I don’t know if you know this, but there is something just absolutely splendid about the feeling of cold feet on a warm floor in the early morning.
Heated floors are a common feature in the Scandinavian home, and at this point fairly common on the side of the pond as well, though in the American home you’ll find this feature mostly curtailed to the bathroom.
And yes, this is the first room that might come to mind as an appropriate spot for this type of radiant heating, but no, oh, no, given the opportunity you must let this wonderful feature live and breathe throughout your home - adding that extra touch of hygge to your mudroom or entryway, any colder space in the home such as a basement, and even consider using below hardwood floors in recreational rooms.
What I would consider the ultimate Scandinavian cabin is frankly blanketed with heated flooring throughout, allowing you to return from a long and active day of slightly frozen toes and patter around feeling warmth through a myriad of textures: stone, wood, tile.
Now. Here at the Catskills Blue House, we didn’t quite run as unfettered as that with radiant heating in the home (we’ll talk cost in a minute hold your horses). This is, after all, a fairly modest little hytte, and the woodburning stove does a pretty fantastic job of churning heat throughout the home.
So with that in mind, we decided to put radiant heat in just the bathroom, and frankly, it has one of the features of this house I have been just unbelievable grateful for over these past few months of living here. The girls love them and literally behave better during bathtime thanks to them. Sometimes in the mornings I just lock the door behind me and stand there in my robe stealing a moment of peace with closed eyes and snuggly feet.
But with all that being said, how do you do it?
When installing radiant heated flooring in your home, you’ll have to consider both the space you are using them in – a wetroom will typically require a higher wattage than your typical rec room or living space – and the type of flooring you will be installing them below. If you are tiling or laying concrete, the cables and will need to be cast in netting and membrane, or you would use a more expensive prefabricated heating mat. But under hardwood or laminate, you could get away with an easier-to-install heating foil.
Note that there are two types of radiant floor heating systems: electric or water-based/hydronic systems. A water-based system would have a lower utility cost but is more expensive to install. However, if you were planning to install across a larger swath of your home this would absolutely be the more efficient option.
The overall cost for adding electric heated flooring in a roughly 8 sqm bathroom, including labor (if nothing you are going to need a qualified electrician to rig this up), came out to less than $1000. When deciding how many rooms and areas to cover during renovation, you have to weigh up the cost not only of install – which is relatively reasonable – but also consider the utility cost/lean on the planet over time! (Ah my someday solar panels...)
The advantages of radiant heating in your home are many, including less dust and higher efficiency than what you’ll find with kicks or wall mounts.
At the end of the day, you can’t remodel your bathroom without at least considering heated floors. I can promise you it is 100% worth it (ok maybe not in Florida they have other joys). I do also highly recommend you install and actively use the timer for your floors - optimizing your temperature experience for the time of day.
I also might recommend having a nap on the floor. ;)