Installing Radiant Floor Heating

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19.2.13

Yesterday I mentioned that Bryan was helping out my Dad for a little bit while he began installing radiant floor heating downstairs. Our house is a mother/daughter arrangement. We live upstairs with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, eat-in kitchen, living room and a large deck . My parents live downstairs and have 1 bedroom, 1 bath, living room, kitchen and a patio.

I haven’t shown the downstairs on the blog for a while, this is what the downstairs looked like on the day of our home inspection. They previous owners used it as a mix of summer kitchen and living area. On the floor there was both slate and carpet tiles.

Since moving in they have removed the column and installed a larger beam to support the span, raised the drop ceiling (there was a ton of wasted space up there) and now they removed the tile and carpeting to install new marble flooring. Pulling up old tile is no easy project, it’s messy and dirty and requires a lot of elbow grease. So since the floor was entirely removed anyway my Dad decided to install in-floor radiant heating.

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In-floor radiant heating is basically low voltage wires run directly under your floor. It warms the room from below and eliminates that cold tile feeling that’s so hard to shake in the winter.

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My Dad is the ultimately DIYer, we have always done projects like these even back when Bob Vila was the only home show to watch, so it was no surprise when he went on the internet, bought a couple books, read up on it on the internet and began laying the wire. There’s an alternate method where you can buy mats with the wire pre-layed out for you. But it turns out that have it pre done costs about 4 times more ad for a floor this size it just didn’t make sense.

Laying-Radiant-Floor-1 It took a little bit of trial and error to get the wires to stay in place. There are metal strips glued to the floor every three feet to help hold them in down but in between they tended to get loose and float up.

Radiant-Floor-Heat-2 After reading a few tips on the internet, he heard that you could actually hot glue them into place to help them hold. Now I don’t know if that’s an officially sanctioned way to do it but It worked like a charm.

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After the wires were secure they poured an entire coat of self leveling cement. Self leveling cement is a very thin almost watery consistency. Once mixed, you pour it over the floors to help ensure a level surface. You need to work quickly though and in sections because it only has a 20 minute workable time before it begins to set and dry. Once dry the cement covered the wires protecting them and what’s left is a nice smooth surface for the tile.

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You can see even with all the gluing a few of the wires tended to float up out of the self level cement anyway. Although not ideal in then end it worked out OK as the thin set that was used to set the tile covered it enough to not make a difference.

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It was seriously a lot of work but the floors are coming along now and they look gorgeous! I’ll keep you all posted with how it goes and let everyone know how we like the in floor heating.

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