A contractor installing heated floors in a family home.

9 Steps for DIY Heated Floors

What is In Floor Heating?

In some parts of the USA, winter can be unbearably cold. Proper heating for your home is essential. Many homes now have in floor heating instead of (or as well as) furnaces and/or radiators.

Traditional heating systems can become rather costly, require maintenance, and can leave your home with cold areas. Therefore, underfloor or in floor heating can be a better option if you are looking to build a new home or are redoing your flooring.

Benefits of In Floor Heating

One of the benefits of in floor heating is the cost. Long term, it is much more cost effective even though the initial installation can be rather pricey depending on whether you decide to use an electric in floor system or a hydronic (hot water) system.

Another benefit is that it distributes the heat evenly throughout the floor, and with warm air rising, it will ensure that the entire room stays a pleasant temperature with no cold spots. Forced-air heating systems only heat the air, leaving your tiled floor unbearable to walk on. The in floor heating system can also be regulated with a thermostat to the exact room temperature that is comfortable for you.

There is also no maintenance required for in floor heating, it is non-allergenic, there is no noise (which we often get from forced-air appliances), and it is much more energy efficient.

These systems are also easy to install, and you can even do it yourself if you’re handy.

How to DIY In Floor Heating

If you are installing in floor heating into a smaller area such as a bathroom, then it can be easy to do it yourself. However, if you want in floor heating throughout your house or for a total home remodel, then it’s advisable to get a professional contractor to do it for you.

Here’s how you can do your own DIY electric radiant in floor heating:

  1. Floor plan: Measure the areas that you’ll be heating and eliminate objects such as the toilet, vanity, cabinets, etc. Once you’ve got the measurements, you can send them to Warmly Yours online and they will send you a customized floor plan along with their recommended product according to the area you want heated.
  2. Order your materials: Your floor plan will indicate the exact product and materials that you’ll need.
  3. Test the products: To ensure safety and quality it is recommended that you test the products once they’ve arrived.
  4. Inspect the floor: Sharp edges and pointed objects such as exposed nails can damage the heating element, so you need to ensure that your floor is clear of any obstructions.
  5. Begin installation: Your in floor heating system will come with clear instructions that you can follow. Roll out the mesh in the correct direction, and keep in mind that the heating cable should be face down to avoid damaging it during the installation process. Extra care must be taken when rounding a curving area so as not to damage the heating cable. After trimming the tape, you need to separate the heating element and remove the mesh. Then you place the heating element in a serpentine design with your hand and attach it to the floor with tape or hot glue. It is recommended to keep 3-inch spacing for the highest watt density.
  6. Install the sensor: Make sure that you do not overlap any of the cables when you put the sensor in place, positioning it between the cables.
  7. Test again: Now you can test the rolls again with a digital ohmmeter to make sure they are working correctly. This is a very important step so don’t skip it.
  8. Connect to the thermostat: If you know how, you can wire the thermostat using the instructions. Otherwise, contact an electrician to complete this step.
  9. Install the flooring: Finally, you can complete your project by installing the floor that you want in this area. If you install tile, make sure that you’ve waited long enough for the grout to cure before turning on your brand new in floor heating system.

Hiring a Contractor

Not up for doing it yourself? Finding a professional contractor to complete the job is simple enough. Start by doing a quick Google search to find well-established companies nearby who offer this service.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a company to install your heating system is finding someone with a proven track record of completing similar jobs safely and correctly. When researching various companies online, be sure to read the customer reviews to get a better idea of the service the company offers.

Something else to keep in mind is that some contractors don’t do the final step of connecting the electrical system, so you may need to hire an electrician to do that for you. However, many contractors do offer the full package and an electrician would not be required.

You can find a Dealer/Installer Database on the Warmly Yours website which is extremely helpful in finding the right contractor for your project. There are also many Home and Remodeling sites such as Porch.com which will give you sufficient information, pricing and guidelines when choosing the right company for your in-floor heating.

A few companies to consider are Orbit Radiant Heating, Radiantec, SunTouch, Warmly Yours and ThermoSoft.