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Your Guide to Choosing Heated Electric Floors

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Heated electric floors – luxury for any floor

Heated electric floors provides a warm and comfortable floor under tile, stone, laminate, wood and even carpet.

Today’s heated electric floors come in predominately four styles. The first are mat systems which have a warming wire attached to a mesh or fiber-type mat. Next is free wire or “cable” systems which utilize guides attached to the floor and then the wire is looped around the guides and spaced appropriately. There are also floor warming systems designed to be used under floating floor/carpeted areas. The newest systems are “film” which are ultra thin and can be installed under almost any flooring surface. All floor heat products can be installed with either a manual or programmable thermostat to regulate the heat output of the system.

The most common types of heated electric floors

Mat: Mat type floor warming systems are best used in square or rectangular areas. They are customizable by cutting through only the mat/mesh and turning the roll to cover the room. The wire may also be removed from the mesh and “free wired” in areas that would require special attention. They usually have a wattage output between 12-15 watts per square foot. Most systems come in either 120V or 240V depending on the area needed to be warmed. On average a 120V mat will cover up to 150 square feet on a single thermostat and 240V up to 300 square feet. Smaller sizes are available to accommodate smaller areas. Many floor heat companies provide kits that include everything you will need. Kits include the mat, thermostat, fault check tool, and step-by-step instructions.

Heated Electric Floors - Laticrete Floor Heat

Laticrete Floor Heat

Heated Electric Floors - Danfoss

Danfoss

 

 

 

 

Cable: Cable or “free wire” type systems work well with areas that are irregularly shaped. They have the flexibility to weave in and out of spaces while providing floor warming capabilities. These systems also come in both 120V and 240V and are very easy to install. To ensure a flat surface it is important to use a self-leveling product with cables systems.

Heated Electric Floors - Warmup Cable

Warmup Cable

Heated Electric Floors - Easy Heat Warm Tiles

Easy Heat Warm Tiles

Heated Electric Floors - Nuheat Cable

Nuheat Cable

 

 

 

 

Under Floating Floors: Floor heat has expanded its appeal to under floating floors like laminate and engineered wood . Under floating floor systems have a pad already incorporated in the product. Additional pads are available to fill in areas where floor heat is not installed.

Heated Electric Floors - WarmlyYours

WarmlyYours

Heated Electric Floors - ThermoSoft ThermoFloor

ThermoSoft ThermoFloor

 

 

 

 

Film: The newest under floor heating products in the United States are film systems. This type of floor heat has already been used overseas for some time. This system is appealing because it uses a very thin film. They can be installed under tile and floating floors. The thin material helps address height concerns from adjacent floors.

Heated Electric Floors - InfraFloor Film

InfraFloor Film

Heated Electric Floors - Calorique

Calorique

 

 

 

 

 

You can learn even more information about these specific products on manufacturers’ websites. Many companies provide user friendly “heat loss” and “operating cost” calculators on their sites. This information can be used in the decision making process of whether to install heated electric floors in your next project. As a remodeling contractor who has floor heat in his own personal master bath, I would never be without heated electric floors again. A customer will never say they wish they hadn’t put in floor heat, but many are sorry they didn’t.

Learn more about the products shown above on the following manufacturers’ websites.

LATICRETE
SunTouch
Danfoss
Warmup
Emerson Industrial
Nuheat
WarmlyYours
ThermoSoft
InfraFloor
Calorique

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About

Phil Green is the owner and hands on at PGC Construction Remodeling and Design for over 32 years. Phil has been able to hone his skills in all facets of the remodeling industry. Specializing in kitchen and bath remodels...Read more

42 comments on “Your Guide to Choosing Heated Electric Floors

  1. Steve T.

    Kind-of helpful, but not very. How about approx cost per sq-ft for comparison? How about installation highlights for each?

  2. Clayton

    Great information, very helpful. I’d be interested in seeing a chart that shows hours of labor and cost of materials to do the same size room by type of products chosen.

  3. Phil

    Clayton
    I will work on that. Please understand the amount of variables to that request. I have been remodeling for over 30 years and would be a bit quicker than a first timer . The costs of materials are also hard to guage . Some distributors have sales, some sell through discount websites and some are at the ” Big box ” retail outlets. That changes the pricing a lot.
    I can say on “average”
    Cable systems for under tile are a bit less expensive than mats,BUT, here’s the variable, they will take a little longer to install. A person will need to factor in value of their time when considering. I also will state, from personal experience, that you will never be sorry that you installed under floor heating.

  4. Phil Green Post author

    I gave it a little more thought and will write something later. Just wanted to “prime the pump” by saying, Floor heat falls under “discretionary” when considered in a remodel project. Things like running water and a toilet are not.Because of that, it should be looked at more as a line item, not per square foot. Think of a 24″ vanity that costs $400 – It takes up about 4 sq.ft so you pay $100/sq.ft. Or, a $300 toilet that takes up 2 sq.ft- That’s $150/sq.ft. Get it? Again,I will try to do my homework and provide a better explanation and attempt a generic cost to install/time/materials for comparison.

