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THE EFFECTS OF FLOORING MATERIAL ON THERMAL COMFORT IN A COMPARATIVE MANNER. Ceramic tile and wood flooring

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Abstract

The buildings sector, being a leading energy consumer, would need to lead in conservation efforts as well. There is a growing consensus that variability in indoor conditions can be acceptable to occupants, improve comfort perception, and lower building energy consumption. This work aim to examine and summaries the effects of flooring material on human thermal and comfort perception to such variations in the indoor environment: spatial transients, non-uniformities, and temperature drifts. We also briefly discuss personalized comfort systems since they work on an occupant's micro-climate and create non-uniformities in the indoors. The inspection of works done on effect of flooring material on thermal comfort points to the need for synchronizing the overall indoor environment's quality-in terms of décor, air quality, lighting etc.-to improve occupant thermal comfort. Essence of the overall discussions come out to be that indoor thermal environment can varies depending on the type of flooring material being used in the space. A comparison between ceramic tile and wood flooring will be done in this work to see how each material affects the room thermal comfort and how each material work i.e. similarities, advantages/disadvantages and characteristics. A questionnaire will be distributed to the users of ceramic tile and that of wood flooring to begin with, asking their level of satisfaction on the material.
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THE EFFECTS OF FLOORING MATERIAL
ON THERMAL COMFORT IN A
COMPARATIVE MANNER.
Ceramic tile and wood flooring
MUHAMMAD KABIR DANTATA 1 and HALIL ZEFER ALIBABA 2
1 MARCH student, dept. of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University
Faculty of Architecture, Gazimagusa T.R of North Cyprus, Turkey, 99628.
Email: Muhammadkabir92@gmail.com
2 Associate Prof, Dr, dept. of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University
Faculty of Architecture, Gazimagusa T.R of North Cyprus, Turkey, 99628.
Email: halil.alibaba@emu.edu.tr
ABSTRACT
The buildings sector, being a leading energy consumer, would need to lead in
conservation efforts as well. There is a growing consensus that variability in
indoor conditions can be acceptable to occupants, improve comfort perception,
and lower building energy consumption. This work aim to examine and
summaries the effects of flooring material on human thermal and comfort
perception to such variations in the indoor environment: spatial transients, non-
uniformities, and temperature drifts. We also briefly discuss personalized comfort
systems since they work on an occupant's micro-climate and create non-
uniformities in the indoors. The inspection of works done on effect of flooring
material on thermal comfort points to the need for synchronizing the overall
indoor environment's quality in terms of décor, air quality, lighting etc. to
improve occupant thermal comfort. Essence of the overall discussions come out
to be that indoor thermal environment can varies depending on the type of
flooring material being used in the space.
A comparison between ceramic tile and wood flooring will be done in this work
to see how each material affects the room thermal comfort and how each material
work i.e. similarities, advantages/disadvantages and characteristics. A
questionnaire will be distributed to the users of ceramic tile and that of wood
flooring to begin with, asking their level of satisfaction on the material.
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Keywords
Thermal comfort, floor material, temperature, comparison, recommendation,
1. INTRODUCTION
There are various types of flooring materials used in building construction and
their selection depends on applications, aesthetics and choice of user. A floor in
building construction is a leveled surface which can support the objects,
occupants etc. Different flooring types are there based on different factors. The
flooring material is chosen as per requirement of the user and based on
applications which provides the most satisfying results for objective, either it may
be economically or durability wise but in this work, we are going to be analyzing
and comparing the two most common types of flooring materials (ceramic tiles
and wood flooring).
Ceramic tile flooring and laminated wood flooring are the most common types of
flooring material used at homes and other spaces. They very different in looks, in
style and also how they work. Both are made from natural resources but they do
not work in the same manner.
Some flooring materials are especially good at holding in heat and others are
specifically good at cooling off quickly when exposed to heat. Understanding how
a floor holds in or gives off heat can help you make a better choice in which type
of flooring material to installed when improving your property or space to an
energy saving and comfortable space.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES are as follows
To investigate how flooring material affects thermal comfort, to identify the
problem that lead to low thermal comfort of a space, To recommend which
type of flooring material is better for the space.
