how long for heated floors to heat?

thetewsSeptember 6, 2007

I'm in the planning stages for my master bath remodel. The bath is 8'x9'. Sinks and toilet will be on one side, shower and tub will be on the other. The "empty" floor in between will be ~3'x9'. I hadn't planned on putting in heated floors because I figured we'd keep using two rugs like we do now. But in one thread about what remodeling decisions people were happy they'd made, lots and lots of people said they were happy about installing a heated floor.

But is it really that useful? How fast does it heat?

Wouldn't I want my rugs in there anyway so that my feet will be warm as soon as I walk in?

And if they do heat really, really quickly, does anyone also use rugs just for the softness, and/or to not have wet floors on getting out of the shower?

Thanks for any feedback on this.


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I put in heated floors in my bathroom remodel last spring, but have them turned off in the summertime. In general I don't think the point is to have instant heat, but instead to have the floors always warm, and as a bonus the room itself will be a little warmer. Mine take about 15 minutes to heat up. In the winter I plan to leave them on - there's a thermostat that allows me to set the "day" temp and the "night" temp. I don't have rugs in my bathroom at all.

hope that helps.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 7:16PM
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Thanks Ann for that info.

My bathroom stays about the same warmth as the rest of the house. Since I like to have the house rather cool during the winter, especially the nights and when we're gone to work during the day, I guess if I could have a programable thermostat that lets me set it to warm up before I get up and to go off or very low after my husband is done in there (generally 2 hours later than me), then it would be a pretty good thing to have.

Any additional thoughts on heated floors vs rugs, or on programable thermostats for heated floors would be appreciated.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 8:22PM
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I put radiant floor heat in the kitchen during last year's remodel. I had intended to run a program and only heat the floor when I would be in the room, but I quickly realized I had no idea when I would be in the kitchen so I went with the 'set it and forget it' method instead. Some rather rudimentary estimating and researching others' experiences led me to guess that at most it costs me $5 a month to run in the dead of winter. A small price to pay for the comfort it provides.

Cold to comfortable takes 5-10 minutes, so an instant-heat application is not realistic.

I'm about to start my bathroom remodel and will definitely be installing RFH. A rug, while useful for your just-from-the-shower wet feet, is no match for the total room comfort of a RFH system.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 12:55AM
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We used a timer to set ours to come on around 5 in the morning and shut off at 11 pm. It was great to get up in the winter to nice warm floors.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 12:58AM
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We also do the "set it and forget it" routine, although we also shut it off for the summer. It doesn't use very much power at all - the increase in our electric bill was negligible even with running it 24/7. I'm home during the day pretty much all the time and it's also mighty icky to get up for a pee in the middle of the night and step onto ice-cold tile, so rather than finagle around with some complex scheduling it was just easier to leave it on. We keep a rug in between the bathtub and shower (they face each other) to manage drips but it was a drag to have to sort of step from rug to rug to keep from stepping on the cold tile. If I were the type to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror I would have put a little bitty rug in front of the sink for softness - after all, I spent what was, for me, quite a bit of money having a pretty tile floor put down, why would I hide it under a bunch of rugs?

I don't find the Suntouch mats to really do anything as far as raising the room temperature is concerned, it just doesn't have that much power. Other floor-warming systems are intended to provide supplemental or even primary heat for a room.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 8:25PM
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Ours have a programmable thermostat. But I put a switch in the line between the thermostat and the mats. Regular toggle switch mounted beside the thermostat. Now the thermostat is programmed for always on at 80 deg. We use it Winter only, AC for Summer is set at 76 deg. I switch it on about 7PM and close the bath door, first bath about 9, last one ends at about 10PM. Last bather turns off the switch. Both bath and floor are very comfortable by 9PM. The switch adds some operating options. For continuous on, just turn on the switch, no reprogramming necessary.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:16PM
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"Other floor-warming systems are intended to provide supplemental or even primary heat for a room."

Does anyone know the names of these systems? As long as I'm investing in radiant heat I'd like to get my money's worth. I have a cold bathroom.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 2:28PM
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In well insulated houses in most climates, 10 watts per square foot will provide primary heat for rooms. It must be thermostat controlled and enabled to operate any time the thermostat senses a temperature drop. For electric floor radiant systems, I would not at all consider any system except with the thermostat sensor in the floor. Provides very precise control.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 3:08PM
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we are dealing with radiantec infloor radiant heating systems.

For those of you that have infloor hot water radiant heat
What kind of system are you using to heat the water?

