Putting an electric floor warming system in the bathroom is becoming increasingly popular in new and renovated homes – and for good reason. Stepping onto a warm floor is far more comfortable than stepping onto a freezing cold surface, and electric floor warming systems also act as a great supplement to your existing heat source, which is particularly helpful in bathrooms located in cold parts of the house (basements, corners of the house, above garages, etc.). But should you put one of these systems in your home? Here are some things to think about.
Heated Bathroom Floors – Pros and Cons
- Produces a smooth, even heat.
- Works well with traditional bathroom flooring materials.
- Acts as a great supplement to your existing heat source.
- Adds a sense of luxury and comfort.
- Requires tearing up the existing floor to install (which is why it’s ideal to install during a renovation).
- In the unlikely event that something goes wrong you may have to remove some or all of the flooring. Depending on the issue it could be an easy fix.
- Higher initial costs than a forced air furnace (however you’ll see savings over time).
Heated Floors – Installation
While some highly experienced DIYers can take on the job of installation I highly recommend having it installed by a professional. Improper installation can lead to serious issues and fixing them can be a big headache. A professional installer will perform a resistance test before covering the heating elements. This will ensure the system is working properly and none of the mechanics have been compromised during installation. If you skip this test and discover after the fact that there’s a problem your only option is to tear out the floor and start again.
I personally prefer to use Ditra Heat by Schluter Systems. It’s an electric system that incorporates uncoupling technology to ensure floors aren’t susceptible to cracks. The cables can be placed wherever heat is desire so that you can completely customize it for your room. Since bathrooms tend to be awkward spaces, the ability to customize is a big plus.
Best Flooring Materials To Use
Technically all flooring materials can be used, but some definitely work better than others. Electric systems are best covered by ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles, which are excellent temperature conductors. They’re also the best floors for bathrooms in general, so it’s a no-brainer. Engineered hardwood,vinyl, and laminate can also be used but they come with temperature limitations, so you need to work with experienced installers who can advise you.
Heated Bathroom Floors ROI
There’s no doubt that heated bathroom floors are a nice upgrade, and if you can afford it it’s a really nice luxury. But despite this, they don’t necessarily give you a great return on investment (financially speaking). The exception is when it’s in a bathroom that lacks another heat source. When this is the case they can transform a bathroom that is a bit of a liability into a quality space in the home.
Having said this, despite the fact that they won’t necessarily get you a 100% return on your investment, they can definitely help your house seem more appealing to potential buyers and ultimately help sell your house. I’ve installed them in a number of income properties and they certainly helped to get the spaces rented. My personal opinion is that if you’re remodelling your bathroom and replacing the floors anyway, a heated system can definitely be worth the expense.
All photos courtesy of Skit inc and HGTV Canada’s Moving the McGillivrays.