Radiant Floor Heating Elements Installed

This was a long work week. 4 x 12 hour shifts and workouts afterwards meant I had little energy left at the end of the day to work on the master bathroom. With the weekend here I finally was able to complete the installation of the heating elements.

The first step was cleaning the living piss out of the floor. I’m installing an insulating layer, which the manufacture of the heating system says will improve heat transfer. It’s not required but I would like to try to use this as the primary heating system for the house. (One Project Closer did this same project and there’s some debate in the comments on whether or not insulation is needed. They went without the insulation.)

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The insulating materials is a dense closed cell foam that’s about 1/8″ think. It has a black plastic mat on the under side and attaches to the floor like contact paper. I have to first put a tacky glue on the floor and let it set for about 20 minutes.

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If I was experienced at this, I could have cut the mat in one or two sections and applied it all at once. But I’m not so I cut it into small pieces and applied it to the floor a little at a time. It was much easier that way.

Installing the heating elements was a little more involved. Not only did I need to cut it, I had to do some manual wire layout where the floor was not square in front of the shower.

Since I will be embedding the elements in self leveling concrete, it’s important that they are anchored onto the floor so they don’t float up in the SLC.

The heating element is sewn onto the green mat but the round edges are not. They can easily stick out and have to be glued down. The manufacturer recommends using hot glue, a procedure I tried. After about a half hour and when I ran out of glue I thought there had to be a better way. There’s no way I can do this when I do the much larger master bedroom.

I found double-sided carpet tape at Lowes. I taped the green mat to the floor then taped the rounded edges to the mat. Not only does the double sided tape do a better job of holding down the mat it’s a lot faster and easier to put down.

Next up is to lay the self-leveling concrete. Concrete is still kind of magic to me and SLC is just that much more of magic. I will definitely need help with this part.

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3 Replies to “Radiant Floor Heating Elements Installed”

  1. Hey Greg,

    Thanks for the link… Yeah, we decided to go without the insulation. As a general rule, the insulation makes a difference only in the amount of time it takes for the heat to get into the room (not the overall efficiency of the system). Some folks think the insulation doesn’t matter. I think it probably does, we just decided not to fork over the additional cash for it.

    When I saw you used double-sided carpet tape I was concerned. Did you check with the self-leveler manufacturer to make sure that the leveler will bond to the carpet tape? And, did you check with the heating element manufacturer to maek sure the carpet tape won’t delaminate under heat? If you get a delamination between the subfloor and the mats, you’ll end up with a cracked surface quickly. I don’t have the expertise to know for sure what will happen, but as I said, my gut tells me that using that material is iffy.

    Love the layout of your blog and thanks again for linking to us. We’ve got a lot more posts on our site about our radiant heating self-leveler pour (just visit the site and search for “radiant” or “self leveling” and you’ll find tons).

    Good luck with the project and please let me know how it turns out. I’m very interested in what the manufacturer’s say b/c if the tape is a reasonable route, I would have used it too.

  2. My floor is concrete. I know warmlyyours recommends the hot glue but has mentioned using tape to hold down the mats in their support documentation. I don’t know about specifics.

    I do plan to check with warmlyyours and who ever I decide to go with on the SLC before I put down the SLC.

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