Can you imagine anything nicer than stepping out of a shower onto a lovely warm floor?
Many people prefer wood floors or even carpet in the bathroom to avoid having to put their tootsies on to cold ceramic tiles. However, both of these have disadvantages. Badly sealed wooden floors can warp with all that water, and carpet can go moldy or rot, whereas tiles are very practical and easy to keep clean. But, they are too often too cold to stand on unless you have the heat in the bathroom turned up high, and in these economical times who wants to do that? It is not only wasteful, but can be expensive to. So why not have underfloor heating instead and keep your bathroom really cozy?
Isn't It Dangerous?
People often put radiators under windows which can allow all that lovely, expensive heat to escape outside. However, as heat naturally rises it makes sense to have a heating system at floor level or under the floor instead of using wall radiators. Once an underfloor system is installed, costs are lower too, because the temperature control can be set about 4F (2C) lower than when you use radiators. This is because the surfaces are heated rather than the air, making the temperature in the whole room more comfortable, not to mention having a cozy floor to stand on as you get out of the shower!
If you are remodeling your bathroom or shower it's a great time to retrofit with underfloor heating using a electric mat system. This is fixed to the subfloor, and then a thick layer of tile adhesive laid over it so that you can put the floor tiles on as normal. You can buy 20sq ft of mat plus the thermostat for around $320 or less, and it costs under 2c an hour to run. And if you also install the recommended amount of insulation, you can reduce the running costs even further! You can buy loose cable systems but these can be trickier to install for the amateur. If you prefer to have a wooden floor instead of tiles there are special carbon film systems that are more suitable for wood.
If you are putting in a central heating system in a new house consider using an underfloor water based system to heat your whole home, not just the bathroom. It should only take about a third of the time of conventional systems to install, reducing labor costs, and the prices of the materials are similar. The running costs are about 25% cheaper overall so it can really pay in the long run. If you are looking at retrofitting a water based underfloor central heating system you probably need to call in the experts as it is a bit more complicated than a regular DIY job.
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