Monday, August 12, 2013

Figuring Out Flooring

So a discussion with my brother over the weekend made me wonder exactly how much more energy we would have to pay to run a heated floor in. The heat mats that Home Depot sells claim to use 28% less energy, but our question was... 28% of what?

And if it does raise our energy costs, would dishing out an extra $1000 to put in a heated floor be worth it if you have to be careful not to use it too much?

I've been thinking about it all weekend, and have come to this conclusion: I'll put it in the kitchen, and if the energy costs are reasonable, we will consider putting it into the rest of the downstairs when we redo the rest of the floors.  If it does raise our energy costs up too much, then we know for sure that we won't install radiant heating anywhere else. After all, the kitchen and bathroom are the two places that, if you had to choose rooms for radiant heating, would be the prime candidates.

But there's one catch. We were told at Home Depot that you cannot put these heat mats directly on cement because the efficiency will go way down due to loss of heat through the cement. You MUST insulate the floors first.

What this means for us is a layer of floor insulation, plywood on top of that, then the heat mat, the mortar and  finally the tile and grout. What it also means is ..... wait for it.........that we don't have to remove the old linoleum glue off the floor anymore!!!!!!!  ALL THAT WORK and it wasn't even necessary! Can you hear my brother's heart sink in agony?

So that meant.... redoing the doorway. We estimate that we will need an additional 2 inches of space on the floor to install the insulation. It also means that there will be a "lip" in the floor when you go from the rec room into the kitchen -- well, at least for the time being.


But regardless, lots got done today. The insulation was installed and sealed in the wall. Some new drywall was installed as well.

The door was supposed to be secured in today, but because of the change in floor height, they had to remove it and heighten the top 2.5 inches to compensate. 

And over the weekend, we had an electrician do up all the wiring for the kitchen. The work involves moving the plug for the oven to its new location, installing new sockets to feed the new position of the fridge and the microwave, installing a brand new power source for the dishwasher, garburator and lights over the sink, and other things. I didn't realize so much work went into just wiring a kitchen! He worked for almost two full days to get it all together.

Tomorrow a pipe fitter friend of my brother will come and re-position the plumbing so that we can have the sink in the peninsula. And apparently, I am not supposed to call him a plumber. He's actually a very highly skilled piping specialist for places like big chemical plants and industrial structures. It's basically being an engineer/chemist and requires a higher level of education. So.... Peter, the pipe fitter, NOT the plumber!


  1. Stumbled on your blog and its an interesting read on renos etc. Just wondering though ....So did you shop around for other heated floor options? Why Home Depot? most reasonable in price?

    1. Thanks for your advice and your comments about my blog!

      Home Depot sells the Warmly Yours and True Comfort systems, and the price point was about the same as NuHeat except that they have much more complicated installation procedures and, from what I can tell, are not as reputable. There are apparently only 3 companies that meet the Canadian standards for in-floor heating, so I assume these are the three.

  2. I saw your newest post...thanks! We're not redoing a kitchen but the lower level of our house and we have come to a standstill on flooring over concrete. I can't believe how much this has helped. Thanks again and can't wait to see it all turn out:)

    1. Aw I'm so glad my random thoughts are helping! Good luck with your reno and let me know how it's going! If you send me pics of before and after I would love to post it here!