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Floor Warming Weather is Back!

 

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Every fall I enjoy watching the leaves change color, the temperatures drop and floor warming sales increase. I feel bad for those who pass up this luxury when designing in August because for me, while some obsess over pumpkin flavored everything, I'm excited to flip the switch and heat my bathroom floor to a cozy 85 degrees. So in my continuous effort to spread the word, here is what you need to know about heated tile.


Applications

Tile Floors

Heat a tile floor to 85 degrees and the tile literally feels softer. I know it's psychological but I don't care. It feels wonderful.

Tile Bench with Warming System InstalledShower Benches

Most shower benches rarely get used due to the significant temperature difference between the top surface of the bench and the bottom surface of the person sitting down. Since Nuheat's cables and mats are rated for submerged applications, why not add a small system to the top of the bench, giving your shower the luxurious heated seats that we enjoy in our cars?

Hardwood Floors

Assuming your hardwood and glue are up for it, we can glue hardwood over a heated cable that is encased in self level. If you use this method, we recommend turning on the 82 degree lockout so that we don't overheat your hardwood floor. If 82 degrees simply isn't enough, then install one of our Wood Solutions products and you can crank the heat up.

Laminate Floors

Just like hardwood, we can glue down a laminate floor over a cable that has been encased in self level. As with hardwood, make sure the laminate and adhesive are up for the challenge. We still recommend using the 82 degree lockout for a laminate floor.

Installation Methods

Self Level over Heat CablesSelf Level

Installing over concrete board or concrete slab? Fasten Nuheat cables using the included tracks and encase in self level. Then you get to start the installation on a flat substrate with the cables protected below the surface.

Nuheat matMats

The easiest method to add heat is through a manufactured mat. Heat wires encased in fiberglass install with ease just below the tile. We also offer custom mats so that a complicated layout can be installed in minutes instead of hours.

Grids

DitraHeatWith Schluter's launch of their DitraHeat system, the process of heating with cables is simpler than ever. Essentially, the grid is an uncoupling membrane that replaces the need for concrete board on a floor. The wires are woven through the grid and you're practically ready to start setting tile.



FAQ

How Expensive Is It?

For $500 in materials, you can add a thermostat and a small cable or mat to just about any tile installation. That is why we stock so many of the smaller mats and all of the cables because they're great for that last minute addition.

120 Volt vs 240 Volt – Which To Use?

240 Volt systems are generally for applications smaller than 300 sf

120 Volt systems are generally for applications smaller than 150 sf

Either system should have a dedicated circuit

How Do I heat Floors Larger Than 300 sf?

The largest 240 Volt systems are generally limited to 300 sf or less. For larger installations, you'll add additional circuits. Essentially 2 floor warming systems running in sync with the use of a relay. Need an area bigger than 600 sf? You guessed it - Add another circuit, relay and heat element.

How Much Power Will It Use?

Volts x Amps = Watts

120 Volts x .8 Amps = 96 Watts

Heating a shower bench uses less power than a 100 Watt light bulb

120 Volts x 9.5 Amp = 1140 Watts

Heating 100 sf of floor uses less power than my iron!

Most floor warming systems run around 12 Watts per sf, raising the surface temperature about 10-15 degrees. Some systems offer methods to increase the watts per sf to compensate for very cold substrates (basement floors, crawl spaces, overhangs, etc.) but don't overlook the option of insulation. Products like 170 Crack and Sound offer a level of insulation that will help the floor warming system break free from the normal surface temperature restrictions, making the ambient air temperature its biggest influence.

Inspections

Do you need one? Good question. The answer is most likely yes, but rules vary from one region to another. St Louis County? Definitely yes. Electricity can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Installing a warming cable or a mat onto a floor is pretty simple work. Connecting that cable or mat to 240 volts of electricity on the other hand should really be performed by an electrical professional.

Warranties

Every manufacturer has their own unique warranty with their own unique requirements. All of the systems we offer come from manufacturers with excellent reputations for service before and after the installation. That being said, it is important to understand the difference between a product warranty and a system warranty. A product warranty pertains to a single product used in an industry approved method. A system warranty applies to a collection of products that must be used together in a manufacturer approved method. System warranties range from 25 years to lifetime. Product warranties range from zero to 25 years depending on the rules of that manufacturer.

Why Trust Trends In Tile For Your Floor Warming Needs?

Our History With Floor Warming Is Extensive

We started stocking floor warming systems over 15 years ago. Back in my day, there weren't many established techniques for installing floor warming systems. At the time, Laticrete was making a grid and mortar system called Profloat. My father would teach installers to lay the wire over the subfloor, fasten the grid on top of the wires, and float a fiberglass reinforced mud into the grid. Unfortunately the product wasn't as exciting to the rest of the world as it was to us and it was only available for a few years.

He then adapted a self level method that is still used by many today. After installing a ¼" layer of Permabase across the subfloor, and then cutting another sheet into strips and fastening them around the perimeter of the room to create a "dam", all that remained was installing the cables, priming and pouring self level.

When Things Go Wrong

Although we preach that every system should be checked before, during and after the installation, sometimes things manage to go wrong anyway. We have helped find and resolve countless issues that have come up on jobsites. All we need to do is identify the location of the issue, remove one or more tiles, repair the break, and the system is suddenly working again.

Extra Testing We Do

Every system we put out the door is opened and tested and includes a printed sheet with those readings and illustrated instructions for the installers to do the same.

Fish Tank with Nuheat Installed

When Nuheat provided us with UL Certificates and instructions for shower installations, we knew legally our bases were covered. But since I was born and raised in The Show Me State, I felt the need to see it for myself. So I installed a small cable into a fish tank, submerged the wire in water and energized the thermostat. We've been cooking this system over 100 degrees and have had no issues to date.

Conclusion

Don't overlook a floor warming system to turn your most durable floor into your most comfortable.




 

Author: Mitch Tully
Mitch Tully