Let’s talk tile floors for a moment, here. Tile floors provide that clean, beautiful, natural feel for any room. They’re popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms because they protect the floors from water damage, keep the floors from becoming slippery, and there are plenty of stunning options available for every taste and style. But tile itself is only a portion of the luxury that awaits your new floors.
What is Radiant Flooring
Radiant floors are on everybody’s remodel wish list lately. Radiant heating, in the case of bathroom flooring, is a layer of heating beneath the floor that amplifies the heat from a heating source and distributes it across an entire floor. Examples of these systems can be found from NuHeat and from Schluter. As a result of this wonderful heating system, your bathroom floor is as warm as summer beach sand every time you walk on it. In other words: no more frozen feet in the mornings!
Aside from being a treat every time you walk into your bathroom or kitchen, radiant heated floors have other benefits as well. For one, they’re warmer than normal flooring, therefore they help keep the floor dry as they help the water evaporate faster. Beyond that, radiant heated floors are also an eco-friendly approach to heating. According to energy.gov, “It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses. People with allergies often prefer radiant heat because it doesn’t distribute allergens like forced air systems can.”
The Difficulties of Radiant Flooring and Tile
There are numerous ways in which people use radiant heat in their home. It can be used in walls, floors, with carpet, and more. But by far, the most common way that radiant heating is used is underneath ceramic tile in the bathroom. Ceramic tile is a popular choice to use with radiant heating because it works well as a conductor for heat (meaning you save energy and have more heat) and actually stores some of the heat so it doesn’t require the heater to continuously run. It’s also a popular choice for the variety of styles, shapes, and aesthetics, as well as for its durability and ability to protect the system below. For the most efficiency and best payoff, ceramic tile is the best bet.
However, installing a radiant heating system in the floor and tiles on top of it isn’t a walk in the park for the Do It Yourself-er. There are numerous reasons why people shy away from taking this task on themselves. For one, there is a laundry list of steps to take to ensure that the system is installed correctly. Any misstep can result in an equally long list of problems, such as appliances and fixture sinking, uneven heating, and leaking, that will likely require replacing the entire floor and heating system. There are also specific products and instructions that need to be obtained, and some of those products like priming and mesh aren’t easily found at local hardware stores. Tile and radiant heated floors are a wonderful combination, but the installation is best left to professionals.
Go with a Pro
When in doubt, it’s best to go with a pro. This is especially true for tricky, detailed projects like radiant floor heating coupled with tile. While it might be above budget for your renovation project, or might bring it close, it’s a lot cheaper to hire a professional who’s going to do it right the first time. The cost of ripping up your new flooring when something goes wrong and needing to get the supplies to do it all over again can over double your project cost. If you’re gifting yourself the luxury of a heated tile floor in your bathroom or kitchen, you deserve to give yourself the luxury of making the installation process somebody else’s responsibility. Life’s a lot easier when you go with a pro!
Tile Installer, guitar player, universe explorer.