  5. Phil Green Post author

    Hi Mary,
    I have used at least 8 different brands.
    Cable , Mat , cut and turn mats with mesh.
    All have been easy ( for me ) to work with. Customer service can be a factor that determines a floor heat company choice as well as availability. Some of the “Big Box” stores have floor heat cash and carry. If you bought online , most ship in a few days. I’m sorry but I need to be a little elusive here and not put one company up against another. Sorry.

  6. Phil

    I have three different areas with floor heat. Thermosoft in my master, Suntouch in a hall bath and WarmlyYours in a laundry room. I like Laticrete , have installed NuHeat, Warmtiles and Warmup. Every system works well and warms the tiles

  7. Sergey

    Phil,
    Thank you very much for such a valuable post. I have always wanted to install electric heated floor in my bathroom, but had no Idea where to start. After reading your post, I feel very confident that I can do it. Thanks.

  8. Hunter

    Hi Phil,

    We have a system in our pool house but it takes forever to heat up, literally an hour. Of the systems you have installed, which one heats of the quickest in your opinion?
    Thanks

    1. Phil Green Post author

      Hunter, You said “in your pool house” Is it hydronic ( water ) heat? Electric floor heat works best of course under tiles INSIDE controlled temperature spaces.
      The addition of some type of “thermal break” under the floor would aide in quicker warming of the system

  9. CRSpecialtiesLLC

    Phil,
    I have a customer that would like floor heat under laminate (click together) flooring. I’m wondering if any of the products you listed above are of the sort that it is a heat and underlayment pad all in 1? From what I have researched the films require an additional moisture barrier. I’m curious about the Warmly yours environ flex roll. Thanks!

  10. Rick

    thank you Phil,this was informative, am always looking for new information on products so that I can make suggestions to my customers that might want to put in a heated floors and need the electrical wiring to make it happen,thanks

  11. al p

    I am installing cork floors in a bathroom, and we’ve decided we want to heat the floors. I’m seeing conflicting info about how possible it is to use electric heat under cork floors. Do you have any guidance? Do I simply need to discuss it with each floor manufacturer, as it is the cork floor that is the variable? Or is there also variability in the floor heating systems that I need to factor in? Many thanks for your thoughts.

  12. Mike

    Phil — Have you ever used anything outdoors? I am interested in getting a heated driveway for the purpose of a “snow melt”. Specifically we were thinking about doing a paver driveway for a large driveway surface (about 2500 square feet) and with the inherent issues with pavers and shoveling, etc. we were thinking about doing a heated driveway. I saw that Warmly Yours has a heated driveway option with cables. Have you used it or installed it before? Does it actually work to prevent snow accumulation if turned on before a snowfall? What about the other systems? Would love to hear your thoughts on this

  13. Phil Green

    Mike,
    I have NOT installed any exterior snow melt systems so I may not be the best one to answer this question. You mentioned Warmly Yours and YES, they DO have a system. If I may insert a personal observation here. You say 2500 sq.ft of pavers driveway? The amount of electricity needed to run a system for that large amount would most likely require it’s OWN 200amp service. That is a cost that MUST be figured into snow melt systems.

  14. Kevin

    Glad I came across this article. I bought the type sold here in Canada at my local Home Depot that goes by the name TrueComfort. I noticed it is not on your list above. I’m now going to investigate/research more on the other companies you listed just to do some comparing. Thanks for writing this article!

  15. BOBBY

    Phil

    I have a 22ft motorhome that I would like to use for winter camping. Your thoughts on the feasibility/efficiency of using one 12in. wide x 12ft long element covered with carpet that can be taken up in the Spring. One strip is all the room available with without major modifications.

    1. Phil Green Post author

      Bobby, SORRY for the delay in response>. I don’t check in here as often as I should. No, I don’t think a use of a floor heat system under carpet would be acceptable and MAYBE a fire hazard. They are DESIGNED to be encapsulated in thin set

  16. wanda

    Hi Philip
    Thanks for your blog. It really enlightens me for putting a heated system in my home.
    I was given Warmtiles (Easy Heating) by my contractor. But i read the warrant. It does not cover part or labour if the system does not work. I start to worry about it. Can you please tell me which systems give consumer more warrant or peace of mind?
    Regards
    wanda

    1. Phil Green Post author

      Wanda, I have installed Warm Tiles systems. The great thing about ANY of the electric floor heat systems are that there are NO MOVING PARTS to wear out. I would install a second floor sensor that is NOT hooked up and left in the box as a BACK UP.

