Nobody wants to have cold feet, which is part of the reason why floor heating, whether electric/radiant or hydronic, has become a popular trend for home renovators and builders. It’s for good reason: floor heating has some really great benefits! On top of toasty toes, floor heating is energy efficient, easy to install, and provides uniform heating and minimal maintenance.
However, there are a few drawbacks to getting your floors into the 21st century. The cost can be quite significant and floors have to be removed for any installation. So is it really worth it? Below, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of floor heating so you can make an informed decision.
Heated Tile Floor Pros and Cons
- Uniform heating
One of the best aspects of a floor heating system is its ability to uniformly heat a floor and room. This means you can keep your thermostat at a lower temperature since you won’t experience any drafts.
- No maintenance
Floor heating systems don’t require any maintenance and tend to have extensive warranties, typically around 25 years. Better yet, if there is any damage, a professional can use a thermal imaging camera to locate the problem and fix the repair quickly.
- Energy efficient
Electric floor heating systems have been found to be 25% more efficient than forced-air systems. This is because all of the heat produced is retained. So do heated floors use a lot of electricity? Nope! In a typical bathroom, it costs less than a dollar a day to run the system. Best of all, you can heat an entire house with radiant floor heating.
- Easy to install
Electric floor heating systems are really easy to install and can even be done without the help of a professional. Several heating systems are available. One involves a heating cable attached to mesh, which means all you have to do is roll it out and cut to fit the necessary dimensions of your floor. Another option is a loose cable with an installation membrane that comes with studs to hold the cable in place. Thankfully, since the system in under the floor you don’t have to worry about how it looks!
Radiant floor heating can be expensive upfront: most systems generally cost between $10 and $20 per square foot. This could be viewed as an investment, but if your electricity prices are high, the cost of operating your heated floor could be a bigger problem. Thankfully, most systems are controlled with a thermostat to help you save energy and money, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
The type of heating system you install will also affect costs. Hydronic floor heating is generally more expensive than radiant floor heating up front, but uses less energy, which will help your wallet in the long run.
- Elevated floor height
For some, this may be a non-issue but it’s important to note that installing a heated floor could elevate your floor from 1/8 of an inch to 1/2 inch. This height difference will depend on whether you use an installation membrane or underlayment. Overall, you shouldn’t see more than a half-inch raise, unless you go with a hydronic floor heating system which requires a much more significant raise.
- Flooring must be replaced
If you’re remodeling a home and already planning to rip out the dated, vinyl flooring, replacing your floors may not be a problem. However, if you’re happy with your current floors, just know that they will need to be removed before any floor heating can be installed. It may be wise to wait until a remodel or during a new-home construction to tackle this project.
Is Floor Heating Worth It?
Still have cold feet about making an investment in hydroponic or radiant floor heating? Remember, in-floor heat can be a great way to keep your home, or at least select rooms, warm throughout the cold season. But if you’re not already remodeling, tearing out your existing floor can be time-consuming and expensive. Knowing the heated tile floor pros and cons can help you decide whether or not it is truly right for you.