Should You Get Heated Floors?
Heated floors can be an awfully tempting remodeling project: the underfoot warmth can eliminate the need for slippers, and early—and cold—mornings aren’t as unpleasant as they used to be. But what exactly is in involved in getting heated flooring?

What’s an Underfloor Heating System?


The concept of having heat emanate from the floor instead of through vents or radiators may seem simple, but there are actually two different ways this is achieved:

  • Electric underfloor heating: This option is usually seen underneath stone or tiled floors—although that’s not a hard and fast rule—and consists of a series of electric wires. First, though, a contractor will put down a layer of screed to ensure an even surface and a layer of insulation to promote heat upward instead of down. Next, the contractor will lay the sheets or cables, with the design depending on the size and spacing of the room and floor.
  • Water underfloor heating: With this option, water water runs through a series of small pipes under the floor and heats the surface radiantly. The pipes are connected to either the boiler or an independent solar water heating system, and is usually more efficient than electric heating. However, it may not be right for all homes and rooms because water heating involves needing a certain amount of space, and can possibly result in having to raise the floor level in existing spaces.

    What are the Benefits of Underfloor Heating?


    There are many. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Warm, cozy floors
  • Heating that remains even after the power source has been turned off
  • Warmth up to 95F
  • Seamless way of heating a space
  • Possible reduction in overall heating costs
  • Can be used in a variety of flooring types
  • Simple enough to install for DIYers
  • Can be installed in new or old homes

    What are the Disadvantages of Underfloor Heating?


    Changing the heating structure in your home can be a big project and, despite its flexibility, may not be right for all homes.

  • New tiles and a new connection to the wall thermostat
  • High repair costs if repair is necessary
  • Tends to heat the floor rather than the room
  • Can be expensive to install
  • Might not be a total replacement possibility for all heating options
  • Can be pricey to maintain
  • Might take longer to heat up than other options
  • Not every floor can take underfloor heating

    Choosing underfloor heating is typically seen as a luxury addition, but it can be a great way of creating toasty warm floors—especially nice during long and cold winter nights. And if done efficiently, it can also be a way of lowering overall heating costs in the home.

    Before you choose underfloor heating as an option for your home, make sure you know your options first.
    Amy Wright
    Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.
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