Monday, October 26, 2015




What could be better than stepping out of the shower onto warm floors? Not much, apparently. Radiant heat is quickly climbing to the top of many home owners’ must have lists. Don’t go one more day without planning on a little luxury for your feet. Here’s the basics.

Radiant heat is an in-floor heating that warms the room from the floor up. It is considered by some to be a more effective heating method than forced air. Forced air systems often leave the lower section of the house cooler keeping only the upper section warm. Since you occupy mostly the lower section of any given room, you are either cold or you turn up the thermostat and run up the heating bill.

Radiant heat starts at the bottom and works its way up by natural phenomenon: hot air is lighter than cool. You feel warm and you lose less heat to the upper half of your house. Plus you get the benefit of cozy floors when you step out of bed or jump out of the shower.

Preparing for radiant heat will ensure warm floor success. The right subfloor will make your in floor heating more efficient. You should have the water tables and soil analyzed at your home so you won’t have to battle nature to get the heat you want.  Come up with a plan for expansion joints and moisture control as well.

The right subflooring and floor materials can make a big difference in how well your radiant heat works. Tile is especially suited to underfloor radiant heat. Stone, ceramic, and porcelain all are made of natural substances which have thermal-conducting properties. That means they withstand, transfer, and hold heat very well—all good ways to have a warm tile floor.
You can also use underfloor heat with carpet, rugs, hardwood, laminate, and other flooring surfaces.

There are two options when it comes to under-floor radiant heat:

Electric radiant heat is composed of wires that run under the floor. They are very easy and affordable to install, but they are also more expensive to operate.
Installation is made even easier with heating mats. These mats have a very low-profile (some are less than 1/8” thick) and are ideal to put under tile. The wires are woven into the fabric and all you have to do to install it is put down a mortar and roll out the mats (see manufacturer directions for the full installation process).

There are several sizes to choose from or you can custom order a mat to your room’s specifications. The radiant heat mats are approved for wet applications like the shower, sauna, or steam room. And warm the floors and the entire space quickly and effectively. They are safe for all types of tile and most other flooring options.

Under-floor heating is usually installed before a new tile floor goes in. If you have a basement or crawlspace, you may place the radiant heating below a current floor.

Hydronic radiant heat is composed of hot water pipes that run under the floor. They are quite complicated and time-consuming to install and require a licensed plumber. Pipes have to tap into the supply from the water heater or boiler so the project is a bit more involved than electric heating. On the bright side, hot water radiant heat is far less expensive than electric to operate.

Hot water radiant heat pipes are placed on a specialized underlayment like plywood with pre-cut channels for pipes. For tile floors, a cement backer board is placed over this, then the installation of the tile can proceed as normal.

Like electric radiant heat, hydronic needs to be installed either before the new floor goes in, or from the basement or crawl space side beneath the underlayment.      

When you simply can’t stand to go another fall or winter without the comfort of warm floors, it’s time to plan for a flooring upgrade. Buying new tile? Check out porcelain, stone, and ceramic tiles that work great with radiant heat.  Cabinet-S-Top can assist you with underfloor heating that will transform your home.  Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

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