Many homeowners think of heated bathroom floors as a luxury and believe that they’re wildly unaffordable to install. However, that’s not entirely true. Heated floors are luxurious, sure – who doesn’t want to be met with a warm and toasty floor on a cold morning? But heated bathroom flooring (also known as radiant floor heating) is actually more efficient than traditional HVAC systems – and more effective.
Different Types of Radiant Floor Heating Systems
There are actually two different ways to achieve heated floors in bathrooms.
Electric radiant floor heating uses electric elements to generate heat through woven mats or wires installed underneath your flooring. This type of heating system can be used with or without insulation, but most contractors recommend insulation to prevent downward heat loss. Most electric radiant floor heating mats are also designed to be used with a thin-set or self-leveling cement to secure the heating mats in place.
Hydronic floor heating is achieved with a pipe system that circulates hot water heated by a boiler. The pipes are laid underneath the flooring, and the heat from the water is absorbed by the floor. The heat can then spread throughout the room after it has been absorbed by the floor. Hydronic floor heating systems can take a longer time to warm up than electric radiant systems. However, they can last for decades if they are properly maintained.
If you are creating a new build home and would like to place a heated floor in bathrooms around the home, a hydronic radiant heating system may be a better choice for you. Although hydronic radiant heating systems cost more up front to install, they last longer than electric radiant systems, can heat a larger surface area, and are still highly efficient compared to HVAC systems.
However, if you are simply remodeling the bathroom in an existing home, an electric radiant system will still created a perfectly heated bathroom floor that heats up quickly with very little maintenance. Electric radiant systems are not quite as complicated to install and are even DIY friendly in some cases – however, a certified professional is always the best choice when installing electrical systems.
Benefits of Heating Flooring
There are a lot of benefits to heating flooring – and it’s more than just saving your feet from an icy shock.
1. Radiant heating provides the most consistent and uniform type of heating.
A radiant floor heating system generates heat from underneath the floor, which is then absorbed into the flooring. The heating system is consistent and produces the same amount of heat over time – it’s just that all objects that touch the floor can also absorb the heat, heating the air in the room.
Traditional HVAC systems and other types of forced air heating systems use vents to distribute hot air in a room. Vent placement dictates what part of the room will be warmer than others, resulting in an inconsistently heated room. Some parts may be hot, while other parts of the room are still cold.
2. Radiant heating systems are more energy efficient than traditional HVAC systems.
Forced air heating systems are prone to heat and energy loss. The heat is not evenly distributed throughout the room, which leads to many homeowners turning the heat absurdly high in an attempt to warm the entire space. This can result in a sky high heating bill and still being unsatisfied with the temperature of your space.
Radiant heating systems can be controlled using WIFI or a programmable thermostat. Using these methods, it’s quick and easy to regulate the temperature of your room. You can also simply turn the radiant system on and off when you need it versus when you don’t. The ongoing expense of a radiant heating system is also very low compared to other types of heating.
3. Radiant heating systems are very quiet.
Have you ever been startled by the sound of your heating system turning on? Trying to work out what that weird clicking noise is in the middle of the night? Unlike HVAC and other forced air heating systems, radiant heating does not sound like a blowdryer pumping into your rooms at all hours. Floor heating is practically silent, protecting your peace of mind.
4. Electric radiant systems require very little maintenance.
After an electric radiant heating system has been installed, it can last for an upwards of 20+ years without needing any touchups or ongoing maintenance. There are no pesky filters to replace or vents to clean out (or stop kids and pets from dropping toys into) If an issue with your radiant heating system were to occur, professionals can use a thermal imaging camera to quickly find and repair the issue.
While hydronic floor heating systems do require ongoing maintenance, they also provide super-efficient heating and will last even longer than electric radiant systems.
How to Prepare for Your New Bathroom-Heating Floors
Making the decision to go with a radiant heating floor can be an exciting time – but there’s still some preparation to be done.
1. Contact your contractor for a quote.
It’s true that the initial cost of radiant heating systems can be higher than other types of traditional heating systems. However, this is a choice that pays itself off in the long run – twenty years or more of hassle-free heated floors and a reduced energy bill.
2. Check your doors.
Radiant heating systems may elevate your flooring by about an inch. This would mostly be unnoticeable; however, you should ensure that any doors in the space will clear the new flooring height. Check with your installer for the final floor height so that you can prepare the doors ahead of time – or ask if the installer would be willing to do this for you.
3. Choose your new flooring style.
Because of the way radiant heated flooring is installed, your existing flooring will need to be replaced. Heated flooring is compatible with many flooring types – laminate, hardwood, vinyl, and more. However, tile is the most popular choice for bathroom heating flooring because of the way it conducts heat. It is arguably the most efficient flooring for heat conduction and the most popular choice for bathrooms because of its water resistance.
If you’re ready to get started on a bathroom remodel or other type of interior renovation, contact Volpe Enterprises for a free estimate today.