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2. LITERATURE REVIEW
thermal comfort means that a person feels neither too cold nor too warm.
Thermal comfort is important for health and well-being as well as productivity. A
lack of thermal comfort causes stress among building occupants. When they are
too warm, people can feel tired; when too cold, they will be restless and
distracted. As you may guess, thermal comfort has to do with more than the
temperature. It can be achieved only when the air temperature, humidity and the
movement of the air are in proper balance with each other. Adding to the
complication, it is obvious that one person’s thermal comfort zone is not the same
as another’s. Temperature preferences vary greatly among individuals, and it
may not be possible to satisfy everyone in a group. Thermal comfort can also be
a matter of perception.
Let’s start with temperature. There is no one ideal temperature for all times any
more than there is one for all people. Generally, it is recommended that indoor
temperatures be kept between 69 and 73 degrees F. The outdoor weather is a
factor, however, when outdoor temperatures are hotter, it may be advisable to
keep air-conditioned spaces warmer to minimize the temperature difference
between indoors and outdoors. So-called radiant heat is also an important
consideration. One will certainly feel warmer sitting in direct sun than sitting in the
shade at the same air temperature. Building occupants near sun-exposed
windows will feel warmer in the same space than others further away.
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!” This oft-repeated refrain can be quite true.
Humidity is an important element of thermal comfort, and humidity control is a
major (and energy-intensive) function of building HVAC systems. Excessive
humidity makes occupants feel warmer, and the air seem “stuffy”. It is also
unhealthful because it can lead to the development of bacterial and fungal
growth. Too little humidity causes discomfort by drying out people’s throats and
sinuses, and contributing to skin rashes. Dry conditions also lead to the familiar
electrostatic discharge when people touch each other or different surfaces.
Depending on regional climate and building design, HVAC systems may be
capable of either humidifying the air supplied to the building interior,
dehumidifying it, or both.
Green buildings may be designed to be responsive to regional climate, and use
less active strategies to help provide an acceptable range of thermal comfort
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through the seasons. Passive solar heating will maximize the warming benefit of
the sun in heating season. Passive cooling will use proper shading and natural
ventilation to reduce indoor temperatures, and provide air movement to increase
comfort. The timing of ventilation is important as well. Passively cooled buildings
will be set up to maximize outdoor air intake at night, when it is cool. The “stack
effect” set up by rising warm air, vented near the top of a space, will serve to
draw in cooler air down low.
Figure P.1 https://www.lpattenandsons.ca/collingwood-custom-home-blog/2018/2/23/what-is-a-passive-house
Air movement is also important. A simple fan can provide a cooling breeze in
warm weather; but the same breeze in a colder situation would be an
uncomfortable and unhealthful “draft”. A small amount of air movement is always
necessary, if only to ventilate a space introducing fresh air and removing stale
air. In fact, the power to drive the fans that move air around a building can be the
largest job energy-wise of the HVAC system. Fully climate-controlled
buildings have energy-consuming equipment that will heat and cool the interior
spaces as well as add or remove moisture from the air, as appropriate. Fans will
move air for various purposes. Automatic shading systems can regulate solar
radiant heat to maintain comfort, as well as Other buildings may be much simpler.
Consider a house with radiators to provide heat, and that is all. A radiator heats
the air that is already in the room, and natural air currents are set in motion as
warm air rises, Hot-air heating systems blow heated air into a space. Other than
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that, we may have windows and doors that open, shades to admit or exclude the
sun’s rays, fans built-in or portable -- and no “air conditioning”. In older homes
and buildings without central heating systems, fireplaces and stoves were the
sole source of warmth. Buildings in tropical climates may have no heating at all.
HOW THERMAL MASS WORKS by alternately storing and releasing heat, high
thermal mass 'smooths out' the extremes in daytime temperatures. In warm /hot
climates where there is significant temperature variation between day and night
('diurnal' variation), heat is absorbed during the day and then released in the
evening when the excess can be either 'flushed out' through natural ventilation or
it can be used to heat the space as the outside temperature drops. The entire
process can then be repeated the next day.
