Remodeling a Bathroom with Radiant Floor Heating Remodeling a Bathroom with Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating ensures that when you step out of your warm/hot shower, you are not stepping onto a cold floor. Simply put, radiant floor heating keeps your bathroom floor warm. In fact, electronic radiant floor heating can keep the entire bathroom (floor to ceiling) warm, turning your average bathroom into a spa. Radiant floor heating has gained considerable popularity because it provides a uniform temperature throughout the room, and unlike conventional air heaters, the heat and warmth of this system can actually be felt through your toes.
Types of Radiant Floor Heating
You can install either an electric or hydronic floor heating system. In an electric radiant floor heating system, electricity resistant panels, mostly coils, are wrapped in mesh rolls and installed beneath the flooring. These panels will be positioned to ensure uniform distribution of heat across the flooring of the bathroom. A hydronic system, on the other hand, will transmit heat through flexible tubes that contain heated or boiled water. In this type of floor heating, the water is heated in a water heater and the heating happens as a result of energy absorption from the tubes.
Electric vs. Hydronic
An electric system is cheaper and much easier to install than a hydronic one. However, an electric system will also use up energy; conversely, the water required in a hydronic system can be heated through any means. Also, in a hydronic system, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of heated floor as long as the water in the tubes is warm. In an electric system, residual warmth is minimal.
That said, an electric system is only expensive if used to warm a large area. In a standard size bathroom, the energy costs are pretty reasonable and, given the ease of installation and usage, it is the sensible choice. Also, there are several floor heating systems that come with programmed thermostat control, which means you can control the temperature of the floor as well the amount of time your floor should remain warm.
Things to Consider
Discuss with a contractor and ascertain the type of floor heating that is best suited for your home, not only in terms of flooring, wiring, and installation logistics but also in terms of cost-benefit. A large bathroom area will mean increased energy usage, and from a long term perspective, perhaps a hydronic system will make more sense.
In strict economical terms, it is more viable to install floor heating as a part of your bathroom remodeling project. Floor heating systems involve placing heating elements or tubes under your tiles or stone flooring; so, while you can do it even without a major remodeling, it makes more sense to do it when you're working on the bathroom as a whole.
These systems are fairly easy to install. In fact, an electric system can be installed by a regular electrician or your contractor. In any case, there are several companies offering electric and hydronic floor heating systems and some of them even offer consultation and installation as part of the package.