As a contractor, I can't help it, but when I walk into a home, I...
In-Floor Warming Systems by Sherry Holmes
By Sherry Holmes
Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 @ 3:48pm
As a Holmes crewmember, I’m often asked about different products that we use on our shows. One of the most commonly asked questions I hear is, ‘What’s the orange stuff you use in bathrooms?’ Well, the orange stuff is what keeps our feet warm.
If you watched Holmes+Holmes Season 1 (or any of our bathroom renovation jobs for that matter), then you know what I’m referring to. The orange products that you always see us using on our shows are Schluter systems products. I’ve been using Schluter systems for years and am always amazed at how well they perform and the advancements Schluter continues to make.
Heated Tile Floors
Over the last several years, heated tile floors and in-floor warming systems have become a popular trend in homes across the globe. You may have seen floor heating systems installed in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas where tile is installed. Before new and advanced technology took effect, in-floor warming systems were only considered for pre-construction builds. Today they can easily be installed in an existing home. I’ve even installed a lot of them personally. While lots of people may still think about this as a luxury feature, they offer a lot of benefits for your home.
Types of In Floor Heating Systems
There are two types of underfloor heating systems – electric and water-based systems.
Electric floor warming systems use cables or resistance wire heated by electricity, while water-based systems circulate water from a boiler or water heater through polyethylene tubing below the floor. Another difference is that the electric systems are normally designed to warm the floor, while the water (hydronic) systems actually heat the room and can replace other central heating systems.
You know how heat rises? That’s how hydronic floor warming works, warming a room from the floor up – spreading it evenly throughout the whole room. In-floor warming systems don’t need to run as high or cycle on and off like conventional furnaces and radiators have to do, to keep things warm.
Electric floor warming systems, on the other hand, provide consistent temperature, so you don’t get hot or cold spots on the floor. Plus, walking on a warm floor on a cold winter’s morning just makes me feel the chill a lot less.
These systems are energy efficient, which means lower energy bills each month – and now that I’m a homeowner, I really appreciated those savings.
Choose Your In Floor Heating wisely
I’m the tiler of the Holmes family, so I love that stone and tile floors are especially known to keep their heat, meaning floor warming systems work more efficiently. If you’ve seen heated floors before, you’ll notice that you often see them installed in bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms that have tile flooring.
Schluter’s electric floor warming system includes uncoupling technology in their DITRA-HEAT line, which keeps your tiled floors and grout from cracking. I may love tiling but I don’t love having to redo my work, so I used DITRA-HEAT in a lot of our jobs.
The Future of Heated Floors
Floor warming systems are programmed using a separate thermostat from your furnace. The system attains the desired temperature that you set, providing a comfortable and consistent temperature without overheating.
Nothing is better than a hot bath after a cold day on the job site – but who likes putting their bare feet on a cold tile? This year, I stopped by the Schluter booth at the International Builder’s Show and was blown away by the advancements Schluter has made, especially with their latest touchscreen, programmable DITRA-HEAT Wi-Fi Thermostat. The thermostat controls your DITRA-HEAT in-floor warming system. It provides convenience, control, and easy access to my in-floor heating system from my mobile device, meaning that before I come home after a long day, I can make sure my heat is turned up and ready to go, while I warm my tub. I absolutely love the new thermostat and can’t wait to use it for one of our jobs and at home.
Other Bathroom Features to consider
When going through a bathroom remodel, consider some other features that will improve the functionality of your bathroom:
- Do you want to create a partition between your shower and the rest of your bathroom? You may want to install a knee wall.
- Are you installing a curbless shower? Think about your shower drain choices.
- Do you really want to spend that much money on your fancy finishes? Think about installing a high efficiency toilet instead.
- Do you have young children? If yes, you may have to hold on to that tub in your house.
- Do you need extra storage in your shower? You should install a shower niche.
Whatever your bathroom remodel looks like, NEVER attempt home improvement projects yourself unless you are the skills to do so professionally. You can cause a lot of structural damage if your bathroom isn’t installed well. And if you decide to hire a professional? Do your research on them and read these tips on how to hire a contractor.