One of the hottest fads in bathroom design is heated flooring. It is a great investment for your home as well as a wonderful feature – wake up to warm floors instead of chilly tiles every morning. When temperatures drop outdoors, indoor tiles may become colder than usual. With heated flooring, you can shed your slippers and eliminate the shock of cold bathroom flooring.
Two types of heated flooring:
- Electric radiant heat – heats the floor through an electrical current that has been applied to a heating element
- Hydronic heat – heats the floor using heated water that is distributed through a complex tubing system
For a small area such as a bathroom, an electric radiant heat system is the most affordable and easiest to install. Hydronic heat systems require expensive components; however, multiple rooms can share the components, making it more economical for a larger or multi-room space.
Installation: When electric radiant heating is installed, the system is sandwiched between layers of thinset and a layer of porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone tile. Wood flooring does not respond as quickly to temperature changes, making it a less desirable choice. The heating cables are thin enough that when placed under the tile, they do not cause a noticeable difference in height between floors with the system and ones without.
Hydronic heating requires a boiler, pump, and gas lines. Plastic tubing called PEX is installed by attaching it under a subfloor between joints. The tubing can also be installed over a concrete floor if a grooved channel system is laid first with foam insulation installed over it.
Control: In most cases, the heating system is connected to an electric panel that is controlled by a thermostat. Some control systems offer a timer, which can be set so that the floor is warm when you wake in the morning.
Safety: Most heated floor systems are installed with a dedicated protected circuit for safety due to the constant exposure to water. Additionally, every heating system on the market includes safety features to prevent users from burning their feet on the warm tiles.
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