Our GPR surveys provide a fast and efficient NDT means of locating underfloor heating pipes. We can detect and locate both metal and plastic pipes. Locate before you cut or drill!

Underfloor heating pipes

In recent years, underfloor heating has become increasingly popular. Some of the main benefits are low running costs, no need for radiators, and a comfortable environment.

However, if drilling the floor slab is necessary later (e.g., for fixings, service penetration, etc.), then it is essential to locate the position of the underfloor heating pipes to avoid damage. This can be difficult, especially if the pipes are plastic.

Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), we can locate underfloor heating pipes, both metal and plastic, as used in the majority of underfloor heating systems. This is because GPR detects changes in the subsurface and hence can locate metallic and non-metallic pipes. The results from our survey can be plotted on a CAD drawing or, in most cases, it is possible to interpret the GPR data in real-time and mark up pipe positions in situ.

Underfloor heating pipes laid out on floor slab prior to screed application
Radargram showing detected underfloor heating pipes (indicated by red dots)

Underfloor heating pipes are usually installed within the screed layer of a concrete floor. We have, however, also encountered underfloor heating pipes cast directly into the structural concrete slab (at the Physics Building, University College London). This makes the location of heating pipes more difficult as they have to be differentiated from the floor slab reinforcement.

One of the main advantages of GPR is that a trained GPR surveyor can interpret the data as a pseudo-cross-section view, often in real-time. For this particular survey, we were able to interpret the data and differentiate between the reinforcement and pipes. We marked up the position of the heating pipes in situ, and the fit-out contractors were able to drill their fixings safely, avoiding the pipes.

GPR radargram showing detected underfloor heating pipes
Typical underfloor heating pipe installation prior to screed application

Site Survey

GPR can locate underfloor heating pipes locally (e.g. for a single floor fixing or floor penetration) or in a larger area. Larger areas are usually scanned on a regular orthogonal grid. Typically, we would use a GSSI SIR 3000/400 control unit with a high-frequency antenna, such as the 2600 MHz or 2000 MHz Palm antenna. The latter is very compact and allows scanning to within 45 mm of an obstruction.

GPR data is usually processed off-site, which gives more accurate and reliable results than on-site interpretation. The pipe positions are then plotted in CAD.

Need more information?

Contact us

Contact us to find out more about our GPR surveys to locate underfloor heating pipes and how we can help you:

Tel: 0207 565 7056
Email: gpr@sandberg.co.uk

Are you wondering what else GPR can be used for? GPR surveys can investigate the subsurface and detect unseen features. Learn more about our most popular GPR surveys.