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Cozy Toes Anyone?

Do you love the feeling of walking on a warm floor in winter? If so, you're not alone. A lot of people enjoy the comfort and convenience of heated floors. You are probably wondering, is this an option with all types of flooring? What about the typical cost and maintenance? Keep reading and this guide will take you through everything you need to know about heated floors and explain their pros and cons in-depth. Let's get started!


How Does Radiant Floor Heating Work?

Using thermal radiation and electromagnetic waves, a radiant floor heating system warms up a room by heating the floor directly rather than warming the air in the room. Radiant systems heat the floor, and that heat radiates up and is absorbed by other objects in the room, helping to warm the entire space efficiently.

In short, heated floors use radiant heat technology to make the floors warm, and the heat from the floors rises and disperses throughout the room.


Types of Radiant Floor Heating

There are really only two types of radiant floor heating: electric and hydronic. Both work well to heat your floors and consequently the temperature of the room they are installed in, however there are a few distinct differences between the two types of in-floor heating.

Electric radiant floor heating uses electrical resistance to generate heat through mats or wires installed underneath the floor. The electric elements are woven in a serpentine pattern to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed. Many electric floor heating elements are designed to be embedded in thin set or self-leveling cement under the floor covering but some heating options, are meant to be installed without adhesives which can cut down on project costs.

Hydronic floor heating, otherwise known as hot water heating, uses water that is heated by a boiler and then circulated through pipes. The heat from the water warms the floor and radiates throughout the room.


How do I decide if in floor heating is right for me?

We have put together a list of Pros and Cons so you can decide if it is a good option for you and your home


  • One of the most obvious pro’s is comfort. A warm floor allows you to walk more comfortably around barefoot.
  • Radiant floor heating is silent. There is no airflow through ducts as one would hear from forced-air heating systems, and there is no gurgling and little to no expansion and contraction creaking as one would hear from baseboard radiators.
  • For hydronic heating, lower boiler temperature requirements than one would need for baseboard heat increases boiler life and gives the option to use hot water heated by solar energy.
  • Not having to configure a room for a baseboard radiator or air register gives occupants more flexibility in arranging furniture. The heating system is mostly invisible.
  • Less dust circulating the house compared with forced-air systems and no surfaces that become too hot and burn dust like electric baseboard systems.
  • Good for when you have an acute chemical sensitivity or allergies. A forced-air system could distribute dust, and an electric heating element or gas burner can burn dust particles.
  • Forced-air heated air rises up to the ceiling, where it cools, then down. A radiant floor system gives a more desirable temperature gradient throughout a room.



  • Costs more to install, particularly for retrofits, and, depending on your local climate, you may still need a separate air-conditioning system.
  • There is a time-lag of heat movement through the flooring. This can lead to an overheating problem if there are other sources, such as passive solar, already delivering heat to space.
  • To be effective, floor coverings must be thin and conductive. The covering should not insulate the heating system from the room. Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, but thin carpeting and wood or laminate can also be used.
  • Consistent heat may not be desirable for homeowners that like to turn the heat on and off at different times of the day.



If you come across a new home with in-floor heating or if you want to upgrade your current home, this type of heating can really change the way you enjoy your home.

Similar to a gas fireplace efficiently heating one room at a time, in-floor heating offers a way to heat your home room by room, cutting down on energy waste. Without having hot air being constantly blown through your ductwork, you will find you will have fewer issues surrounding your indoor air quality. 







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