Electric underfloor heating
Electric underfloor heating relies on a network of wires under your floor that heat up. Depending on the shape of the room, you can go for heating mats, which cover large areas, or individual wires which can get in every nook and cranny. Heating mats are generally a bit cheaper.
The wires usually sit on top of a layer of insulation. They can fit under different floor types (but shouldn’t be under carpets that are too thick).
Electric wires themselves are fairly thin, making them easier and cheaper to install than a water-based system, but they are also slightly pricier to run, making them better suited to smaller areas.
Water underfloor heating
Water-based systems, in contrast, are a network of pipes linked to your boiler that pump hot water around your rooms.
Better yet, because underfloor heating systems distribute heat more evenly, they actually need water at a lower heat than a radiator, making your boiler more efficient.
The difficulty with water systems comes in the installation, and costs are typically initially higher for this reason.
Pipes are thicker than wires, so there needs to be enough room in your floor for the system to be installed, or the ground may need to be slightly raised. This means that while they’re a great solution for new builds, they can be difficult to install on some properties.
Consequently, installing a water-based system is not easy and, unlike electric systems, shouldn’t be installed without assistance.