Underfloor heating dates back to Roman times, when ventilation shafts were dug from the hearth outwards to carry warm air around the home.
But it wasn’t until the 1930s that the first in-floor heating systems were devised for concrete floors, by the American Frank Lloyd Wright and Brit Oscar Faber.
They used steel pipes to carry hot and cold water through the concrete, as a means of either heating or cooling the room above.
Writing for Construction News, Tom De Saulles notes that these early experiments were not perfect – eventually the steel pipes would fail – but they literally paved the way for the technology to develop.
These days plastic pipes are sometimes used instead, with a structural steel grid to hold them firmly in place and protect them against damage.
Either way, steel has been a crucial component in underfloor heating for almost a century now – and no doubt will remain that way for many more decades to come.
“There is an old adage that goes something like, ‘Since time began and things were made, nothing has changed in the building trade,'” writes Mr De Saulles.
In the years to come, whether as a structural steel grid to support pipes of other materials, or as steel pipes themselves, this is one material that shows no signs of changing.