Electric underfloor heating mats in kitchen?

MarenALMarch 6, 2014

We are making some final choices on our kitchen floor, and the last decision is whether to have some electric floor heating mats placed under the new tile. I would love to hear some opinions.

Here is the set-up: We live in the South (US), and our house insulation is horrible, which seems to be the norm here. We have gas heat. The kitchen is without a doubt the coldest place in the house, primarily because it sits over the garage. Before we added insulation rolls to the ceiling of the garage under the kitchen floor joists, there was no insulation there. So, in the winter, the kitchen is difficult to heat even when the rest of the house is at the right temp. I will sometimes go outside and feel WARMER than I do in my heated house.

We are replacing our sheet vinyl with porcelain tile. We have been considering adding the electric floor mats under the tile, probably just in the main cooking area (for cost reasons). We will have pros do the floor install.

Does anyone have this type of product (Laticrete or SunWatts brand at Lowe's), and if so, is it worth the cost? Any information on what is the best brand?

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Have you considered hardwood, it's much warmer and easier on your legs & feet. Easy to clean and water is not an issue if sealed properly. Tile floors in a kitchen have always caused me pain no matter what my age is and grout is not fun to clean. I think after having vinyl floors the hard tile might be hard to get used to no matter what temp it's at. After having hardwood in our kitchens for years and visiting a friend's housewarming party who had tile in the kitchen and standing there for barely an hour my legs started to hurt and hurt for days after.

I have had heated tile floors in a bathroom but did not like to stand on the tile for long, still stood on a soft bath mat. We are not doing heated floors in our new build.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 1:53AM
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Thanks for the reply xc60.

We have three large dogs who have done a number on our other hardwood floors, so I don't want to invest in another floor to have it scratched up in a month the way my new bedroom floor is- especially the kitchen where they spend a lot of their days while we are at work. Boy, if I wasn't dog crazy my home choices would be much greater!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 8:36AM
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I have Nuheat under the tiles. I don't know how your power bill is going to react, but your dogs will love it!
I wouldn't put tiles in without, though I do live in a cold climate. They go on in oct and off in April or May. Make sure they adjust, they can be on quite low and still be of benefit.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:07AM
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Fireweed22, thank you! I had been looking at Nuheat. It seems so silly to heat floors when we have such short winters comparatively, but our prior houses in the northern midwest were toasty in the winter and I'm double-layering fuzzy socks in Alabama from December to March.


The dogs would love it, you are right :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 6:59PM
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We've used Warming Systems in multiple rooms and have been very happy with it.

If you put it in your kitchen, I'd put it under the whole floor, not just part of it. Partial heated floors will just make the other parts of it feel much colder.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Fireweed and weedyacres, has your electric bill increased much?thats something I have to consider in addition to the initial install cost - or did your heating bill decrease due to more efficient warming? I live in the northeast and would probably use the heat under tiles ( or cork) in kitchen and bathrooms October through April.
Thanks for your helpful information!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 6:03PM
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It's hard to sort out the impact of our heated floors on our electric bill, as there are lots of factors in kwh used in a month (time at home, outside temperature, time out of town), but overall I'd say it wasn't significant. I wouldn't say it cut down on the gas heating bill either, though.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Underfloor heating mats aren't a bad idea, but they won't offer an economic edge over other forms of heating. To be comfortable and save money, you first need to make the cheapest fix, and that is getting your insulation up to snuff. If you insulated below the kitchen floor and you still have problems, that means your walls and/or attic are inadequately insulated. Until you do this, you will just be looking at an alternative way to waste heating dollars. Whatever your home construction, there are ways to add insulation and you will break even on the cost in a relatively short time and be money ahead every year after that. It's not as sexy as underfloor heating, but it is the first step you need to take.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Thanks for your feedback weedyacres. Good to hear more info from someone who is a heated floor vet.

Kudzu9, you're right, the insulation is inadequate. The attic insulation is good (upstairs is toasty). I think the culprit is poor wall insulation and the cold suck of our garage. We have talked about trading out our garage doors for higher end insullated doors. I think the concrete block garage walls are a problem too. Do you think we should spray insulate and drywall them? Would that help?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:13PM
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The answer to your question depends on how your house is built. If the garage is not heated, what you need to do is insulate any shared walls it has with the living space. If it's unheated and you only insulate exterior walls of the garage, then heat from the interior makes its way to the garage and is costing you money; exterior wall insulation in the garage slows that heat and money loss down some, but you are still unnecessarily using the heat you want to keep in the living space to heat the garage. Basically imagine your house without the garage: the walls, floor and ceiling that remain are the areas you want to insulate. You want to create an "envelope" that surrounds all sides of the living areas that you want to keep warm. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Hardwood is a easy way to go with. Using some mats and rugs can also do the job for you but it seems that money is the main factor here, hence wooden floors is the pick for you. You can check out this url for buying some good rugs. They worked for me pretty good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Affordable Rugs

This post was edited by ChickaEladio on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 4:00

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:27AM
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