underfloor heating, wooden floors & noise

I am a leaseholder in a house where the leaseholders all have a share in, and are directors of, the freehold company. I have had a lot of problems over noise from the upstairs neighbour who installed wooden floors despite my telling him (I am secretary of the company) this contravened the lease, which demands close carpeting in all areas except bathroom and WC). A lot of noise comes through. He just ignored what I said and theatened to make as much noise as ne could if I complained about noise again. (I had had no such problems with the previous owners who did have carpet down).

He now wants to sell his flat and the freehold company has told him that he needs to install carpet before selling, to comply with the lease. Only then did he tetll us that he has installed underfloor heating which he thought needed a wooden floor to work properly. This made him reluctant to agree to lay carpet, he said, but now he has found out that underfloor heating CAN work with carpet and has agreed to lay down carpet before selling.

I am sceptical that his underfloor heating will in fact operate well with carpet laid over over the wooden floor he put down, and am worried that when a new buyer moves in they will before long argue that the underfloor heating is not working with the carpet and will take the carpet up in order to have a warm enough flat - in the process recreating the noise problem.

So as to try and get some assurance, I asked this leaseholder for details of the manufacturer of his underfloor heating and what evidence there is that it actually will work with carpet, at which point he went very vague and it turns out he has not actually properly researched the issue at all. It was more a case of hearing from someone else that underfloor heating will now work with carpet.

I think that if the freehold company OKs the sale of his flat with underfloor heating as the source of heating this will imply that it accepts his underfloor heating, with no guarantee that it will not need wooden (and noisy) floor to work properly.

He proposes laying down the carpeting and then testing the heating to see if it works with carpeting. If it doesn't then he will put in an alternative non-underfloor form of central heating.

However, he will of course be tempted to say his test shows that his underground heating works fine with carpeting just so he can comply with the lease and speedily sell his flat. What if someone moves in who finds the heating inadequate and takes the carpet up on the basis that this is essential if the underfloor heating is to work? From what I have read, carpet does not work well with underfloor heating, and would have to have a low tog value. In my view a carpet thin enough for the heating to work would not provide adequate sound muffling.

I feel that through installing underfloor heating and a wooden floor he sort of made it necessary for the flat to breach the lease in order for the heating to work. I can't face the prospect of yet more hassles over a noisy wooden floor with future upstairs neighbours.

Does anyone have experience with this issue? I know it has been the subject of some court cases in the past. I think it would be best if he is made to install an alternative type of heating, plus a decent carpet, before selling the flat.


  • I've done a few schemes with underfloor heating and carpets, but these have had to use a combined maximum tog of 2.5 for both underlay and carpet. However, there was also an additional allowance included within the underfloor heating design for the carpet as opposed to the typical engineered timber or solid hardwood, so it will depend on what the design of the underfloor heating was.

    I'm not sure about any legal requirements for the heating system to be adequate when the flat is sold - isn't this something that the purchaser would need to check themselves?
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