Luxury Warmth for Hard Floors

Did carpet in bathrooms ever really make sense? Sure, they’re great on your feet. Would you rather step out of a nice warm shower onto cold tile or step out onto carpet? Well I can tell you from experience that the carpet feels good but, it’s also not the most practical thing. The combination of that wet environment and carpet often lead to a soggy, dirty and moldy mess.

I had that sogginess my bathroom, so, I decided to rip the carpet out and instal tile to clean up the mess. First of all, it looks amazing, but these recent cold mornings and evenings haven’t made my feet happy. I know this isn’t a new problem, tile has been around for centuries, and it’s known to be cooler to the touch, but people have survived just fine. So, what to do? Should I accept the cold feet or find a way to warm the tile?

That warm feeling

After visiting a friend’s home and feeling warm tile up close and personal, I’ve started second guessing why I didn’t give warm floors more of a thought when I replaced the soggy mess. For the record, I did feel like my buddy was a bit of a weirdo when he specifically asked that I take my socks off and walk on his tile. Looking back, I’d probably have reacted the same way if it were in my house and I had guests. To be clear after taking off those socks the tile floor was amazing! It truly was a better feeling than my cold tile.

The cost could be the deal breaker, but consider more than the price tag

So, how much does it cost? Well I didn’t ask him, were not that close of friends for me to pry into his expenses. However, after getting prices for the second bathroom it appears that $6 to $16 per square foot is about what it will cost me to have electric warm floors professionally installed. So, depending on your current floor type (Carpet, Linoleum, Tile, Hardwood, etc.) you could see price variances. Obviously, it is easier to pull up carpet and install tile vs. taking out tile because of the time and labor required. Some may prefer to pay more for the heated water versions than instead of the electric coils. Small projects are a good use of the electric system but as you increase square footage it may become more cost effective to go with the water setup; also known as hydronic.

If you are still interested, maybe right on the edge but skeptical of the price, you should know that people are claiming utility bill savings. This caught me by surprise as I would not expect running a heater for the radiant floor in addition to all the other things drawing electricity would somehow equal less.

Here’s the catch, it actually can save you money on your monthly utility bills since the floor is being heated and that heat will work its way up, it is more efficient in some cases than a typical furnace. Unlike your ducts which may be leaky, all the heat from a radiant floor is going directly where it was intended; from the ground up. This often times will confuse or trick our body into feeling more comfortable/warmer at lower temperatures on the thermostat, and a lower temperature on the thermostat typically equates to additional energy savings.

Another Pro is that most of these systems are rated to outlast the life of your furnace meaning less replacement costs. On the other hand, if you were to have an issue under tile then its going to be a pain in more ways than one.

Quick Recap

Pros:

  • Warm Toes
  • May decrease energy bill
  • Longevity
  • Versatility (Can be used under multiple surfaces)
Cons:
  • Can be pricey Upfront
  • Hydronic floors take up to 2 hours to fully warm the tile

Not sure that this provides enough to make a firm decision but for me that second bathroom is getting a warm floor system under the tile. Give Chappels a call at 630-668-3466 to discuss the theory further or to schedule a visit from a building specialist to assist you with your specific home’s needs.