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Locating thermal mass can be done by the following procedures
Thermal mass should be exposed ('coupled') to the heated internal space.
Thermal mass needs to be isolated from the influence of external air
temperatures. This is achieved through locating the mass within the insulated
building envelope.
Any heavyweight material will serve as thermal mass. It can form any part of the
internal fabric, be it floor, walls or ceiling.
Though often desirable, thermal mass does not need to be exposed to direct
sunlight for heat to be absorbed. Heat can be conveyed through convection and
radiation between other surfaces.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE THERMAL MASS are as follows
Specific heat capacity
Specific heat capacity refers to a material's capacity to store heat for every
kilogram of mass. A material of 'high' thermal mass has a high specific heat
capacity. Specific heat capacity is measured in J/kg.K
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187661021400839X
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Density
The density refers to the mass (or 'weight') per unit volume of a material and is
measured in kg/m3. A high density material maximizes the overall weight and is
an aspect of 'high' thermal mass.
Thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity measures the ease with which heat can travel through a
material. For 'high' thermal mass, thermal conductivity usually needs to be
moderate so that the absorption and release of heat synchronizes with the
building's heating and cooling cycle. Thermal conductivity is measured in units of
W/m.K.
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Figure p2 http://hardwoodinitiative.fpinnovations.ca/files/publications-reports/reports/project-no1-
flooring-comparison-lca-final-report.pdf
Recyclable
Low embodied energy at factory
gates
Renewable resource
Biodegradable - material doesn't
persist in landfill
Non toxic
Durable
Thermal mass (minor) and insulation
properties
High embodied energy
Some flooring includes formaldehyde
Sealants, if used, can produce
harmful VOCs
Recyclable
Abundant natural resource
Non-toxic
Easy maintenance
Extremely durable
Usable in wet areas
High embodied energy
Imported tiles add to embodied
energy
Wood flooring Ceramic tiles
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Above shows a comparative life circle assessment of alternative flooring
material types
Comparison survey of ceramic tile vs engineered hardwood flooring
WHICH FLOORING IS BETTER?
Look and
appearance
Available in wide range
of styles from traditional
to contemporary. Most
popular colors: beige,
brown, and grey.
4
5
Beautiful natural look of
wood. Available in variety of
colors and shades. Most
popular species: oak, maple,
and cherry.
Suitability
Can be installed in any
room. Best suits for a
bathroom, kitchen,
hallways, and basement.
5
4
Good for most rooms in the
house, but not recommended
for installation in areas with
potentially high moisture level
such as bathrooms, powder
rooms, or laundry rooms.
Best choice for a living room
or bedroom.
Child
friendliness
Easily withstands any
abuse, but feels hard
under the feet.
4
3
Can be damaged by heavy
abuse or constant liquids
spills.
Pet
friendliness
Wearing layer of glazed
ceramic tile impervious to
pet urine and hard
enough not to be
scratched by even bigger
dog’s claws.
5
3
Susceptible to pet urine and
can be scratched by claws.
Stain
resistance
Glazed ceramic tile is
insusceptible to stain.
Grout between tiles
might lose its
appearance overtime if
not sealed periodically.
5
3
Even highest quality
hardwood floors could be
stained and discolored spots
might appear on wood
surface if water, juice or pet
urine won’t be wiped from the
floor immediately.
Water
resistance
A few hours standing
water on the surface of
quality glazed ceramic
5
2
Water or even high moisture
level in the room can cause
multiple problems to the wood
CERAMIC TILE RATING WOOD FLOORING
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tile with low water
absorption coefficient
(less than 3%) won’t do
any damage to the tile.
floors including bucking,
cupping, warping or crowning.
Fade
resistance
Ceramic tile do not fade
or change color under
any conditions. 5
2
Direct sunlight can cause
discoloring of wood floors.
Some wood species might
even change in color overtime
under normal light intensity.
Durability
and
hardness
Ceramic tile with high
resistance to abrasion is
one of the most durable
flooring materials.
