Floor Heat - so disappointed

kewrenApril 6, 2014

We decided to install electric floor heat in our bathroom which is 7x7 plus an alcove shower. The entrance to the bathroom is on the right of the room with the sink and toilet on opposite wall, toilet directly in front of door. The electrician used a 6x5 mat. When they installed it they put it over to the left. So the path to the toilet is cold. I'm pretty upset about this because it was a sizable upgrade. I think I'd rather have no heat than what seems like partial heat. How should I address this with the contractor? There's nothing that can done to fix it now. What do you think?

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Have you paid the bill yet?

It all depends on the communication with the contractor. Did you specify that you wanted a "heated bathroom floor"? Did he inform you that he was using a method that would only partially (if mostly) heat the floor? If so, were you asked where to prioritize the location of the heat?

If you weren't informed by the contractor that he chose a method that wouldn't cover the entire floor, I think you have a case to ask him to rip it out and do it over, possibly using a different heating method.

If he did tell you it would partially cover the floor then it's a different situation.

My .02....

(We're trying to decide ourselves whether to spring for the heated floor - where you have it, do you think it's worth it? We're being told $2,500!!! There's got to be a cheaper way...)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:29AM
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I'm sorry you're disappointed with what is clearly an added expense. I live in a moderate climate, but it can get cold in the winter as does the tile floor in my bathroom. Can you put a rug in front of the toilet to keep your tootsies warm(er) while you sit there?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:35AM
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Agree, a throw rug is probably the logical solution.

You have recourse against the contractor if the plans show where it was to be installed and the actual installation did not follow the plans. But your installer may have a logical reason why the mat was installed where it was.

There is leeway around toilets as well. Read the installation instructions for your mat, see if there is verbiage about how far to stay away from a toilet. Your installer may have been honoring those guidelines. However, to put RFH near a toilet, just move away from wax rings.

Other than that? If there was not clear divergence from the contract language you may not have much recourse against the installer other than showing your frustration. But if there is no clear divergence from the contract language, your installer really didn't do anything wrong.

It's the reason I seldom use mats. With only cable, I can put the heat where I want and where I don't want without having to snip and flip and fold the mat this way and that.

With electric RFH, where it is, it is, and where it ain't, it ain't. And your bare feet will remind you of that every day.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:37AM
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So sorry to hear of the floor situation. No additional comments on what to do now.

But I have a hunch that the installers didn't understand the dynamics of a heated floor, as you have found out, or they would not have had cold spots in the walking path. Maybe yours was the first one they installed?

I too used wires and not the mats. I DIY'd the job and did it fairly easily enough with the help of strong men to help with the self level. I also read Mongoct's input on Staceyneal's project here on GW. I read a tutorial over on the John Bridge forum on doing the flooring. And I used an electrician to hook up my thermostat and cable for the heat once I finished with the installation. I used a 240volt system. Since I diy'd the job it was no where near $2,500. But to have it done right is priceless (by a diy'er or a contractor).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Our cost to upgrade was about $1500 for the 6x5 mat. If the cold spots were just on the very outside edges of the room I think it would be worth it. Now, I think in some ways it's worse than not having it at all. It's just so noticeable because in one spot it's cold and another it's warm. The electrician has done many but I don't think the installers have. I should've micro managed this, it's one of the few things I didn't. But when I specified I wanted to make sure it went a few inches under the console sink so my toes wouldn't be off the heat, I didn't think they would miss the path to the toilet. I didn't see the size of the mat before the install. I'm not sure why they didn't go with a larger mat. I think they could've done a 7x6 or at least a 6x6. Everything else about this project was great. The contractor was great to work with. I'm very pleased with how everything else turned out. It's beautiful. (I'll post after paint.). I'd recommend them and I'll probably use them on the next bathroom when we get to it. But, this just puts a damper on the whole result and I'm not one for confrontation so I'm not sure how I'm going to address it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Just say that the heater must be broken near the toilet as it is cold, can you fix it?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:14PM
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You can do this conversation. Think of it as problem solving and not conflict. It is only conflict in your head at this point, and you really don't know what will transpire once you discuss the issue with the contractor. Give the contractor the opportunity to be honorable in his workmanship.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Thanks for your feedback. I just spoke with the contractor on the phone. He seemed surprised and is going to look into what happened.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:04AM
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So the contractor came by today to discuss his resolution. He wants to rip it out and redo it. I'm so impressed with how he is handling this. Turns out the installers did turn it the wrong way. I'm not really looking forward to the process, but he thinks it will take 3 days which isn't too bad. I was thinking I'd just have to live with it. I'm happy that I'll end up with what I wanted.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:13PM
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This is great news. So glad you were able to hang in there for the process to unfold.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Good for you! I bet you're almost as pleased with yourself for being able to handle this successfully as you are with getting the floor redone!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Same thing happened to us. Warm everywhere except in front of the vanity where we stand! So annoying.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:29PM
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