Key trends in the UK underfloor heating market

Key trends in the UK underfloor heating market

After recovering well from the challenging economic conditions seen in recent years, the UK underfloor heating (UFH) market has continued to grow steadily, with growth of 9% in 2014 and a further 4% in 2015, and is now estimated to account for around 6.5% of the total UK heating market. Wet underfloor heating accounts for the largest share with electric UFH a relatively small market in value terms.

Underfloor heating market by value

Whereas UFH products were once potentially seen as more specialist and a luxury investment within the domestic sector, these products have now become more mainstream and UFH currently represents one of the fastest growing areas within the UK heating market. Environmental concerns and rising energy bills have been partly responsible for driving demand, as well as wider acceptance of these more aspirational products.

An array of product innovations has also made UFH systems easier to install, broadening their appeal for the retrofit market. This includes systems, both wet and electric, which can be laid over existing floors, thereby minimising disruption and speeding up installation. Low profile UFH options are now widely available, which reduce the impact on floor height, enabling greater flexibility.

The domestic UFH sector, including new build activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI / DIY retrofit projects in residential homes, accounts for the largest share of the market by value, though the use of UFH also remains strong in the non-domestic sector.

Underfloor heating market by application

Compared to previous research, trade estimates suggest that domestic UFH now represents a higher percentage share compared to non-domestic, as UFH has become more mainstream and large scale public sector health and education projects have declined. It is also considered that a high percentage of wet-based UFH is used in new build housing. Custom build housing remains a highly relevant sector for UFH and incorporates both single and group self-build homes, whether individual or developer-led.

There is a growing DIY sector for UFH, particularly in the self-build and retrofit markets, with many products now available for direct sale online. The sale of complete UFH packs as a ‘one stop solution’ has also fuelled growth, at the lower end of the market in particular.

The continuing trend towards open-plan design favours use of UFH, since it is hidden beneath the floor, with no need for wall mounting, and this is a particular benefit in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms where space may be at a premium. Hard flooring also continues to grow in popularity, with greater use of stone and timber finishes as the preferred design choice, and systems are available for use under stone and ceramic tiles as well as other flooring materials.

Prospects for continued growth in the UK underfloor heating market remain positive for 2017 and beyond, given optimism and recovery in the housing market, coupled with rising levels of consumer confidence and spending. The underfloor heating market is forecast to increase by around 15% between 2015-2020 in value terms.

Underfloor heating products are now widely marketed alongside renewable technologies and there is likely to be continued growth in this sector. Ease of installation continues to be an important issue in the construction sector, given a skills shortage and a need to reduce both build time and cost, with UFH systems suitable for installation in bathroom/kitchen PODS as well as precast concrete flooring.

The ‘Underfloor Heating Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, and is available now at or by calling 01242 235724.

Click here for more resources on the Underfloor Heating Hub

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