Adding Heated Floors To A Slab Home is possible! This article will tells you about the two types of heated floors options you can choose from. Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters. Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco. We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.
Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps. Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).
Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing. We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.
ADDING HEATED FLOORS TO AN EXISTING SLAB HOME
Image Source: ShutterStock
Retrofit Heated Floors Can Be Installed In Existing Homes With Concrete Floors
Plumbing & Heating Come Together To Provide Heated Floors
DFW homes are all built on slab foundations due to expansive-clay throughout the DFW area. When expansive-clay soil gets wet, it expands. When it dries out, the clay shrinks. This condition does not allow for the construction of basements, because the pressure from the soil would damage basement walls.
In summer, the cool slab floors are quite nice. In winter they can become quite cold. With this has less impact under carpet, it can become a increasing issue with hard-surface flooring such as: engineered-wood (very thin) flooring, laminate flooring, vinyl, marble & ceramic. With today’s homes mostly being built or renovated with hard-surface flooring, the cold concrete floors underneath floor coverings can become a comfort issue for home owners.
Often a simple & inexpensive solution can be an area-rug where you spend the most of your time. However, many people don’t want to cover floors with area-rugs. Bathrooms create the most uncomfortable situation as you are barefoot many times while in these rooms.
You can add heated floors to your existing home. We provide the details for both electric and natural gas heated floors within this article. For a small area, such as a bathroom, you can add use an electric system that generates its own heat. For large areas of heated floors, a hydronic / hot water system will be notably less expensive to operate IF your home has natural gas connected. For an all-electric home, there will be little to no operating costs benefit with hydronic heated floors.
Hydronic / hot water heating systems are used in the northern U.S. to heat the entire house. While this is also possible in DFW, this article explains the two types of heating systems with the expectation the reader is interested only warming the floors, and will heat their home with the existing HVAC system. If you wish to heat the house with the hydronic system, its heating unit will have to be notably larger than a system designed only to warm the floors.
Image Source: Pixabay.com
An Easy & Inexpensive Solution To Cold, Hard-Surface Floors In Seating Areas Can Be The Addition Of An Area Rug
The Two Common Types Of Floor Heating
1. Electric Coil Matt or Membrane
These matts (shown) create their own heat, as compared to the hydronic / hot water system shown later. With hydronic, a heating source must be installed in addition to the product installed on the floor. This system (shown) must be covered with a thin layer of concrete-type products, then floor coverings at installed on top.
Another product, the Heating Cable Membrane System, allows the floor covering to be laid directly on top of the membrane without mortar. This product can be installed directly over the entire sub-floor. Tiling can begin immediately after the heating membrane is in place. No additional steps are required. Because the membrane is less than 1/4″ thick, it does not raise the floor enough to create the need to cut doors or raise the base-trim (trim at the floor) in retrofit installations.
Click Here To See A Photo Of The Heating Cable Membrane System: Heating Cable Membrane System Photo Click On Image To: See Product, View Details or Purchase From Amazon.com
Click Here To See A Video About The Product Shown (scoll down for video): Electric Radiant Heating Matt
The heating-cable matt or membrane are ideal for bathrooms (to be installed under the flooring covering). The matts or membranes are easy to install and modestly priced. They are more expensive to operate than Hydronic / Hot-Water Heating (IF your home has natural gas service). However, for the minimal floor area in most bathrooms, the additional cost to operate electric floor heat (over gas-heated hydronic) is minimal + you don’t have to install a heating source, as the matts & membranes have the electrically heated cables installed within them.
Updating a bathroom? Adding heated floors at that time. Click below to read our separate article for updating baths.
2. Hydronic (Hot Water) Floor Heat With A Separate Heating Source For The Water
Image Source: ShutterStock
SHOWN: Water Lines For Hydronic Heating Being Installed
NOTE: If your home is all electric, you need not read this section. The cost to operate floor heat with electric matts or membranes, or hot water (powered by an electric water heater) is much the same PLUS you have all the additional costs associated with hydronic heat.
Hydronic (Hot Water) In-Floor Heating Is Hot Water Pumped Through Flexible Water Lines Within The Floor. This type of heating is rare DFW, but the same equipment is used to create warm floors. With retrofit installations, this is accomplished with underlayment-foam panels that hold flexible water lines in place within their grooves. Then the floor-covering is laid over them.
