Installing Radiant Heated Floors
Floor Heating Products and Installation Tips
Electric floor heating systems are surprisingly easy to install. While it is recommended that a qualified electrician hook up the wiring, the heating element and flooring can be installed by any ambitious do-it-yourself homeowner.
ComfortTile floor heating cable is available in mats as well as off the spool. The cable is just ⅛-inch in diameter and can be installed directly in the thin set under tile floors. The mats feature pre-spaced cable that is woven into a durable fiberglass mesh so it can be rolled out for easy installation.
To make turns when laying out the floor heating mats, simply cut the mesh backing and turn the mat accordingly, as shown in the photo below. (Never cut the heat cable.)
When installing heat cable off the spool, the cable is secured to the floor using thin metal strips (cable straps) that are nailed or screwed to the floor (see photo below). These straps have small tabs in them where the heat cable is placed. Simply bend the tab over the cable to secure it.
Ideal for heating under laminate and engineered wood flooring, installation of a heated floor with HeatShield floor insulation panels is a snap. The floor heating panels consist of insulated aluminum plates that easily snap together across the length of the floor. The panels have pre-cut grooves for the heating cable, ensuring accurate spacing and allowing you to use ComfortTile heating cables without the use of mortar and thinset.
The floor insulation panels can also be sized on site. With no need for a mortar layer, HeatShield Panels can cut your installation time in half. Floor heating installers who have used HeatShield Panels reported that they were able to lay down 300 square feet of floor heating in under two hours, putting traditional radiant floor heating installation methods to shame.
If you have access to the floor joists from below, then you can install the RetroHeat floor heating element. When installing RetroHeat, the heating panels are cut to the required length and then stapled between the floor joists. The heating panels are available for joists in 12, 16, and 24-inch widths. (NOTE: Measurements are taken from the center of one joist to the other, not the distance in between the joists.)
After stapling the heating panels between the floor joists, the electrical connections are made and common batt insulation is installed underneath the heating element. The insulation enhances the energy efficiency by minimizing heat loss and directing the warmth upwards through the floor.