How to Install Radiant Heat Under a Ceramic Tile Floor

Radiant heaters.
  • 5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-200
What You'll Need
PEX (Polythene) 0.5 inch tubing
Concrete grooves
Water based central heating system with a boiler
Programmer to control the heating system
High resistance electric cables or heating mats

Under floor radiant heating is an efficient way to heat your home. It keeps the temperature of your home fixed at a comfortable level. If you want to install such a system under a ceramic tile floor, such as under a bathroom floor, follow the steps given below.

Step 1 - Take Appropriate Precautions

Before attempting to install a heating system, draft out a work plan after consulting blueprints for the room. If you are installing an electric under floor heating system then make sure that the main breaker or the breaker to that room is switched to off. In the case of a water-based heating system, make sure that the programmer you buy and the tubing you use is compatible with your central heating system.

Step 2 - Install a Water Based Radiant Heating System

Since there needs to be a concrete under floor for tile installation, you will have to make grooves in the concrete to guide the tubing around the room. Once you have done this, connect the ends of the pipe with the water inlets originating from the boiler. You might also need to install control valves to control the flow of water. Call in a heat contractor to inspect your work and approve of the compatibility of the programmer that you install. Ask the contractor to specifically check for leaks because leakage is the worst thing that could happen after the cement has been poured in to seal the piping.

Step 3 - Install an Electric Based Radian Heating System

You will be using high resistance electric cables or heating mats in this step to effectively install a heating system under a tiled floor. Guide the electric cables through the groves as done in the previous step to form a network of cables. Connect the cables to the programmer already connected with the main power outlet. This programmer will serve as a heat control switch that you can use to change the heat settings. Handle live wires only if you are confident in working with electricity. Call an electrician if you are unable to perform the task yourself.

Step 4 - Finish Up

After you have finished installing the tubing or cables, review every connection made and test-drive the heating system. If you spot a leak in the tubing or a sparking cable, ask a professional to trace the fault and repair it. Test-drive the heating system to see if the programmer and other components work in unison. If they don’t, call in a professional to help you out. After checking and rechecking the system, pour cement over the tubing or cables to seal it and fit ceramic tiles on to finish your floor.