Pros and Cons of Heated Bathroom Flooring

Pros and Cons of Heated Bathroom Flooring

Bathroom Remodeling
Flooring
By Dikran Seferian February 10, 2022

After a nice hot shower, you would probably want to stay warm and comfortable. However, this might not be possible if you step out of the warm shower cabinet onto an ice-cold floor. You can solve this issue by installing a bathroom floor heating system. Heated bathroom floors are obviously more of a luxury than a necessity. But they’re definitely a luxury worth considering if the thought of stepping on cold tiles on a winter day is unnerving to you. Not only are heated bathroom floors irresistibly comfortable and inviting, but they also allow for more efficient heating throughout the space. As great as they are, these heating systems do have a few drawbacks to take into account. Weighing the pros and cons of heated floors will help you decide whether they are worth investing in.

Types of Heated Bathroom Floors

Heated bathroom floors involve the installation of a radiant heat source beneath the flooring. This heat is produced by an electric or hydronic heating element.

Electric Heating

Electrical Heating Pads Are Widely Used for Bathroom Floor Heating

Electrical Heating Pads Are Widely Used for Bathroom Floor Heating

Electric systems generate heat through the use of electric cables that are embedded in thin mats. You can have these mats installed under different flooring types such as tiles, stone, or engineered wood. Electric floor heating is a great option for several reasons:

  • Installing is relatively easy. As a matter of fact, many homeowners choose this type of bathroom floor heating for a home renovation.
  • The system features a thermostat control which allows you to set the temperature you prefer.
  • It only takes less than an hour to heat the bathroom floor using this method — faster than most other HVAC systems. Switching the coils on and off is also pretty simple.

Regardless of these advantages, there are a couple of factors to take into consideration. First, you’ll need to account for the floor space that can be taken up by bathroom fixtures. Also bear in mind that full-size heating mats are specifically designed for wide spaces.

Hydronic Heating

Hydronic Systems Use Hot Water to Heat Up a Floor

Hydronic Systems Use Hot Water to Heat Up a Floor

Also referred to as hot water radiant systems, hydronic heating generates warmth by making use of heated water. The hot water — which usually comes from the water heater — basically runs through tubes attached to mortar or plywood panels. Consider this option if you have tile, stone, or concrete floors.

The main advantage of hydronic heating is the scope. You could basically cover your entire living space using this method. Also, hydronic heating installation becomes more cost-effective as the scope widens. This means that you can heat several rooms at the same time while cutting energy costs.

Nevertheless, hydronic heating does have its setbacks. One downside is that the initial cost is relatively higher than that of electric systems. This cost accounts for the gas lines, the pump, and the water heater or the boiler. Another drawback is that the hydronic system takes more time to heat your floors since it uses hot water.

Pros of Heated Bathroom Floors

Whether you’re going for electric or hydronic systems, heated floors bring a handful of advantages to the table. These include:

Uniform Heating

What’s best about heated floors is that the heat is evenly dispersed throughout the room. The system heats the floor as well as the whole bathroom, allowing for an ambient temperature that maximizes comfort. This might not be the case with HVAC units, which also disperse warm air, but unevenly. Stand next to an HVAC unit and you’ll notice that it’s relatively warmer than other parts of the room. Heated bathroom floors, on the other hand, don’t have any cold spots. This is mainly because the source of heat is not central. 

Energy-Efficient

Heated bathroom floors are known to be 25% more efficient than conventional HVAC units. You can even cut additional costs depending on the heating type you go for. Electric systems, for instance, can take as little as 30 minutes to heat a bathroom. 

Space-Saving

Bathroom Floors are Perfect for a Seamless Design

Bathroom Floors are Perfect for a Seamless Design

Another notable advantage of a heated bathroom floor is that there’s no need for mounting a bulky unit on the wall. The heating system is all tucked away under the floor and doesn’t disrupt the interior design.

User-Friendly

Heated bathroom floors typically come with thermostats, making them a user-friendly option. The thermostats have adjustable temperature controls which allow you to set the ideal level of heat. Timers are another feature of heated floors. This means that you can program your bathroom floor to heat up an hour before you wake up, giving you a warm ground to treat your feet to in the morning.

Safety

Heated Bathroom Floors Are Perfectly Safe

Heated Bathroom Floors Are Perfectly Safe

Safety is another upside of heated bathroom flooring. The risk of burning your feet is basically zero. Also, there’s no need to worry about sharp edges and scorching hot surfaces like that of HVAC units. Besides safety, heated bathroom floors are moreover known to improve the air quality, which is great for those with asthma and allergies.

Low Maintenance

You’ll be glad to find out that a good deal of money will stay in your pocket considering that there’s practically no maintenance involved. Once your heated floors are installed and ready to go, you don’t need to worry about any maintenance routines. 

Noise-Free

There’s no denying that forced-air systems can be rather noisy. If you have an air conditioner in your house, for instance, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not all that silent. On the other hand, not only are heated bathroom floors discreet, you won’t hear a sound out of them, either. This allows your bathroom floor to be warmed without a single trace of the heat source. 

Return on Investment

Yet another advantage of heated bathroom floors is the value they add to your home. This, in turn, boosts your property’s resale value by giving it an edge. There’s nothing that prospective buyers love more than special features. This essentially adds to the return on investment of your heated floors. So when you’re assessing whether installing a floor heating system is worth the costs involved, bear in mind the added value it offers.

Cons of Heated Bathroom Floors

Floor Heating Systems Are Not Very Convenient to Install

Floor Heating Systems Are Not Very Convenient to Install

With the endless list of advantages, one might think that heated floors are too good to be true. However, there’s a catch. Heated bathroom floors, as great as they are, do have a few drawbacks to be aware of. But then again, as the lists indicate, the pros far outweigh the cons. Either way, It’s worth taking a look at the disadvantages of heated flooring, as few as they may be.

Complex Installation

Whether you’re going for an electric or a hot water radiant system, the installation process can be rather time-consuming.  This is because it involves removing the flooring material to install the components. The procedure of tearing apart your flooring is no doubt inconvenient. As a matter of fact, the whole installation is somewhat complex and warrants the expertise of a skilled professional. The end result, however, is definitely worth the inconvenience.

Inconvenient Repairs

While heated bathroom flooring doesn’t entail any maintenance, you can expect the occasional repair — albeit rarely. A licensed expert will use a thermal camera to detect the issue should you notice that the floor isn’t warming as it should. A problem in the heating elements will require disassembling the floor all over again, making the repair a costly and tedious process. However, there’s no alternative if you want to keep enjoying your heated floors.

Cost

Both electric and hydronic floor heating systems can be on the expensive side, and it really depends on which price point suits your budget. Electric heating, for instance, involves a more budget-friendly installation. However, it’s the operating expenses that may require you to break the bank. Hydronic heating, on the other hand, carries a bigger price tag upfront but its operation is easier on the wallet.

Floor Height Problem

Once the heated flooring is installed, it raises the height of the floor by an inch and a half at the very least — depending on your heating system of choice. This increase in height can sometimes pose a tripping hazard, and it’s why heated floors are best kept for bathrooms.

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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