  17. Chris

    Hi, I read some comments about “overheating” the floor by putting flat items on them like a stack of magazines, or moving a piece of furniture over a heated areas. Have you any experience here in mat vs thin film or have you ever had a problem? Thanks.

    1. Phil Green Post author

      Chris, IF you stack magazines or install a vanity over the heated area it DOES build up the heat. That is why it is not recommended to put floor heat under permanent fixtures. Magazines or a rubber backed rug will be warmer under them but I doubt enough to cause damage. I personally have NOT installed film so I can’t give you an accurate comparison.

  18. Bob North Nagode

    Great article. ‘Almost became one of those who did not pull the trigger on a heated floor. Thanks to my brother, who’s installed a few of these I searched and found your site. It’s pretty much a no brainer!!

    Bob

  19. Phil Green Post author

    Sorry that I have been AWOL a little on this thread. As far as putting products over floor heat causing them to “overheat”
    It is NOT recommended to install permanent fixtures over floor heat , like cabinets, toilets….SOME rubber backed rugs will also hold the heat in causing the floor to have an extreme “hot” area but in my talks with reps from many of the companies, this WIL NOT in itself cause the floor heat to overheat and fail…. Once installed and protected there are NO moving parts to a floor heat system so chance of failure WITHOUT any external cause is rare. A quick tip, Install a second temperature probe when putting in your system. You will leave this second one UNHOOKED and it will just be insurance as a back-up.

  20. Helmut

    Phil,
    Thx for your insights. We are putting in engineered hardwoods. Our contractor recommends to glue them down on thinset as it provides a more solid feel. Which electric heating product do you recommend for this? I like Calorique or Infrafloor films due to the low profile and even heat distribution, but don’t know how reliable these products/companies are. Any guidance would be highly appreciated. Leaving in mild Bay Area climate and would like to replace forced akr entirely.
    Best,
    Helmut

  21. Helmut

    Phil,
    Thx for response. Do you think these films will last as long as a cable or Mat? Which technology of the three would you choose?
    Best,
    H

  22. Helmut

    Phil,
    The floor manufacturer is ok with gluing and heating. I am just wondering whether film is better as the heat is well distributed over the entire surface and not concentrated on the small area of the cable. On the other hand, I am wondering whether film is as prooven as film and will last as long as cables. Would be great to get your thoughts.
    Best,
    H

  23. Gregory Willard

    Heated floors have always been something that I want in my house. I had no idea that mats are the most common type of heated flooring. It would be nice to be able to walk around barefoot in the winter and not have cold floors.

  24. b

    Phil,
    I’m planning on putting laminate over top of some sort of electric heat system. i noticed that the ‘Warmup’ brand does not need to be covered with thinset. however do systems that use thinset:
    -heat up faster
    -use less power
    -provide more heat
    Thx
    B

    1. Phil Green

      B, Can you tell me exactly which Warmup product you have found that you plan to use? I am actually at a trade show and Warmup is here and I know them and can ask your question directly to the technical support person and get you an official answer

  25. b

    Hi Phil,
    Sorry for the delay. I’m not sure which product it was. I spoke to a sales rep in Toronto, looking for general info: 1 (888) 592-7687
    Thx.

  26. Mike B

    We have installed a Quiet-warmth mat style under a laminate floor. We have a dedicated circuit breaker along with a GFCI thermostat. When turning on the system we hear a buzz or a hum. It is very low volume and the floor heats up well. Any thoughts ? Not very quiet.

  27. Cassandra

    I have perhaps been over thinking my options for months and it’s time to order tile element and start. Love your weigh in. I am installing cable heat 220v over concrete slab (with cracks to patch a little leveling with thin set as we tile. Issue should I install the cork 1/8″ thick then prodeso type membrane then porcelain tile or skip cork all together or skip prodeso membrane? This is for living room main kitchen area we will tile additional 260sq ft in same tile area so rather not have level changes but membrane is expensive. Which is best route to do if(when)I get a cracked tile to replace without hitting heating cable? Thank you. Cass

    1. Phil Green Post author

      Cass,
      This is just MY opinion. But that is what you asked for. If you are using a 220v system I would skip the CORK portion of your assembly. Prodeso is BOTH a crack isolation AND the material for you to string your cable. So by serving both purposes, you are ADDING insurance that you won’t get any resulting “cracks” in your tile so that answers your concern about changing out a tile that has floor heat. Here is a trick. I hope it makes sense to you. Prodeso can be “pre-filled” with thin set and then allowed to DRY before you tile. USE A WHITE thinset for this. Then use a GREY thinset for your tile install. IF YOU CRACK A TILE THAT NEED TO BE CHANGED, you can tell from the color of the thinset how deep you are into the floor. When you hit the WHITE thinset, you know that is where your heat cable is so you stop at that depth. does that make sense to you? Good luck with your project and I hope this helps.. Phil

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