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November 13, 2023

Heated Bathroom Floors: Is Radiant Heating Worth the Hype?

It’s no fun stepping out of a warm shower onto a cold floor. The cool sensation shocks your system, making your morning routine less enjoyable. Or even worse, have you ever rolled out of bed in the middle of the night to head to the bathroom, only to be greeted by chilly porcelain tiles? Yikes! Fortunately, there’s a solution for both of these situations and it’s gaining more popularity every year in Charlotte. Heated bathroom floors happen to be the ticket.

Heated bathroom floors are a modern luxury that many homeowners enjoy. But are they worth the hype? Before making a decision, it’s helpful to learn more about radiant heating.

How Radiant Heating Works

Radiant heating warms a space by heating the walls, ceiling, or floors, the most common being heated bathroom floors. For this system to work, a professional must install heating elements beneath the floor’s surface. These elements can be electrical cables or hydronic tubing.

Once activated, these heating elements create heat that warms the floor and the room. Heat travels up, creating a cozy, even temperature throughout the room.

Types of Radiant Heating Systems

There are two common variations of underfloor radiant heating systems.

Electrical In-Floor Radiant Heating Systems

Heated bathroom floors use electric coils to produce heat.

An electrical system uses electric coils to produce heat. Contractors install these systems in smaller areas to warm the floor using electric cables. The wires connect to your home’s electrical system and have separate, easy to use control panels where you can adjust temperature. You can create zones within your home to control heating in different areas independently, giving you the flexibility to heat specific rooms or zones only when needed. These are a bit lower maintenance than hydronic floors.

Hydronic In-Floor Radiant Heating Systems

A hydronic radiant flooring system uses water instead of electricity. Tubes must be installed beneath the floor to circulate hot water. Most hydronic systems require a boiler and pump to heat and move the water into the system. This radiant heating system can be a bit tougher to install and take a little more time overall but it won’t be anything significant. Plus, this system provides a ton of benefits–including energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, and minimal noise.

The Pros of Heated Bathroom Floors

Heated bathroom floors eliminate the shock of walking across cold tiles on a cold morning.

One of the best advantages of a heated bathroom floor is that it eliminates the shock of walking across cold tiles on a cold morning. With radiant heating, you know that your bathroom floor will be warm, making your morning routine that much more enjoyable.

Other advantages of this technology include:

  • Energy Efficiency: Even distribution of heat means your system doesn’t have to work as hard. Heated bathroom floors heat the room directly, which means that the heat remains where you need it. In a climate like Charlotte’s, where temperatures can fluctuate, this efficiency is welcome.
  • Saves Space: Heating elements are under the floor and do not take up space in the room.
  • Better Indoor Air Quality: With radiant floor heating, no air is forced to circulate dust and allergens. Heated floors can also reduce humidity. REPEAT. Heated floors can reduce humidity. Definitely needed in a place like Charlotte where humidity strikes often.
  • Less Noise: With radiant heating, you won’t have any loud fans producing background noise.

In-floor radiant heating is compatible with many flooring materials, including concrete, tile, and some wood and carpet.

Other Factors to Consider

Heated bathroom floors can improve your morning routine.

If the benefits of having heated bathroom floors have convinced you it’s worth it, there are a few other factors to consider. For example, you should always think about the installation cost. Installing heating elements is a complex process that involves removing and replacing your floor.

Expect to pay higher upfront costs compared to traditional heating systems. But over time, you’ll pay less because of this system’s energy efficiency.

Other disadvantages to consider include:

  • Installation time
  • Retrofitting new systems requires significant renovation.
  • Could increase the floor height in the bathroom.
  • If your electrical panel is full, you may require a service upgrade to accommodate for the extra energy.

Depending on your local electricity rates, heated bathroom floors could become expensive to operate.

Radiant Heating Can Be an Investment, Maybe

Every homeowner will have a different cost for installing in-floor radiant heat. It depends on which type of radiant heating system you choose, your bathroom’s size, and your location. The average price of electric radiant systems ranges between $8 and $12 per square foot. Wire-based systems are often less expensive to manufacture and easier to install.

Hydronic radiant heat costs approximately $20 per square foot. It is more complex to install, and you may need to invest in more equipment, like a boiler and pump. Water is typically cheaper than electricity, so a hydronic system will help keep your energy costs lower.

The cost of installing heated bathroom floors has become more affordable in recent years, making it accessible to a wider range of homeowners, even in regions like North Carolina with milder climates.

Enhance Your Bathroom With More Heating Options

Along with heated floors, there are other bathroom-specific items you can install to help maintain warmth. Some examples include:

  • Heated toilet seats
  • Heated towel racks
  • Heated towel warmers
  • Heating lamps

Although they are not heated, padded or plush bathroom mats can help keep your bathroom as cozy as possible.

Take the Chill out of Your Mornings With Heated Bathroom Floors

If you have a large bathroom that would benefit from evenly distributed heat, radiant heating is a good choice. It is a safe, energy-efficient method for maintaining a comfortable bathroom. At ReVision, the one thing we suggest is if you do have heated floors, skip the bath mats. The rubber bottom will sometimes melt depending on how hot the floors are. It’s a good general rule of thumb to not leave anything resting on the floor for an extended period of time.

You need a professional installation to ensure that your system works properly and adheres to all regulations and building codes.

ReVision can help. Contact us to learn more about radiant heating options!