4
3
Depends on species and
finish quality, but wood is
softer product than ceramic
tile.
Longevity Lifetime with proper
installation and care. 5
4
Lifespan significantly vary.
Glue or nail down installation
50+ years, floating
engineered floors 25+ years.
Maintenance Very little care required
after installation. 2
4
Regular cleaning and
elimination of any liquids from
wood surface right away will
ensure long lasting flooring
performance.
Manufacturer
warranty Greatly vary. -
-
Warranty on hardwood
flooring depends on a
manufacturer and product
quality. Most reputable wood
floors producers offer 25 55
years limited wear warranty
on their products.
Normally
sold in
Boxes 12” x 12”, 16” x
16” or 24” x 24”, but
many other dimensions
are available.
-
-
Cases 48" - 84" long.
Typical
weight per
square foot
3.5 4 lb/ ft2 -
-
1.4 2.6 lb/ft2
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Products
view
Typical
thickness
0.3125 in. 0.375 in. -
-
0.375 in. 0.75 in.
Price Vary, but normally
cheaper compare to
wood flooring.
3
4
Some exotic wood hardwood
floors might be quite
expensive.
Installation
cost (labor)
Cost of ceramic tile
installation normally
higher compare to laying
hardwood floors.
4
2
Cheaper to install.
Installation
methods
Setting tile on mortar. -
-
Nail down, glue down, click
and lock.
Installation
complexity Typically tile slightly
harder to install. 4
3
Prefinished wood floors
installation is not a
complicated task and many
homeowners are able to do it
themselves.
Installation
time
Depends on complexity,
but in general, for an
experienced tile setter
tiling 11’ x 15’ kitchen
using 12” x 12” or bigger
tile is one day project
excluding possible
preparation work and
grout application.
4
3
Experienced hardwood
installer normally is able to
complete nailing down 3 ¼ in.
wide engineered hardwood
flooring in 14’ x 16’ master
bedroom in one day, not
accounting any preparation or
extra work. But complex
installation might take twice
longer.
Replacement
time
Replacement of ceramic
tile could be an
extremely time
consuming process.
Demolishing of existing
tile and preparation work
5
3
Floating wood floors very
easy to remove and replace
with new ones. Nail down
floors are much harder to
replace. Demolishing and
replacing glue down
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might actually last longer
compare to installation of
new tile itself.
hardwood floor might take the
same time as replacing
ceramic tile.
Common
problems
With proper installation
ceramic tile flooring
shouldn’t have any
problems except grout
lines discoloring which
can be easily fixed by
cleaning and (or)
rerouting tile. Cracks are
normally a result of poor
completed project.
5
3
Hardwood floors are much
more susceptible to damages,
and even adequately installed
quality wood flooring can be
easily damaged by high
moisture level in the room or
simply placing heavy and
sharp objects on its surface.
Ceramic tile and wood flooring are great flooring options with their own
advantages and disadvantages and which one to buy depends on many factors.
Type of a room, ability to take cake about floors properly and homeowner’s
preferences should be taken into account while choosing between tile and wood.
In other words, users tend to forget how their choice of flooring will affect their
thermal comfort because each floor has its properties and each property can
have an impact on the room temperature which affects health and abilities.
Thermal comfort is influenced by several factors, which principally contain air
temperature, air humidity, air velocity, mean radiant temperature, human
Clothing, and activity levels. Several specialists in this domain trust that indoor air
quality may be the most important and relatively overlooked environmental issue
of our time. Indoor pollutants lead to poor indoor air quality. The indoor
environmental quality impacts not only health and comfort, but also the
occupants, productivity, as it strongly affects working and learning competency,
with effect on production and social costs.
3. METHODOLOGY
In addition to the above survey done by”
http://www.rempros.com/comparison/ceramic-tile-vs-engineered-hardwood-flooring.html
A comparison between ceramic tile and wood flooring will be done in this work to
see how each material affects the room thermal comfort and how each material
work i.e. similarities, advantages/disadvantages and characteristics. A
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questionnaire was distributed to the users of ceramic tile and that of wood flooring
to begin with, asking their level of satisfaction on the material and then later will
calculate their U value, R value, C value, K value of each system to see which
one has more thermal capabilities.
