All About Radiant In-floor Heating


There might be nothing more luxurious than heated floors. Waking up after a good night’s sleep or getting out of the shower and stepping onto nice warm floors feels like heaven.

Radiant in-floor heating has more benefits than just feeling good. It evenly heats rooms, is quiet, is great for people with allergies and respiratory sensitivities, it is aesthetically pleasing and it is good for the environment.

Radiant in-floor heating is becoming more popular, especially with new home builds. It is also possible to retrofit current homes to use radiant in-floor heating. So, what is it and how does it work?

Types of In-Floor Radiant Heating

There are three main types of in-floor radiant heating. First there is electric radiant floor heating that uses electrical wires that are usually embedded in mats. This style can easily be installed underneath most flooring types, including tile, engineered wood, stone, and laminate floors.

This type of method is good for retrofitting if you’d like to install radiant in-floor heating into an existing home.

A person can get heating mats cut into any shape so that they can be installed into any sized room. Then they fit together like a puzzle to cover the space. The mats are connected to a thermostat so that you can control the amount of warmth that the mats emit.

These mats are easy to install for people with some experience of home renovations. You can expect to pay $5 to $7 per square foot if you can do it on your own.

The second type are electric single wire installations. This type of radiant in-floor flooring has a single, continuous and insulated wire that is wrapped around metal clips. These are then connected to the subfloor.

Related Article: Common Electrical Glossary

The single wire system is designed to be embedded in mortar with a finish flooring material installed over the mortar bed. This alternative to mats allows you to easily customize the heating layout.

Finally, there are hot water radiant systems, also called hydronic heating. This kind of radiant in-floor heating uses heated water that circulates through a flexible polyurethane piping called PEX, which is installed below the floor. It’s a closed system which means the water is connected to its own system pump and heater. The piping is durable and can last up to 100 years.

Benefits of Radiant In-floor Heating

While the cost of installing or retrofitting radiant in-floor heating can be costly at first, the long term benefits are many.

First, this type of heating system is very efficient. We all know that heat rises, so when it starts at the floor and is distributed throughout a home, the heat takes time to slowly rise up. Since it is evenly distributed, even in oddly shaped rooms and nooks, you won’t need to fuss with blasts of heat that quickly come and go and don’t reach into spaces evenly.

Comfort is also a huge bonus with radiant in-floor. There is something called “warm feet, cool head,” which is the optimal condition for people be comfortable in.

There is also the benefits to health. Traditional venting and duct systems collect dust and blows it throughout the home. This can trigger allergic reactions and cause respiratory distress.

Furthermore, there is the aesthetic quality of radiant in-floor heating. Because the system is hidden below the flooring, there are no radiators or vents in sight. Venting systems are also noisy and distracting when the heat kicks on. Radiant in-floor heating makes for a clean, sleek look which is popular among the more modern, minimalistic approach to design today.

Finally, radiant in-floor heating is good for the environment. The flooring retains the heat, kind of like a pizza stone, so you you’ll need less heat throughout the course of the day. This saves money for consumers as well.

Radiant in-floor heating quickly becoming a preferred option in homes today because of all the benefits, especially in the long term.

Homes in Vancouver work especially well with in-floor radiant heating because they don’t provide cool air. In Vancouver, most people don’t have air conditioning units because of the mild summers.

If you are considering radiant in-floor heating and would like to know more about how it could work in your home, contact our certified electricians in Surrey or nearby areas.