Did carpet in bathrooms ever really catch on? Sure it’s great on your feet. Would you rather step out of a nice warm shower onto cold tile or step out onto carpet? Well I can tell you from experience that the carpet feels really good but, its also not the most practical thing. Something about a wet environment and carpet just never really meshed well.
Fast forward to today, ripped the carpet out of my bathroom and installed tile. Looks amazing but these cold mornings and nights can be felt if you didn’t come prepared with a pair of socks. It’s nothing new. Tile has been around for centuries, tile has been known be cooler on the surface and people have survived just fine. So what’s there to do? Do you accept the cold feet or… do you keep that tile warm?
That warm feeling just can't be explained
After going into someone’s home and feeling it, I am second guessing why I didn’t give it more of a thought. For the record, I did feel like my buddy was a bit of a weirdo when he specifically asked that I take my socks off and walk on his tile… Looking back, I’d probably have reacted the same way if it were in my house and I had guests.
Anywho, that floor was amazing! For a second I was lost, off on a deep magical conquest where I felt my feet could take me anywhere. That feeling of stiffness and arthritis had been completely relieved and it worked its way all the way up to the bags under my eyes as they were lifted up. Is this what Benjamin Button felt like? All of a sudden I am young and rejuvenated and the only reasonable explanation is the warmth of the tile burrowing itself inside of me.
Alright so maybe it wasn’t that great but it truly was a better feeling than cold tile.
The cost could be the deal breaker, but consider more than the price tag
How much does it cost you ask? Well I didn’t ask him. Friend code doesn’t allow for me to pry into expenses that are greater than a grand. However, looking at the numbers online it appears that $6 to $16 per square foot is about what you should expect to have it professionally installed in your home. Depending on your floor type (Carpet, Linoleum, Tile, Hardwood, etc.) you could see price variances. Obviously it is easier to pull up carpet and reinstall opposed to tile which requires more time and skill, hence more labor $$$ are required. You also might be able to salvage the carpet or hardwood for use again whereas tile isn’t so forgiving. You will also pay more for the heated water versions than you will for the electric coils for small projects but as you increase square footage it may become most cost effective to go with the water setup; also known as hydronic.
If you are still interested, maybe right on the edge but skeptical of the price, you should know that people are claiming utility bill savings. This caught me by surprise as I would not expect running a heater for the radiant floor in addition to all the other things drawing electricity would somehow equal less.
Draw it out on paper:
- 5+1 = 4???? (5 being a random number to signify my other energy consumers such as fridge or furnace)
It kinda reminds me of the old riddle where 3 men walk into a hotel and are charged $30 bucks. The numbers just don’t quite add up.
Heres the catch, it actually can save you $$$ on your monthly bill. Since the floor is being heated and that heat will work its way up, it is more efficient in some cases than a typical furnace. Unlike your ducts which are leaky, all the heat from a radiant floor is going directly where it was intended; from the ground up. This often times will confuse or trick our body into feeling more comfortable/warmer at lower temperatures on the thermostat, and a lower temperature on the thermostat typically equates to additional energy savings.
Another Pro is that most of these systems are rated to outlast the life of your furnace meaning less replacement costs. On the other hand, if you were to have an issue under tile then its going to be a pain in more ways than one.
My quick analysis
- Warm Toes
- May decrease energy bill
- Versatility (Can be used under multiple surfaces)
- Pricey Upfront
- Pricey maintenance (especially under tile)
- Hydronic floors take up to 2 hours to fully circulate the heated water
- DIY’ers should be comfortable with some basic electrical installation
Not sure that this provides enough to make a firm decision, I am still undecided on where I stand but the more I research… The more I am a believer. All I can recommend is do your research and if you do have it installed please make sure to get multiple quotes (same applies to any project). For now, my toes will stay cold but please share your experiences and provide another voice for those considering. Thank you.