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Installing a Radiant Heated Floor

Believe it or not, installing a radiant heated floor is not an extremely difficult task. In fact, much of the installation of the heat cable and flooring can be done by any ambitious homeowner. Floor heating cable is available off spools or pre-spaced in mats. Many top brands feature pre-spaced cable on a durable fiberglass mesh with an adhesive backing. The mats are easily rolled out and affixed to the subfloor for quick, easy installation. While homeowners can perform much of the installation labor, it is crucial that a qualified electrician perform all of the system wiring. This helps to ensure that the warranty remains valid.

How to Make Turns when Installing the Floor Heating Cable in Mats

To make turns when laying out floor heating mats, simply cut the mesh backing and turn the mat accordingly, as shown in the photos. (Never cut the heat cable.)

Cutting the mesh backing of floor heating mat. Cutting the mesh backing of floor heating mat. Making turns with floor heating mat. Making turns with floor heating mat. Making turns with floor heating mat. Installing floor heating mat.
Cut the mesh backing. Do not cut the cable! Turn the roll of cable. Align the mat. Lay out the mat. Properly space the mats.

Heat cable and metal strapping for installing heated floor system.

Installing Heat Cable from the Spool

When installing heat cable off the spool, the cable is secured to the floor using thin metal or plastic strips (cable straps) that are nailed or screwed to the floor (see photo →). The metal straps have small tabs that allow you to space the cable at the desired width. Then, simply bend the tab over the cable to secure it. The plastic strapping has pre-engineered channels that the cable is conveniently placed in to ensure proper spacing, making the installation of the heat cable quick, easy and accurate.

Installing Floor Heating Insulation Panels and Heat Cable

Installing HeatShield floor heating insulation panels and heat cable. HeatShield floor heating systems feature lightweight, ½-inch-thick polystyrene insulation panels covered with a thin, specially profiled aluminum. The panels are clipped together with the plastic clips (provided) and then heat cable is placed in the channels provided in the panels. The floor heating system provides excellent insulation that optimizes the performance of the heat cable by reflecting all the heat upwards to the floor. While this system is slightly more costly, it is extremely efficient and when combined with quality heat cable, one of the most effective floor heating systems on the market.