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Trench heating vs Underfloor heating – the consumer advice

You want your newly built home to be the envy of your family, friends and neighbours. You want the first thing your visitors to see is the architectural design and glamorous interior to stand out when people view your beautiful new property.

You may have been keen to use large glazed facades and/or French doors which are highly favoured by architects and interior designers. A superior home with beautiful interior should also have a designer heating system which is effective and discrete.

In a modern open spaced architectural building with contemporary glazed facades wall space for heating is scarce, there are usually issues that arise from having glazed facades especially with situating where heating emitters and radiators should and can go to make the interior aesthetically pleasing.

Due to modern architecture your plumber would recommend either a wet system like trench heating or an entire underfloor heating system. Both systems have their pros and cons, but also very few people are aware that those systems could be combined and will work effectively together.

In this article Verano will highlight the pros and cons and all other general problems, differences and issues that will occur with trench heating and underfloor heating.

Trench heating

1) Floor finish material.

A primary factor when selecting between trench heating and underfloor heating. A wet system such as underfloor heating may be limited when choosing suitable flooring materials, you can only use flooring with good heat transferability. Suitable flooring for underfloor heating are as follow:

  • Tiles,
  • Natural stone,
  • Terracotta,
  • Or Slate.

Some investors or home owners may be concerned about a ‘cold feeling’ from these flooring materials, however please bear in mind that the underfloor heating will over compensate for this.

When considering your flooring always double check the heat transfer ratio. Wood, panels, or carpets are few and far between when using in conjunction with underfloor heating.

With trench heating you can use any finish material for your floor without any specific limits. If you prefer wooden floor, or want to use rug or carpet, you best option would be trench heating.

Trench heaters that are mounted in a floor void along French doors or patio doors would not prevent you from opening them. A trench heater is covered at the top with an end grille made from either;

  • Wood,
  • Coloured aluminium,
  • Or Stainless steel.

It is possible to colour match your trench heating grille to your floor or carpet to make it barely visible.

2) Cleanliness and maintenance.

The primary benefit related to both trench heating and underfloor heating are;

  • Discrete visibility,
  • Silent in operation.

Underfloor heating requires very little maintenance if any and also coupled with an internal cleaning feature which makes it suitable for any room especially halls, corridors etc.

Large glazed facades and French/patio doors are extremely popular for modern contemporary architecture, it also generates many issues when placing heating systems in residential homes and apartments. Those full glazed facades look elegant and glamorous, however even if double or even triple glazed, some may feel unpleasantly cold with a downdraught effect coming from it, In the summer overheating from the sunshine operating through the glass can also be a problem. Trench heating can resolve these issues when assembled along those large glazed facades, hey also remove unpleasant condensation which can accumulate on the glass.

During summertime the trench heaters can be covered and protected against dust with a special cover, during the cold seasons when they operate normally, all grilles should remain uncovered, as this would result in producing less heating output than specified.


Both wet systems (heating emitters) – underfloor and trench heating have their pros and cons, our best recommendation is using them both for one heating system – for example using underfloor heating in a hall and kitchen, yet placing trench heaters in a living room and bedrooms. This will guarantee the most effective usage of your living space but will maximise your heating around your home and reduce running costs.