Install a heated tile floor
Add a touch of warm luxury to your bath
Renovating a room or building one from scratch often gives you the freedom to include amenities you might not otherwise consider. So when my husband, Kevin, and I decided to put a bathroom in our basement, our wish list pretty much wrote itself.
“Whirlpool tub! Whirlpool tub!” I calmly suggested; the thought of getting into a relaxing whirlpool bath seemed irresistible. But, then again, the thought of getting out of the relaxing whirlpool bath was quite the opposite. Stepping onto cold ceramic tile, especially down in a basement, can literally send a chill up your spine. So Kevin recommended we install radiant floor heating, which would heat the bathroom floor tiles–and us–quietly and invisibly. Whirlpool tub… check! Heated floor…check!
Not a new concept, radiant floor heating has been in practice for centuries. Unlike conventional forced-air systems, which heat the air around you, radiant heat works like the sun, warming the actual object directly. Because radiant floor heating systems distribute heat evenly from the bottom up, venting or ductwork is not required, thus eliminating drafts and blowing dust. That also allows for more decorating flexibility.
For our one-room project, we chose an electric radiant floor heating system (see “Radiant Floor Resources” on next page). Instead of affixing heating wires directly to the substrate before covering them with mortar, we opted for a more convenient, easy-to-install electric mat, which already has the cable arranged in a serpentine pattern, that you sandwich between layers of thinset cement, then lay down your floor covering over top. The temperature is controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat.
Most companies have numerous standard-sized mats available or will custom-make a mat for you, which is what we had done. We provided our bathroom floor plan to Nuheat, which in turn sent us a final layout for our approval. Within a few days, our 1/8″-thick mat arrived; within a few hours, our heated flooring system was in place.