Warm Up with Heated Floors

by Hometalk ExpertsOctober 9, 2014

As the weather gets cooler, warm up your home by installing radiant heat flooring. Heated floors are not as hard as you might think – just follow this expert advice provided by Hometalk Professional South Cypress for all the radiant floor heating information you need to cozy up your house this season.
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1) What is the process for installing under-floor heating in your home?

When most people think of floor heating, they think of hydronic systems. This type of system is installed in a concrete slab and consists of tubes set in the concrete that cycle hot water through the floor to produce heat. This system works for whole home heating but is very costly and doesn’t work with renovation projects.

Most consumers now use an electric floor heating system. There are multiple types of electronic systems on the market. The most common type comes in pre-cut sizes that can be linked together to fit a room’s specific dimensions. Another option is to have mats custom made to your space based on the room dimensions. With this option, one can get the perfect layout, but it does require extra time for manufacturing. A third option is using a system that integrates the heating elements into a flooring membrane. This allows the user to get the benefits of a custom mat with no extra time for manufacturing and also helps with subfloor preparation.

In general, most of the electric systems require proper subfloor preparation, self leveler, and a crack suppression membrane. For tile, all of the systems are set directly into the thinset. Depending on the specific manufacture of the heating system, special thinsets can be required. Since the systems are electric, an electrician will also be needed to wire in the system and a wall-controlled thermostat. Overall, it is a fairly simple process as long as proper steps are maintained.

2) Are there certain areas of the country where heated floors are predominantly used?

Heated floors are used more predominantly in the North, but many homes in the South will use the systems in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Clients of ours in the South have used the floor heating system as their only source of heat in the basement.

3) Can they increase your home’s value?

Radiant-floor heating can add value, but they do require a buyer who appreciates the fine details. Since a heated floor is not visible, it doesn’t have the same immediate value as, say, the tile that covers it. However, it might be the small detail that eventually helps someone fall in love with the home.

4) Do you need a building permit to install heated floors?

A permit will be required in most states, because the installation makes alterations to the existing electrical system. Always check with your local ordinance to make sure before starting your project.

5) What types of flooring (tile, etc.) can be used for this project?

The most common use for floor heating systems is under tile, but some systems can be used under certain wood, vinyl, and carpet. These applications require extra guidance and attention, because they are all more susceptible to issues with temperature changes.
For more expert advice concerning flooring and home improvement, follow South Cypress on Hometalk!

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Hometalk Experts
Hometalk Experts are standouts in their industry and provide trusted advice on home improvement and gardening projects. Experts include reputable interior designers, painters, contractors, craftsmen and real estate professionals. Hometalk Experts are an active part of Hometalk's community, answering individual questions and providing inspiration through their own completed projects.
2 Comments
  • January 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    We are putting down a Bruce hickory floating floor in our kitchen. Can I install the heating flooring? Thank you.

    • January 26, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Great question, Tammy! Wood floors do typically require extra guidance. What works well with heated flooring is probably a better question for your floor manufacturer or contractor. Hope your floors turn out great! Please send of a picture of the results. 🙂

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