How to add floor heat to your bathroom or house Board & Vellum Blog

how to add floor heat to your bathroom or house

Even though our climate here in Seattle is pretty mild (as proof, ask anyone how comfortable they are when it gets above 75 or below 45 here and the answer is bound to be not very), we LOVE heated floors.  Out of all the requests I get for a remodeled space, heated floors in bathrooms have to be right in the top 5 (the other top 5?  Thats probably a good blog post at some point so youll have to wait!).  No matter how not too cold are floors actually are, having them be warm enough to step on and feel warmth beneath your toes is just pretty damn awesome.

Yet, somehow, heated floors are seen as this mythical and impossible luxury.  Let me just tell you a little design secret.

Theyre easy as can be and the quickest way to up the personal value of your home.  And why do I put personal value in quotes?  Because Id rather have you design a space that works for you than design one for some mythical future buyer of the house.  Enjoy yourself people!

So what do you need to get these mythical heated floors?

Basically, you have two options:

  1. Electric radiant floor heat.  This is a simple mat that get puts down under tile and over your subfloor and then wires to a control on your way (which should be programmable).  Tile is put over it and then BAM, you have heated floors.  Thats it!  If youre handy you could even do it yourself.  Being not handy I hire people who arent blessed with 9 thumbs and a pinky like myself.  Nuheat is my go to brand of choice and they are very affordable, reliable, and can provide you with custom sized floor mats for odd sized bathrooms or standard ones meant to fit in most of our bathrooms today.  Under $500 later (not including tile) and youre warm.  BAM!  Also, for a sweet trick, get the shower mat as well.  Why have your feet warm only on the floor?  Cold feet in a shower with hot water is pretty sad too!
  2. Hot water radiant floor heat.  This really only works if you are already heating your home by radiant hot water, either through the floor already or through radiators.  If it is just through radiators youll need to check to make sure you can send the different temperature water to the floor heat as it is heated to a different temperature than what goes into a radiator.  Either way, a specialist should be called in.  This really only makes sense if youre already installing it.  And, because heat isnt on in Seattle a good portion of the year, Id actually recommend laying an electric floor mat over the heat so you can control it when you want unless you put the hot water radiant floor heat on its own zone (you probably didnt).

So, as you can see, I think that electric floor heat is the way to go.  Electricity is pretty cheap here in the Northwest and it provides a super comfortable way to start or end your day.

And because I cant write this without thinking of my favorite floor heat story, it is also great for those times when you may be feeling a bit under the weather or, well, far too drunk.  As my good friend Gary once said, hugging the porcelain throne never felt so comfortable with your floor heat.  Thanks man!

Yes, yes indeed.  Take that little kernel of advice from your friendly neighborhood Architect and feel that much better about going down some electric floor heat once you remodel that bathroom of yours!

how to add floor heat to your bathroom or house

Even though our climate here in Seattle is pretty mild (as proof, ask anyone how comfortable they are when it gets above 75 or below 45 here and the answer is bound to be not very), we LOVE heated floors.  Out of all the requests I get for a remodeled space, heated floors in bathrooms have to be right in the top 5 (the other top 5?  Thats probably a good blog post at some point so youll have to wait!).  No matter how not too cold are floors actually are, having them be warm enough to step on and feel warmth beneath your toes is just pretty damn awesome.

Yet, somehow, heated floors are seen as this mythical and impossible luxury.  Let me just tell you a little design secret.

Theyre easy as can be and the quickest way to up the personal value of your home.  And why do I put personal value in quotes?  Because Id rather have you design a space that works for you than design one for some mythical future buyer of the house.  Enjoy yourself people!

So what do you need to get these mythical heated floors?

Basically, you have two options:

  1. Electric radiant floor heat.  This is a simple mat that get puts down under tile and over your subfloor and then wires to a control on your way (which should be programmable).  Tile is put over it and then BAM, you have heated floors.  Thats it!  If youre handy you could even do it yourself.  Being not handy I hire people who arent blessed with 9 thumbs and a pinky like myself.  Nuheat is my go to brand of choice and they are very affordable, reliable, and can provide you with custom sized floor mats for odd sized bathrooms or standard ones meant to fit in most of our bathrooms today.  Under $500 later (not including tile) and youre warm.  BAM!  Also, for a sweet trick, get the shower mat as well.  Why have your feet warm only on the floor?  Cold feet in a shower with hot water is pretty sad too!
  2. Hot water radiant floor heat.  This really only works if you are already heating your home by radiant hot water, either through the floor already or through radiators.  If it is just through radiators youll need to check to make sure you can send the different temperature water to the floor heat as it is heated to a different temperature than what goes into a radiator.  Either way, a specialist should be called in.  This really only makes sense if youre already installing it.  And, because heat isnt on in Seattle a good portion of the year, Id actually recommend laying an electric floor mat over the heat so you can control it when you want unless you put the hot water radiant floor heat on its own zone (you probably didnt).

So, as you can see, I think that electric floor heat is the way to go.  Electricity is pretty cheap here in the Northwest and it provides a super comfortable way to start or end your day.

And because I cant write this without thinking of my favorite floor heat story, it is also great for those times when you may be feeling a bit under the weather or, well, far too drunk.  As my good friend Gary once said, hugging the porcelain throne never felt so comfortable with your floor heat.  Thanks man!

Yes, yes indeed.  Take that little kernel of advice from your friendly neighborhood Architect and feel that much better about going down some electric floor heat once you remodel that bathroom of yours!

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