The concepts of K-value, C-value, R-value, and U-value can be summed up in
the following rules:
The better insulated a system, the lower its U-value.
The greater the performance of a piece of insulation, the greater its R-value and
the lower its C-value.
The lower the K-value of a particular insulation material, the greater its insulating
value for a particular thickness and given set of conditions.
These are the properties upon which users of thermal insulation depend for
energy savings, process control, personnel protection, and condensation control.
R-value is essentially a product's resistance to heat flow which means that the
higher the product's R-value, the better it is at insulating the home and improving
energy efficiency. Adversely, U-value measures the rate of heat transfer. This
means that products with a lower U-value will be more energy efficient. In most
applications, the primary feature of a thermal insulation material is its ability to
reduce heat exchange between a surface and the environment, or between one
surface and another surface. This is known as having a low value for thermal
conductivity. Generally, the lower a material’s thermal conductivity, the greater its
ability to insulate for a given material thickness and set of conditions.
3.1 RESULTs AND DISCUSSIONS
In this work, I created a small model of a simple room with regular walls and slabs
nut changing the flooring composition in two ways, that of the ceramic tile and
that of the wood flooring in finding the U value of each flooring material in a
simple application as shown below Is what I design for this research using a U
value calculator software called TISOFT.
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As shown in the figure above, this system composition of a ceramic tile flooring has
the thermal conductivity of 6.155w/(m-k) and a special heat of 6.34kj(kg.k)
the U value as shown above is 0.612 W/(m²·K)
the K value as shown above is 6.155w/(m-k)
to find the R value, R value = thickness / K value
0.38/6.155 = 0.062
To find the C value, C value = K value / thickness
=6.155 / 0.38 = 16.197
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As shown in the figure above, this system composition of a wood flooring has the
thermal conductivity of 4.378w/(m-k) and a special heat of 10.96kj(kg.k)
the U value as shown above is 0.361 W/(m²·K)
the K value as shown above is 4.378w/(m-k)
to find the R value, R value = thickness / K value
0.51/4.378 = 0.116
To find the C value, C value = K value / thickness
=4.378 / 0.51 = 8.584
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So due to this findings, it is clear that the wooden flooring has more thermal
performance than the ceramic tile.
4. CONCLUTION
During my researches and experiments, I came across several issues that Can be
used in determining which flooring material is best for your house, depending on a
lot of issues. These issues were identified in every alternative during study work.
It became clear that most of the people facing problems and challenges of thermal
comfort in their space chose their materials based on aesthetic
So in conclusion, I found and made it clear that the use of wood flooring material is
better for thermal comfort because it has lower U value (measures the rate of heat
transfer), K value (is a measure of the thermal conductivity of a material, that is,
how easily heat passes across it), R value (thermal resistance), C value (thermal
conductance) and apart from all that is has less potential to create dampness in a
high humid location.
References:
http://www.greenspec.co.uk/building-design/thermal-mass/
http://envormation.org/environmental-comparison-between-different-
flooring-materials/
http://www.greenspec.co.uk/building-design/smooth-flooring/
http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/green-building-program-
sub/learn-about-green-building/1239-thermal-comfort.html
https://www.lpattenandsons.ca/collingwood-custom-home-
blog/2018/2/23/what-is-a-passive-house
http://www.rempros.com/comparison/ceramic-tile-vs-engineered-hardwood-
flooring.html
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https://insulation.org/io/articles/k-value-u-value-r-value-c-value/
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https://www.bobvila.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-cork-flooring/
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https://www.ti-soft.com/en/products/software/uvaluecalculator
file:///C:/Users/Restore/Desktop/THERMAL%20ISSUE.pdf
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/recommended-flooring-types-844656
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building/16992/
http://hardwoodinitiative.fpinnovations.ca/files/publications-reports/reports/project-
no1-flooring-comparison-lca-final-report.pdf
https://www.google.com.cy/search?biw=1366&bih=608&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=gLr6
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