows the installer to know that there is a way to make a system work appropriately in that application. What the NWFA did is they put the major systems that are out there that have at least one appropriate way of installing correctly, that won’t hurt the wood floors, and they took that system and they listed it. If there is a system that really isn’t designed for it, or at the time did not have a set of instructions put together for it that would result in a trouble free installation, it wasn’t listed.