Radiant flooring systems heat up Indianapolis bathrooms
In recent years, radiant flooring systems have become more popular in bathrooms as a luxury option. As more people are aware of them, I get more questions about them. They’ve been widely available for several years, but for about three years, I’ve been installing them more frequently in bathroom remodeling projects.
We put radiant heating directly under the floor. It warms from the floor up via flexible piping or electric cables, and is different than a conventional heating system that only heats the air. Radiant systems heat the floor so it’s warm to the touch, which is appealing to some people. Ceramic tile can be cold to walk on, but this type of heating eliminates that. It gets toasty in just a few minutes, and when your feet are warm, the rest of your body stays warm. Because heat rises, the system can sometimes heat the room as well. I’ve had customers tell me they don’t need an extra heater in a room with radiant heat. My clients also like that the system has its own programmable thermostat, so they can set the temperature and time they want it to turn on and off.Some customers are surprised they have two different options for systems: electric or water-based. In bathrooms, I choose only to install electric. Hot water systems are much more involved and heat entire houses. With electric radiant heating, you install a mesh or wire underneath the floor tile. Once the cement board is down, we run the wire across the floor every 2 inches in a bed of mortar, and the ceramic tile goes on top of that.Everything goes under the tile, so the only visible part is the programmable thermostat. With no moving parts, you can expect a radiant system to last a long time. The only part you’ll likely need to replace at some point is the thermostat. I haven’t found any downside or disadvantages to radiant heating so far. Because it’s electric, it doesn’t make any noise.The cost varies a great deal, but for an electric-based bathroom system, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 installed. The cost is based on a number of factors, including the size of the room and how far away you are from the electrical breaker box. That has a big influence on price, because radiant heating needs to be on its own devoted electrical line. If you have to run a wire from the far end of the house all the way up to a second story, it’s probably not going to be worth the cost. You’ll spend less on a system if you do it as part of a larger bathroom remodel, since you’ll already be pulling up floor and laying down cement board and tile.Not all remodelers have experience with radiant technology. It’s important that homeowners find a contractor familiar with radiant technology to do the installation and calculate the system requirements based on the square footage of the bathroom.It’s definitely a luxury item and not something you have to add to a remodel, but if you have the money to put in a heated floor, it can be a comfortable experience.BDan Updike owns highly rated Updike Bathroom Remodeling in Indianapolis, which has renovated bathrooms since 1959. He began working with his father in 1981 and took over the business nearly 25 years ago.