The First Housing Development To Have Hydronic Heating Is The Famed Levittown, NY
SHOWN: Levittown, NY
Levittown, NY Was America’s First Suburb AND The First Community Of “Tract” Homes Built With An Assembly-Line Concept. It was built in 1947 – 1951.
Levittown, NY Was Available Only To Returning WWII Veterans (only veterans could buy a new home). It Was Built In Long Island, 10 Miles East Of New York City.
Two Styles Of Identical, 2-Bedroom Homes Were Priced From $ 6,990 With Nearly No Money Down With A Veteran’s Administration (VA) Mortgage.
Click Below To Read More About Levittown, NY & Its Hydronic Heating:
Hydronic Heated Floors In DFW, Using A Gas Water Heater & Pump
If you have natural gas connected to your home, and want to heat large areas of floor, an additional water heater + pump must be installed for hydronic heat. Water heaters can be used for home heating provided the specific water heater is rated by its manufacturer as approved for that use. Additionally, there are specialty water heaters that provide for both domestic hot water + hydronic heat.
Click Below To See A Combination Hot Water + Hydronic Heat Water Heater:
In DFW you are likely heating only the floor, not the entire house (though you can heat the entire house with hydronic heat). In DFW, to heat the entire home with hydronic heat — you would need around 25 BTU of heating capacity per square foot. If you have a 2,000 square foot home, you would need a 50,000 BTU water heater to heat the entire house. **
Using hydronic heat to keep only the floors warm (and using your existing furnace to heat the house) requires far fewer BTU’s. Your contractor will determine how large the water heater (or boiler) must be to meet the demands of your specific application.
** SOURCE: https://www.acdirect.com/electric-furnaces-learning-center-sizing-calculator
Retrofitting An Existing Slab Home With Hydronic Heat
There are specialty sub-floor products designed to retrofit concrete slab homes with hydronic / hot water heated floors. On is WarmBoard brand, WarmBoard-R (R = For Retrofit) can be installed over concrete slab floors. Warmboard is laid directly over the concrete slab. without no modifications to the slab required.
Warmboard uses thick, aluminum cladding (that covers the entire surface of the panel) to distribute heat. The metal cladding ensures greater comfort, faster response times, and lower energy use. A simple law of physics is that as conductivity goes up, water temperature can be lower. The metal-cladded top surface distributes heat more efficiently than the bottom of WarmBoard — this ensures heat rises into the room instead of moving downward into the ground.
Click Here To Learn More About WarmBoard-R: WarmBoard
NOTE: WarmBoard is nearly 1 inch thick. Installation will require:
- raising the trim at the floor
- removing a small amount of the trim (around doors) where that trim meets the floor
- doors may need to be cut shorter
Wood floor coverings are laid directly on top of the WarmBoard. The manufacturer recommends using 1 of 4 standard installation methods for wood flooring; Nail down only, Glue + Nail, Glue Down Only, Floating Floor With Acoustic Mat.
Image Source: Pixabay.com
Wood Floors Can Be Laid Directly On Top Of WarmBoard Brand Radiant Heat Sub-Flooring
For ceramic, marble or other hard tile, installation of; a backer board,, mud bed, or self-leveling under-layment, or a membrane is required. To learn more about floor covering installation over Warmboard, click here: Installing Floor Covering Over WarmBoard. WarmBoard can also be used under carpet.
Image Source: Pexels.com
Carpet Can Be Laid Directly Over WarmBoard — optional puppy not included 🙂
You can choose what type of floor warming system best meets your needs. If you only want bathroom floors warm, the electric membrane system will be the least expensive way to accomplish your goal. If you want all the ground-level floors warm, and have natural gas connected to your home, a hydronic / hot water system will be less expensive to operate than electric.
Hydronic heat requires a separate heating unit (water heater or boiler) and pump to move the heated water though the flooring. If you have an all-electric home, the cost to heat floors with the electric membrane or coil will be cost much the same to operate as electric water heater.
Al’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Does Not Sell Or Install In-Floor Heating. We would be able to assist with a hydronic system by installing the separate water heater for the heated floors.
Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home. Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters. Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Wylie, Murphy, and Rowlette, Texas. We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.