When people first hear about the magic of floor heat, they often assume that such a luxury item must have a high price tag. But good news, this is not the case! Depending on the type of heating elements used and the size of your heated area, floor heating can be a very affordable addition to your home. This article explains what to expect when deciding to purchase your next floor heating experience and what your options are.
One thing we always stress to homeowners and contractors who are considering floor heat for the first time is that we have a high-quality product to suit whatever needs you have. If your top priority is a fast installation with as little labor as possible, we have custom mats that can be designed to fit your room exactly. If your top priority is keeping the cost of materials low, we have affordable WarmWire heating elements that can be installed using cable straps. If you want a balance between ease of installation and cost, we have standard SunTouch and Nuheat mats or Schluter DITRA-HEAT membrane and cable systems.
Installing any of these will result in a reliable, luxuriously comfortable floor backed by established, well-respected companies. If you need help deciding which one is best for your particular project, call us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable customer sales representatives, or check out our Knowledge Center for more articles and FAQs about our many products.
If you want an idea of the cost difference between products, we have put together a chart listing the estimated pricing for materials only for our average square foot jobs.
|Heated Area||WarmWire Cable and Strap||WarmWire Cable and Membrane||Ditra-Heat Cable and Membrane||SunTouch Mesh Mat||Nuheat Mesh Mat||Nuheat Custom Mat|
If you are concerned about the price due to a large room installation, remember that the difference between mat and cable prices start to decrease per square foot as you start getting into the larger sizes. Also, while we always recommend heating as large an area as possible to avoid cold spots in the floor, some very large rooms will have areas where there will be little to no foot traffic. In these cases, heating a smaller area or “spot heating” can be a good option for lowering cost. Just remember: the heat will not radiate out across the floor, so make sure you at least heat the areas where people will be walking or standing.
On the other hand, if you are heating a small room, be sure to consider all of your options carefully. The cable options are less expensive when working in a large space, but are very close to the mat prices in a small space. Since the price difference between materials is smaller for smaller rooms, other differences can become more significant. For example, a 10 square foot cable can be $110, whereas the SunTouch Tape Mat at 10 square feet is $125. In this case, purchasing the cable system may save you $15, but spending the extra $15 to get the mat system cuts your installation time in half.
The key to ensuring you get the best product for your specific room(s) is measuring and calculating your heated area correctly. If you generalize or guess the amount of square feet, you risk ordering more or less floor heat than what you actually need. Also, keep in mind that the cables cannot be cut or extended, which also requires you to measure correctly. If you are having a hard time measuring the floor, visit our “How to Calculate Heated Area” article or give us a call.
After you have decided on which option to go with, remember you will need a few more items. Every installation requires a floor heating thermostat and a digital multimeter to check the resistance on the heating elements throughout the installation. We also recommend purchasing a testing monitor, such as our LoudMouth, to ensure that the installation is performed properly and that no damage is done before laying your flooring down.
Our most popular thermostats are programmable and range from around $150-270 on top of the price of the floor heat materials. We also have non-programmable thermostats for closer to $100-$110, but the efficiency in energy savings you get over time using a programmable thermostat makes this difference in price negligible in most situations. Although these may seem like unimportant add-on items, remember that all floor heat options require a thermostat to function properly. Browse our thermostats to find the right one for you.
Another thing to bear in mind is the cost of installation. The cost will depend on where you live, which installer you choose, and what type of materials you use. However, when calculating the cost, remember that the easier the installation, the less labor time and cost will be. Mats, and especially custom mats, are easiest to install. You might even be able to do it yourself!
In short, as long as you’re willing to think through the options, we’re confident we can help you find a solution to fit your budget. Don’t hesitate to call us to discuss your options before passing up the opportunity to have comfortable warm floors!