While we have just endured the longest heat wave of the summer to date, the colder weather is not too far off. There is much to love about this time of year, but there is one thing that no one looks forward to. We’re speaking, of course, about the jolting chill of walking on cold tile flooring during the winter months.
Fortunately, radiant heated floors, or under floor heating, allow you to avoid the uncomfortable journey from the bedroom to the shower and back with no slippers required. Under floor heating has found its way into virtually every room in the house and even your outdoor spaces. While many hear the term “heated floors” and think of a luxury reserved for the rich, you may be surprised at how affordable – and practical – heated floors have become. Here are five facts you need know about heated flooring right now:
Heated floors are nothing new
The idea of radiant heating is old. Very old. Radiant heating dates all the way back to Ancient Rome, when fires were built under lofted homes and heat was filtered up through ceramic pipes – warming the house without polluting the air. Although this system was highly inefficient, it served as an early precursor to the radiant heating systems that we use today.
Heated flooring is efficient
Forced air HVAC systems heat houses by introducing warm air, which quickly rises to the highest point in a room or house. The result is a significant amount of energy being used to heat an entire room. HVAC systems also maintain temperature by turning on and off intermittently, which results in temperatures varying between too warm and too cold throughout the day. HVAC systems also waste a significant amount of energy through the duct-work between rooms in the house.
Conversely, radiant heating heats from the ground up at a constant temperature, so the warmth is always close. While replacing your HVAC system entirely with a radiant heating system may not be feasible, floor heating can be used to effectively supplement the HVAC in your house and reduce your heating costs.
Heated flooring costs less than you think
Heated flooring used to work by running heated water through copper pipes embedded into the groundwork of a house or room. The result was very expensive, easily damaged due to shifting subfloors, and was really only possible to install during the original construction. While more modern systems are still available, new electrically heated floors have been developed that can be installed for a fraction of the price of earlier systems. These electric heating systems range from pre-cut mats that can be linked together to fit a room’s specific dimensions to systems that integrate heating elements into a decoupling membrane beneath the tile.
Heated flooring is easy to install
Part of the reason for the lowered cost in radiant heating systems is the ease with which they can now be installed. While earlier systems required major work to be done to install, newer systems can be installed easily when installing a new floor with very little additional labor costs. The system is simply placed in the thin set, and controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat. This means that installing a floor heating system isn’t limited to the time during original construction, but it can also be done quickly and easily anytime a renovation is being done and the floor is being updated.
Heated flooring can go in most rooms and even outdoors
Most people think of heated flooring being installed in the bathroom, but it can also be installed in other rooms given the right flooring. While it is possible to install a radiant heating system under hardwood floors, the changes in temperature can lead to warping or gaps created in the wood. Luckily, porcelain wood look tiles provide the beauty of wood with the conductivity of porcelain, so you can enjoy heated floors in nearly any space without sacrificing style! Many homeowners enjoy heated flooring in their basements, kitchens, or even bedrooms. In colder climates, many homeowners are installing heated flooring in their driveways and walkways thereby eliminating the need to shovel snow.
Tiles Unlimited, voted Best Tile Store in the 2016 Best of LI competition, recommends Warmup under floor heating. Warmup is the world’s best-selling electric floor heating brand, whose products can be used indoors and offer a host of products for outdoor use in driveways, pipes, roofs and gutters. When you’re here, ask us to recommend a Warmup Certified Installer. QNS.com readers can save up to $600 on tile by clicking here.