Here is a link that might be useful: radiant heat

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 4:11PM
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If you are considering electric RFH, check out

This is what I put in my kitchen with the programmable thermostat and it's perfect. I don't have the need, but I'm confident that I could primarily heat the room with just this RFH system. I agree that an in-floor thermostat sensor is a must, and I would encourage installing a second one and running it to the thermostat box as a backup in case the first one fails for some reason. $17 well spent.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 6:35PM
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My sensor is in a separate conduit buried in the floor and running back to the thermostat wall box. Replacement of the sensor takes less than 10 minutes, but has not yet been necessary.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 7:19PM
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We'll be measuring this weekend to decide how many and what size mats to buy. My husband thinks we DON'T need heated flooring at the shower exit because he imagines we will keep a mat there to catch drips. Same thing in front of the tub, I would imagine I'd step out of the tub onto a rug, so no need to heat that area either? Help!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 12:40PM
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We've got radiant heat floors in our master bath and kitchen (so far). We leave the heat on 24/7 in the winter, even though we have programmable thermostats. They're positively addicting. There are days my DH and I eat breakfast standing up at the kitchen island because our feet feel so good on the toasty floor. We have a mat outside our shower door to dry off our feet.

I would absolutely not omit the spaces you think you'll have rugs. That'll lock you in to not being able to change later. Or if the rug is a few inches off from the perfect rectangle you outlined, your feet will get quite a cold shock from the unheated tiles. The only thing I'd skip is the floor behind the toilet. Make sure you go all the way under the toekick on the vanity as well so your toes don't get cold.

FWIW, we used Warming Systems.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 4:59PM
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We have had electric in-floor heat as the sole heat source in our MB three years now. We do use the timer/thermostat because we've never bothered to calculate the cost of leaving it on 24/7. It takes about 1hr to completely heat the room. Rugs, bath mats, slippers, piles of dirty clothes (LOL) all get warmer than the tile itself. Stepping out of the shower onto a warm bath mat is heaven!

I wouldn't skimp on coverage. Go right up to the edge of everything. Our heat doesn't extend under the toe kick at the sink and those tiles are a freezing cold shock on a cold morning. I've read that the heat can melt the wax ring under the toilet so you wouldn't want to extend *under* the toilet, but you definitely want to go right up to the edge of the base.

I will never have another bathroom floor tiled without heat underneath. It was the best remodeling bang for the buck we've ever gotten.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 8:18PM
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Are you allowed to heat a tiled shower floor?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:44AM
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I am currently struggling with the 'heated floors investment' issue, as well. I am certain that I want them, it just that I also want every OTHER new and cool product I've learned about, thanks to all of you wonderful posters on GW! :)) My budget is weeping... ever so gently. So I must choose the most cost-effective product with a reputation of good quality, especially when 'could-go-wrongs' during the installation procedure can be so scary to 'chicken' first timers like me.

I agree that I would heat your entire open area; the rectangular size of a bath mat is negligible in the grand scheme of things. And what better than stepping out from the shower unto a dry bath mat, than to a WARM, dry bath mat, as the mat will become heated, as well? Not much of a question to me. But of course, I can ALWAYS figure out everyone else's dilemmas, it's mine I struggle with.

When I requested an estimate from the SunTouch distributor, WARM YOUR FLOOR, he sent me back an estimate that included mats in my open area, and a second estimate if I wanted to heat my shower floor. So I am certain that it is done, it's just that most people are a little 'leary' about electric mats in a shower, even if they are imbedded in thinset under tile. Most feel that turning on the water in the shower a little early will heat your floor sufficiently for you to step into it.

I went to the link below which is the 'Frequently Asked Questions' page for SunTouch, but I did not find 'heating a shower' as one of the questions. I have found this page quite useful in general, for learning about radiant heat flooring, regardless of whose product you use. You might go to the 'Warm Your Floor' website and see if their FAQ's addresses heated showers.

Here is a link that might be useful: SunTouch FAQ's

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 1:11PM
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Gutting our house. General contractor stated RFH intalled in MB would cost about $1,000. Exposed floor area is about 12x5. Was in a model home this past weekend that had it. Sold us on it immediately!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 11:58PM
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I have the heat mats under tile in my master bath (tiny), my den (huge), and my spare bath (even tinier than tiny). We LOVE IT -- so does everyone else that visits. We've had it for about 3 years now or more.

It costs very little (no more than $2 per month).

It doesn't heat the whole room, but its enough in the baths, and our den has central heat and air.

We use the programmable thermostat and set it to be on when we're up and bathing, and in the den -- when we're up -- almost all day and night.

I confess, the "programmable" is a pain. I can't understand it and geez -- I'm a computer consultant for a living! But my chef-hubby understands it just fine, so that's good enough for me as long as my feet are warm.

Ours takes about 30 minutes to come up to 90 degrees, which is what we keep it set on in the winter and fall months (and also this very cold spring).

I also use bath rugs in the bathroom. They are toasty warm when I get out of the shower. In addition, the added bonus is dropping a towel on the floor and it's dry in no time. I tend to believe that the warm floors lessen the mildew that is common to bathrooms. And damp towels are a thing of the past. Let them dry a bit on the warm tile and then hang them back up before prancing out the door to work in the early a.m.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 3:10AM
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cindy&mocha: They do make heated towel racks if you want to avoid laying your towels on the floor. :-) Another very worthy investment.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:49AM
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