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How Much Does Radiant Floor Heating Cost?

Cost of an Underfloor Heating System

The cost of radiant floor heating depends on a number of different factors. The article below is intended to help you get a better idea of how much you should pay for your project.

1. Where do you live?

The cost of installing a radiant floor heating system varies by city and state. As a general rule of thumb, prices for labor and materials tend to be higher in large cities and metropolitan areas.

2. How much demolition is required?

The best time to install a floor heating system is during the initial construction of your home. You will have total control over the layout and design of your system, as there’s no need to work around appliances and existing fixtures. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.

Retrofitting a floor heating system into an existing home is a little more complicated. Opening ceilings and pulling up floors will add to the cost of your project. If possible, wait to install your radiant flooring system until you are replacing flooring or planning a remodel.

3. Where will the heating system be installed?

The scope of your project will have a significant impact on the overall cost of the project. Are you looking to install the floor heating system throughout your entire home, or in a single room? Many contractors will base their estimate on the total square footage of area to be heated. The quote should include the cost of both time (labor) and materials.

If you plan on installing a radiant heating system on the second or third floor of your home, you should be prepared for the related expenses. Not only will this increase the square footage of your project significantly, it will likely require additional structural modifications as well.

4. What type of radiant flooring system do you want?

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems

An electric floor heating system is intended to provide some additional heat to one or two rooms of your home. Unlike a hydronic floor heating system, an electric floor heating system is not typically used to replace a boiler or forced air furnace. However, they are very popular in kitchens and bathrooms with cold tile flooring. The heating cables come in easy-to-install mats which are typically set in a thin layer of concrete.

As a general rule, the cost of an electric underfloor heating system is considerably less than a hydronic heating system. The cost of your radiant floor heating system will be impacted by the square footage of the project, the amount of demolition required, and the current condition of your home’s wiring and electrical panel.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems

A hydronic system uses hot water to heat the interior spaces of a home. Just like a furnace, the temperature can be controlled by a programmable thermostat. A boiler (or water heater) supplies hot water to a system of flexible plastic pipes installed under the floor’s surface (so there are no clunky radiators taking up space in your home).

Although the initial installation cost can be steep, the month-to-month operating costs tend to be much lower than a forced air furnace. The cost of your hydronic floor heating system will be affected by the size of your home, the amount of piping needed, the desired number of heating zones, the current condition of your boiler (or water heater), and the installation method used (stapled below subflooring, set in concrete slab, etc.).

5. What type of flooring you do want?

Your choice of flooring will impact the total cost of your project. Many homeowners choose to install tile over their radiant floor heating systems. However, tile is not your only option. Hardwood, vinyl, and laminate floors are also good alternatives. Carpet tends to reduce heat flow, making the heating cables less effective. Your contractor can help you decide what will work best for your home. Also, make sure to ask your contractor what type of furniture and fixtures can be placed on top of the heated floors.

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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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