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ThermoSphere Ultimate® vs ThermoSphere Mesh – what’s better for tiles?

ThermoSphere Ultimate® vs ThermoSphere Mesh – what’s better for tiles?

When deciding what type of system is best to heat tiled floors, we often get asked why we suggest ThermoSphere Ultimate over ThermoSphere Mesh and vice versa. In this electric heating blog article, we’ll walk you through the two key reasons why one is recommended over the other as well as:

  • An overview and the benefits of both
  • When to specify one over the other
  • Typical floor build-ups
  • How to install them

This blog has read time of only 5 minutes. However, should you be short of time and need your Ultimate or Mesh questions answered, just contact one of the team who will be happy to help. 

The difference between an electric underfloor heating & decoupling system and a mesh mat system


ThermoSphere Ultimate® – Heating & decoupling system

ThermoSphere Ultimate Heating systemThe ThermoSphere Ultimate electric underfloor heating system combines an electric heating cable (ThermoSphere Ultimate) with a heating and decoupling mat (Membrane Mat). 

The heating and decoupling mat is designed to prevent cracking, lifting and delamination of tiled floors and it allows the tiled surface to move independently from the subfloor. The mat also reduces the risk of damage to a tiled floor caused by expansion and contraction. In addition, it provides a waterproofing layer which is ideal for wet room projects.

Unlike a mesh mat system, the heating cable (ThermoSphere Ultimate) is pressed in-between the studs of the membrane mat which also helps to protect it during installation. You can also choose two different outputs. A two-stud spacing for an output of 195W/m2 or a three-stud spacing for an output of 130W/m2.

Benefits of ThermoSphere Ultimate

  • Speeds up installation - Because it’s the ONLY heating cable to combine in-line joint technology with TwistedTwin cable construction, installation is a one-step, tool-free process. It means you don’t need to cut into the membrane or the subfloor to bury a bulky cold tail joint. This takes away the hassle you get with other heating cables and significantly reduces any chance of accidently damaging the cold tail joint during installation.
  • Compatible with all heating & decoupling mats – No matter if you prefer to use Schluter Ditra Heat Duo, Warmup’s DCM-PRO mat or any other heating and decoupling mat for that matter, ThermoSphere Ultimate is compatible with all of them. This means you can use your preferred brand of heating and decoupling mat with the easiest to install and most reliable heating cable.
  • Comes with guaranteed reliability - ThermoSphere Ultimate® is the first heating cable to give you guaranteed reliability, so there is little to no chance of the cable failing when installed correctly. If the cable fails in the first 12 months of installation due to a manufacturing fault, we’ll replace the system for you, as well as the floor*. 
    *Available after confirmation of successful warranty registration.
  • A cable size for every type of project - There are 16 different cable sizes to choose from ranging from 12m to 200m. This gives installers more options without needing to use multiple cables on a project.

 

ThermoSphere Mesh – Mesh mat system

ThermoSphere Mesh electric underfloor heating system

A mesh mat system, like ThermoSphere Mesh, is made up of a heating cable which is attached to a mesh mat at regular intervals and is one of the most common electric heating systems in the market. These types of underfloor heating systems are available in different outputs. As an example, ThermoSphere Mesh is available with either a 100W/m2, 150W/m2 or 200W/m2 output. The higher the output of the system, the faster it will reach the desired temperature. Higher output systems are more commonly used for rooms that have a higher heat loss such as conservatories. Whereas lower output systems (100W/m2) are ideal for larger, well-insulated and commonly used rooms that require warmth for most of the day.

Benefits of ThermoSphere Mesh

  • Made in the South East, not the Far East – That’s right! ThermoSphere Mesh is designed and manufactured in the heart of Kent. This significantly removes any logistical hurdles, enables custom mat production (including OEM) and superior quality assurance.
  • Most robust and safe heating cable – Only available with ThermoSphere underfloor heating, the heating cable is manufactured using a twisted construction which reduces cable stress. It also comes with full earth protection for added safety.
  • Speeds up installation – ThermoSphere Mesh is self-adhesive and is installed wire-side-down which protects the TwistedTwin heating cable during installation as well as speeding up the whole process.
  • Low profile – LayFlat technology makes installation easy. Unlike others, the cold tail is only 4mm thick which makes it easy for it to be concealed within the tile adhesive layer.


When to specify ThermoSphere Ultimate or ThermoSphere Mesh


Both systems do a top-notch job in heating tile or stone floors, but there are instances where we would recommend one over the other.

Installing ThermoSphere Ultimate

Old screeded or timber floors

If you have a project that requires the electric underfloor heating to be installed on either an old screeded or timber subfloor which needs to be reinforced or there is a need for decoupling, we recommend the ThermoSphere Ultimate system. This not only reinforces the floor, the decoupling properties of the matting also neutralises lateral movement in tiled floors.

ThermoSphere Ultimate installation tiles

Wet rooms and waterproofing

Another common type of project where we would recommend ThermoSphere Ultimate is for projects such as wet rooms or where there is a requirement for waterproofing. This is because the decoupling layer (Membrane Mat) provides a waterproofing layer. During installation, the tanking process will ensure the wet room remains watertight for the life of the tiles with the added benefit of Membrane Mat being totally waterproof too.

ThermoSphere Mesh electric underfloor heating install

Project budget

When an electric underfloor heating project doesn’t have a decoupling requirement and there is a particular budget that needs to met, then ThermoSphere Mesh would be ideal. It is cheaper per metre square compared to ThermoSphere Ultimate but equally effective at warming the space. 

Typical floor build-ups


The following build-ups are the most common for tile floor finishes for both concrete and timber subfloors.

ThermoSphere Ultimate® – Heating & decoupling system

Membrane floor build-up - Concrete substrate and tile finish

Typical build-up for concrete substrates:

1. Tile 2. Tile adhesive 3. Ultimate 4. Tile adhesive 5. Uncoated insulation board 6. Tile adhesive 7. Concrete substrate.

Height: 21mm (Excluding the substrate, layer 1 and 2).

Membrane floor build-up - Timber substrate and tile finish

Typical build-up for timber substrates:

1. Tile 2. Tile adhesive 3. Ultimate 4. Tile adhesive 5. Coated insulation board 6. Timber substrate.

Height: 19mm (Excluding the substrate, layer 1 and 2).

 

ThermoSphere Mesh – Mesh mat system

Mesh floor build-up - Concrete substrate and tile finish

Typical build-up for concrete substrates:

1. Tile 2. Tile adhesive 3. Mesh mat 4. Uncoated insulation board 5. Tile adhesive 6. Concrete substrate.

Height: 17mm (Excluding the substrate, layer 1 and 2).

Mesh floor build-up - Timber substrate and tile finish

Typical build-up for timber substrates:

1. Tile 2. Tile adhesive 3. Mesh mat 4. Coated insulation board 5. Timber substrate.

Height: 14mm (Excluding the substrate, layer 1 and 2).

 

Installing electric underfloor heating


Both electric underfloor heating systems can easily be installed by an experienced DIYer but we always recommend that a qualified electrician makes the connection to the mains. It’s also important to have the right tools for the job. This includes the right meter to take the readings of the system before, during and after it is installed. Without these, the electric underfloor heating system won’t be able to be registered to receive its lifetime warranty,

Worry not. The following videos will guide you through the whole installation process for both systems.

ThermoSphere Ultimate® – Heating & decoupling system

 

ThermoSphere Mesh – Mesh mat system

 

Questions?


If you have any questions about what’s been covered in this heating blog article, please contact us via the website or give one of the team a call on 0800 019 5899

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