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Last modified: 2020-02-28 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Is there anything worse than a cold floor beneath your feet as soon as you take off your shoes? The feeling that sends shivers right up your spine may have you wishing your home’s entrance had heated floors! Don’t fret because it’s a very reasonable option to consider for your entrance and RenoQuotes.com is here to share a guide on how to go about installing heated floors in your foyer.
Radiant floor heating, or in-floor heating as its more commonly known, is the process of adding elements beneath the floor you walk on that radiate heat through the floor, keeping your feet warm and making every step you take more enjoyable than the last.
The first step to a new heated floor in your entrance is to decide which type of system works best for you. Hydronic heating systems consist of a series of tubes that, combined with water heaters and pumps, push warm water through the tubes resulting in the heat radiating through the floor.
This is a very complicated system with many elements and is most often installed in newly constructed homes where the tubing can be laid more easily before the floor is installed. Therefore, a hydronic system is too cumbersome and expensive for a simple room like the entrance.
The system that will work best for a small space such as the foyer is an electrical one. An electrical in-floor heating system has far fewer parts than its hydronic counterpart and is perfect for remodelling. This simplicity is thanks to its straightforward design, rather than tubes like a hydronic system, an electric system uses a series of coils that heat up as electricity passes through them.
While this system has some variations in design, the most convenient models to install are in the form of a pre-made mat with the coils laced throughout. This mat design makes installation a breeze when compared to what it takes to install a hydronic system.
Once you’ve settled on the electric floor heating system, it’s time to begin the installation process. By this point you should also have the tiles you will use to cover the heating system so you don’t waste any time shopping around after ground has been broken. In order to install the in-floor heating elements, you need to rip out the existing floor to expose the subfloor. For this demolition, it’s important to have the proper gear on hand, namely a sledgehammer, goggles and a mask for any particles that are kicked into the air.
Once the debris from the old floor has been cleared away, you can begin to map where you want to lay the mats down. In the case of a small entrance, you’re better off covering as much area as you can to ensure the floor will keep all your arriving guests warm. Now that you’ve determined the optimal layout for the system, it’s important to thoroughly clean the subfloor from any excess adhesive from the previous floor, usually, a scraper will do the trick but in some instances, you may need some strong solvent so be sure to follow the directions carefully.
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As the water within the concrete of your subfloor evaporates, it creates shrinkage cracks. If not properly protected, these cracks can easily migrate upward and into your tile floor tiles. This is why it’s important to install a crack-suppression membrane before completing any other work on your floor. First, apply the necessary adhesives to properly secure the membrane to the subfloor. Then carefully lay the membrane down, using a roller to push out any bubbles of air so it is completely flush with the subfloor.
Now that the crack-suppression membrane is securely in place, you can begin the process of laying down the coating of thin-set mortar. This is what your mat will be sitting on and secured to so don’t be afraid to apply pressure to make sure it sits well within the mortar. Once all the areas have been covered by the radiant heating mat, you must proceed to spread another layer of thin-set mortar over the pad. Finally, the new tiles can now be laid down and set into place.
It is essential to have a licensed electrician inspect and connect your electric heated floor. A ground fault circuit interrupter (CFGI) is a device that shuts off the circuit when it detects the electrical current flowing through an alternative path such as water. Considering that your new electric heated floor is installed where guests trek in slush and rainwater, you should ask your electrician if this device is right for the space.
Now you can relax and enjoy the warmth of a radiant heated floor as soon as you walk inside your home. Since radiant floor heating uses relatively little energy, it won’t cost an arm and a leg to keep your foyer floors warm. This system is also a great way to heat up the whole foyer, just make sure your system is powerful enough to radiate heat throughout the space.
Of course, remember that your flooring choices should be restricted to tile, stone, or ceramic as the warmth will eventually cause wood floors to shrink and develop cracks. Remember, the importance of hiring licensed professionals cannot be understated so if you’re uncertain about any steps in the process than you should seek out a contractor, but you must have an electrician come in to test the mat before, during and of course after installation and to connect it securely.
Main photo: Flickr-Christian Brothers
Author: David Ben-Zaken
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