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Under-Floor Heating For Bathrooms

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All over the United States, homeowners are bathing in sea foam green bathtubs from the 1960s, brushing their teeth in rust-stained bathroom sinks, and tolerating slow-draining toilets and water-stained floors. The family bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, but many homeowners postpone remodeling their bathrooms due to the expected cost.

Value of Bathroom Remodeling

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 survey of home improvement, a bathroom remodel adds over $32,000 on average to the home’s resale value. Aside from value gained when the home eventually sells, a new bathroom improves the home’s aesthetic value. A comfortable bathroom, without antiquated fixtures and remnants of past leaks and age, adds a degree of comfort in one of the most intimate rooms in a house.

Cold Bathroom Floors

Cold floors are one of the more troublesome complaints regarding a bathroom, particularly if the bathroom is in the basement or an addition without sufficient insulation. Bath mats or even wall-to-wall carpeting can improve comfort, but mats and carpet can retain water and grow mildew, or require regular laundering. One simple home improvement option is to install under-floor heating.

Electric or Hydronic

There are two methods of heating cold tile floors. Electric heating involves installing an electrical heating coil under the floor. An electric current causes the coil to heat, much like in a space heater or an electric stovetop. The coil isn’t designed to get as hot as a heater, but it does give off enough heat to make a tile floor comfortably warm to bare feet.


Hydronic underfloor radiant heating works like a steam radiator. Water or an antifreeze-like fluid is heated and then pumped through a series of small pipes under the cold floor. The heated water warms the floor, and then is pumped back to the heater to be recycled.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Hydronic heating is not as good for a small remodel, like a single bathroom. It also carries its own cost benefits that may make it worth to add hydronic to the entire home. The reduced operation cost of underfloor radiant heating can offset the cost of a central air furnace or baseboard electric heaters. Once an underfloor hydronic heating system reaches temperature, maintaining a consistent temperature can require less energy than a standard furnace.

Adding a power switch to only turn the heat on and off when needed might actually use more electricity, due to the amount of power required to bring a cold floor up to temperature. A small, dedicated installation of underfloor heat in a single bathroom may have negligible cost due to its small area and the significant improvement in comfort for anyone stepping out of the shower onto the heated floor. A free in home consultation is a great course of action and should be done by professionals like Re Bath.