Floor warming systems have become extremely advanced in recent years. Thinner cables, wires and related elements, some paired to work with uncoupling membranes, all translate into faster installations for contractors and higher performance for customers.
The category’s most recent developments feature thermostats and controls that can be operated remotely from tablets, smart phones and computers – systems that learn the customer’s heating habits to activate the floors so a cozy atmosphere greets customers as they walk through the door. These smart controls maximize energy efficiency, as well, providing heat only as needed.
Electric radiant floor heating is a high-end design feature that is growing in popularity in both new homes and those renovations that focus on clean, comfortable living. These systems come with many benefits such as consistent, energy-efficient warmth, noted Arthur Mintie, Senior Technical Services Advisor for LATICRETE. “Through a series of wires, electric radiant floor heating systems produce heat through thermal radiation, which is absorbed by surrounding objects that in turn help warm the entire room.
“With the electric radiant floor heating systems that are produced today, customers can significantly lower their home or business’ kilowatt usage and reduce energy costs,” he explained. “These product developments are increasingly important as the world continues to seek products that focus on their ability to contribute to green, sustainable living, and the industry continues to produce them with innovations in speed and accessibility.”
Several manufacturers have now incorporated thermal breaks into their products, which will reflect warmth from the heating elements back up into the room, and prevent cold concrete slabs from sucking the warmth and energy efficiency, back into the slab.
One trend that has continued to develop in the tile radiant heating industry is the growth in popularity for installing floor-heating cable with an uncoupling membrane, noted Julia Billen, Owner and President, WarmlyYours Radiant Heating. “This combination has shown strong, sustainable sales growth for several years among both homeowners and trade professionals because it greatly decreases installation time (versus traditional embed-and-wait install methods). In fact, many installations for bathrooms – the most common room for floor heating – can be completed in a single day.
“Another attractive quality is that these membranes provide long-lasting uncoupling and crack-isolation benefits, which can greatly extend the life of relatively fragile flooring materials like tile,” she explained. “Uncoupling membranes also allow for some variety in the space between runs of the heating cable. With more space between cables, you can decrease the wattage per square foot, lowering both operating costs and product costs, which can prove attractive to homeowners.”
1 ARDEX Americas
The company’s single-source, in-floor radiant heat system, Flexbone® Heat, combines German engineering with design. The company claims it delivers customizable heat faster and more efficiently than any other electric in-floor heating system available. Flexbone Heat is a complete system that includes a 3-in-1 membrane for heating, uncoupling and waterproofing, cables, and three thermostat options. It is recommended for all types of tile, stone and other manufacturer-approved floor coverings, and comes with a 10-year complete system warranty. ardexamericas.com
Strata_Heat™ electric radiant floor heating system consists of a heat-conductive thinset additive which utilizes Thermal Diffusion Technology™ to uniformly distribute heat through the adhesive to eliminate cold spots and quickly achieve the desired floor temperature. The system also includes a high-performance floor heating wire, an uncoupling mat and a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. Strata Heat system transfers heat quickly in order to reduce energy costs and provide customers with a totally customizable floor heating product. laticrete.com
3 Progress Profiles
The company’s Prodeso Heat Grip System is an electrical heating system for floors and coverings, designed to be a cost-effective, time- and energy-saving solution. The uncoupling and waterproofing Prodeso Heat Grip Membrane, with an 8,5 mm thickness, is adaptable to any floor or existing surface. Shaped reliefs hold the Prodeso Heat Grip Cable where desired. It works with the new Prodeso Heat Grip Thermostat, allowing a user to remotely control all settings for heat and schedule via Android or Apple apps. The Prodeso Heat Grip System is internationally patented. progressprofiles.com
The WarmlyYours TempZone Floor Heating Cable provides 3.7-watts of heat output per linear foot and between nine and 15-watts per square foot (depending on spacing between the runs of cable). This cable can be installed economically with fixing strips or quickly and easily with the Prodeso uncoupling membrane. The cable is designed to be embedded in thinset or self-leveling cement beneath some of the most commonly heated flooring types like tile, marble, and stone. warmlyyours.com
5 Schluter Systems
Schluter-DITRA-HEAT-TB electric floor warming system, engineered with an integrated thermal break, and is ideal for tiled floors over concrete. The thermal break directs heat up into the tile rather than down into the subfloor, resulting in tiled floors that warm up to 70% faster over concrete substrates, providing energy savings and comfort even with tiled floors that are traditionally cold when installed over concrete. DITRA-HEAT-TB ensures a thin, quick, and simple assembly by providing heating, uncoupling, and a thermal break in one single layer as well as waterproofing, vapor management, and load support to ensure a long-lasting tile installation. schluter.com
Louis Iannaco is a contributing editor to TileLetter magazine.