Some Like It Hot

Step onto luxury with a radiant-heat floor
By Ellen Sturm Niz
April 07, 2010

It’s hard enough to get out of a warm bed in the morning, but when you know your feet will hit a cold floor, it’s enough to make you pull the covers over your head. Make your first trip to the bathroom, or your morning coffee-making ritual in the kitchen, more pleasant by stepping onto a heated floor.

Radiant-heat flooring is fast becoming a standard in today’s kitchen and bath construction projects. Not only can it be more efficient than other heating methods, it provides a luxurious feature for homeowners. Plus, its hidden nature means kitchen and bath design doesn’t need to be compromised for comfort.

Check out the radiant heat flooring options—as well as wall applications—on the market.

Nuheat’s Custom-Mat Electric Floor Heat System

For rooms with angled or curved walls, Nuheat’s custom mats can provide optimal coverage. Send the room’s dimensions and specifications, and within a week Nuheat manufactures a custom mat designed to fit the space exactly, resulting in easy installation and no cold spots. Nuheat custom mats are 1/8 in. thick—sandwiching heating wire between durable, porous fabric—and run off a standard household circuit. The mats can be rolled out and installed under tile, stone, marble, slate, laminate and engineered wood floors. The mats can also be used in shower pans. The heating level can be controlled with a thermostat, such as the flush-mounted Harmony programmable thermostat, which can sit behind a double faceplate for a streamlined appearance. For more information, visit Nuheat.com. (Images courtesy of Nuheat Floor Heating Systems.)

radiant heat flooring, Nuheat's product options

Uponor’s Quik Trak Radiant Panel System

Suitable for both new and retrofit construction, Quik Trak is a system of plywood panels (7 in. wide x 48 in. long x 1/2 in. high) attached to an aluminum transfer sheet. A groove down the center of the panel holds 5/16-in. Wirsbo hePEX plus tubing. To facilitate tubing turns and maximum coverage, the Quik Trak system includes return panels with U-shaped grooves. The low-profile panels offer a low thermal mass for a fast response time—and can be installed in both floors (over a wood subfloor or concrete slab) and walls without having to alter doors, moldings or baseboards. To make installation even quicker, Uponor provides six assembled Quik Trak panels slightly staggered to fit easily together. The panels are fastened together with reinforced strapping tape to provide a strong, secure link. For more information, visit Uponor-usa.com.

radiant heat flooring, Uponor's product options

ThermoSoft’s Products

ThermoSoft offers a variety of products for contractors, homeowners and distributors. Retailed via the Internet to contractors as well as homeowners and DIYers are ThermoTile and ThermoFloor. ThermoTile is a floor-heating mat system that is easier to install than cable systems under tile and other cementitious floors (marble, ceramic, porcelain, stone). ThermoFloor  (pictured) is a floor-heating underlayment pad that can be installed under laminate and wood floors without cement. It is a three-in-one product that warms, insulates and quiets the floor. The company also offers a new line of three products for the distributor market, including WarmWalk, the distributor version of ThermoTile, and Warmsulate, the distributor version of ThermoFloor. The third product in the line is WarmStep, which combines the advantages of the other two products: It is an easy-to-install mat system that is “versatile for laminate and tile.” When installed under laminate and wood, no cement is required. For more information, visit Thermosoft.com.

radiant heat flooring, ThermoSoft's product options

Warmboard Radiant Subfloor

Warmboard offers a radiant heating system platform and subfloor in one. A thick aluminum surface is permanently bonded to the plywood subfloor through which PEX tubing is snugly laid into channels. The close fit with the channel provides a large thermal contact area with the aluminum surface for efficient heat conduction from the Warmboard to the water flowing through the tubing. To aid in the installation process, Warmboard recently devised a way to keep the Warmboard subfloor free from excessive moisture during construction. The company now adds four limber slots to the bottom of each panel along the joist side. These slots serve as water drainage channels to allow moisture that previously built-up in the gap between subfloor panels above the joist to be diverted away. In addition, Warmboard recently expanded its product offering to include heat loss and mechanical design services to provide customers with designs and specifications for building a complete radiant heating system. For more information, visit Warmboard.com.

radiant heat flooring, Warmboard's product options

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