Installing a Radiant Heated Floor

Making turns with floor heating mats. Click to enlarge.

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 ComfortTile floor heating mat backing to make turns

Carefully cut the mesh backing of the floor heating mat.

Cutting the floor heating mat backing to make turns

Orient the mat to make the turn. If you are making a 180 degree turn to run the mat parallel to the previous row, make sure that the heating mats are properly spaced. (Minimum cable spacing must be no closer than 2 inches).

Installing Individual Lengths of Heat Cable (off a spool)

Heated floor with cutaway showing the heat cable.

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 Membrane and Heat Cable

Installing floor heating cable in the Prodeso membrane.

Radiant heat cable can also be used with a flexible membrane, such as Prodeso. The Prodeso membrane provides waterproofing for the substrate in the case of overlaying on cracked or imperfectly cured floors with a risk of vapor stress. These flexible membranes feature pre-engineered channels for the heat cable to ensure perfect spacing and even heat.

Prodeso can be installed as an uncoupling membrane over the entire subfloor. A variety of floors can be installed over the Prodeso system. Once the heat cable is secured in the channels of the membrane, the flooring can then be installed. Installation is easy. The underlayment membrane, heat cable and flooring can be installed the same day. The versatile floor heating system results in minimal floor buildup of less than ¼-inch.

Heating Floating Floors

The super thin “film” heating system features the thinnest radiant heating element available today, and may offer the premier value when it comes to installing radiant heat under laminate and floating floors. The heating panels are only 0.016-inch thick, and are laid out directly under the floating floor, without the need for any mortar or adhesive, making this system quick, easy, and affordable to install.

Because it is so thin, and requires no mortar, this system can be installed to efficiently heat your floors without causing any buildup. The heating panels can be cut to their proper length onsite and then rolled out directly on top of an underlayment. The floating floor covering is then installed over the heating element. No alarms, special tools, or self-leveling compounds are needed. After the heating panels are secured, the electrical connections are made and the laminate floor is installed directly over the panels.

Installation of the FilmHeat System for Heating Floating Floors

Illustration showing the installation of the FilmHeat floor heating element.

To learn more about radiant floor heating systems, or free installation training, call a radiant heat expert today at 888.488.9276.