The joys of in-floor heating in chilly seasons

It is a winter wonderland outside!

When the snow blows and the winds get chilly my thoughts automatically turn to…in-floor heating (you thought I was going to say Christmas didn’t you?)

When I hop out of my shower it is a delight to put my toes on a gently warmed floor instead of the ice-cold tile I was used to in my previous residence.

Most new home construction now has in-floor heating and it is a wonderful feature in our climate. If you have an existing home or older home, do not despair – we are able to add this foot-warming product to almost any floor. It is a rewarding addition to any renovation project especially in bathrooms or laundry areas; the areas where you are most likely to go barefoot.

Radiant heat is a simple installation that should be taken advantage of when you are renovating your home. It is a simple upgrade that will improve the experience with your floors. Most people claim that tile is too cold and hard and often choose other products yet if the floors are heated, the hardness seems to be a moot point. I think it is the temperature of tile is more of a deterrent to people than the hardness.

It is also possible to install radiant heat under hardwood and carpet if you enjoy warmth throughout your home. Keep in mind that different products conduct heat at various rates so the floor will be different temperature-wise from tile to carpet to hardwood. A tile floor warmed with radiant heat will feel warmer than a heated, carpeted floor.

The price of radiant heat per square foot is formidable at first but try to not be alarmed! The heating mats do not need to cover the entire square footage of the floor, only the places you generally travel. A 60 sq. ft. bathroom will only need about 35 sq. ft. of heat to cover all the areas you stand. You can expect radiant heat mats to cost around $20 to $25 per sq. ft. plus the cost for the electrician to run conduit and hook up the timer to your electrical system. The heat mat should come equipped with the timer and thermostat control, make sure when ordering you receive these items.

Radiant heat is an indulgence but I feel it is a necessary one for our climate. It will improve your satisfaction with the floors and it is also good for those with poor circulation and other foot issues. Standing on a cold floor can increase numbness and decrease circulation in the feet and legs while a gently warmed floor is comfortable to the touch and much easier to stand on.

In-floor heating warms your floor and home using hot water forced through tubing and radiant heat is a mat which sits on top of your substrate employing wiring and electrical current to heat the floors. In-floor heating is usually installed during new construction and radiant mats are used during the renovation process.

It is generally an afterthought but it is the one item I get the most positive feedback on from clients, they LOVE their heated floors! Whatever your project may be, a warm floor awaits you in almost any room.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext. 227 or email her at

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