Warm Up Your Bathroom With Heated Floors

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Heated bathroom flooring isn’t only a fantastic investment, but it’s a really nice feature to wake up to each morning. When temperatures outside drop, many people begin wishing we had such a feature. I spoke with Daniel Ortega, a heated-flooring expert at Siles Remodeling, about what homeowners need to know when discussing this option with a builder.

There are two basic types of heated floor:

Electric radiant heating has an electrical current that’s applied to a heating component.
Hydronic heating system utilizes heated water that’s distributed through a intricate tubing system.

“Both have pros and cons, depending on the number of places on your home you are planning to install the machine,” Ortega says. If you are renovating the whole house, “a hydronic system is a great alternative,” he says, “but in case you are just adding this feature to a bathroom, the electrical system is the way to go, because it’s more cost effective and much less complicated to put in in a little space.”

We will focus exclusively on electrical radiant heat.

Photo by Daniel Ortega

Setup. To put in electrical radiant heating, you’ll require an plumber and a tile installer. “They will work together to put the heating cables, which are interlaced with net mats,” says Ortega. “The machine becomes sandwiched between layers of thinset and covered under ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile. The cables are so thin that there’s an indiscernible height gap between floors with the machine and ones without.”

Photo by Daniel Ortega

Décoration et provence

Floor materials. Electric radiant heated systems are covered by ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles, which are excellent temperature conductors. Wood does not respond as quickly to temperature fluctuations, so it’s not a fantastic choice for this particular application, Ortega says.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Controlling the warmth. The heating system is connected to an electronic controller, which comprises a thermostat. The particular controls vary by manufacturer. “Some provide features such as a programmable timer, and it is a beneficial option through the chilly months, when you can not imagine getting out of your warm bed to step to a freezing bathroom,” he says.

Jennifer – Rambling Renovators

Safety. Ortega is quick to note that many heated floor systems in a bathroom need a committed 20-amp GFCI protected circuit because of the constant exposure to water. You don’t have to worry about burning your tootsies, however. Every heating system in the marketplace has characteristics that prevent the ground from overheating.

Megan Meyers Interiors

Cost. There are two different types of costs to consider: the cost of the machine and your utility bill. Fortunately for consumers, new products are more cost effective in both regions. “Years ago luminous heated floor has been considered a luxury,” Ortega says. Now, given the competition between producers, costs have dropped substantially, he says.

Add to that the fact that you will not have to blast your entire house in heat just to warm the bathroom. By limiting the heat to one bathroom, you will save on utility costs.

Esther Hershcovich

Though system costs vary per trade, Ortega says to plan to spend $900 to $1,500 to install a heating system in a 100-square-foot place, the average bathroom size.

As far as utility costs go, if you maintain your floor’s thermostat programmed to go on just first thing in the morning, then you may find that your overall heating bill will drop, Ortega says. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles retain heat for a long time, resulting in warmth nicely after the machine is turned off.

Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants

Resale value. San Francisco design adviser Katie Anderson notes that you don’t have to reside in snow to reap the benefits of a warm bath flooring. “Even in the Bay Area, it becomes cold enough to earn a heated bathroom floor desirable,” she says. “Though a heated bathroom floor will not market a house by itself, it’s an extra amenity that buyers will appreciate — especially when the installation has already been finished. It’s the type of thing that once you have, you don’t want to live without.”

Kerrie L. Kelly

Factors. As a heated bathroom floor sounds perfect, it has its share of cons that you want to consider before making the investment. Ortega breaks down them:
Installing a machine will mean tearing out your existing flooring; this may be painful in a recently built home.Older houses might require extensive electrical work to satisfy the manufacturer’s requirements.If you require a repair farther down the road, you may be forced to eliminate sections of the floor to fix the problem. Can you have floors with electrical radiant heat? If so, what are your recommendations for others contemplating adding this feature?

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