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electric heat mat under tile

John Dirks Jr

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Contemplating installing a heat mat before putting tile down.

http://www.homedepot.com/Flooring-Under ... RRWidgetID

Aside from the instructions that would come with the product, I'm sure some of you might have tips that the installation instructions don't mention.

I'll have Hardie Backer on the floor that the heat mat would be placed on. What kind of advice can any of you give for a smooth installation? I'm primarily concerned with the thinset process with the goal of keeping a level surface. Since I'm doing this on a total bathroom renovation, the vanity cabinet and toilet are not installed. How would I ensure a level transition from areas where the mat is under the tile and areas where it isn't such as the area under the vanity and toilet?

Any other pros and cons?

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What kind of advice can any of you give for a smooth installation?

Hire someone who knows what they're doing?

Seriously, if it were me, I'd really have to do some long, hard thinking about whether that would be worth the effort, the added cost to the project, and the utility bill. Do you spend that much time in your bathroom without nice, warm, fuzzy, slippers?

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The mats are small and expensive. It is a nice feature if you are selling a place. I see them in the higher priced units, and people like the warm tiles. Programmable thermostats let you set the heat to come on before you get up in the AM, then turn off.

On a concrete slab, you are paying to heat the earth, and the earth is a fairly large mass to heat.

In our previous place, I laid a heat mat on a concrete slab from the bathroom door to the tub for about $250. I didn't put a heat mat in front of the crapper on the right, which was just a little square patch of tile. So you'd walk in and have nice warm tiles, step over to the crapper and the tiles were 10 degrees colder. That contrast was worse than no heat in the floor, probably.

Tiling wasn't hard. We just laid down a slightly thicker layer of thinset where the mat ran out. My wife is better at leveling tiles than I am. Fussier, I mean.

Just like Kurt said earlier, the sensor quit after only a few days. I had to diagnose the problem first and then had to install a new sensor under a tile without cutting the heating cable. It was a delicate operation, but it worked ok after that.

We have a little 300 watt baseboard heater in this house. It heats the tile floor pretty well, but this house is over a crawlspace with an insulated floor. Upstairs bath has a wall-mount fan heater. The electric fan heaters are compact and pump a lot of heat, good choice, IMO. We never even use the one upstairs.

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I have Laticrete units and really like them. The t-stats are very fussy and a single wrong connection can fry them. I had the tile setter place them in one step; fasten cable to backer then thinset to final elevation. Works.

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I chose Warming Systems for ours over the Laticrete and Sun Touch that were for sale at the big box stores. It's Made in the USA and I was able to get a 15 sq. ft. mat WITH thermostat for $145 on ebay, less than half the price. (I believe Laticrete mats are foreign made if I remember correctly, Sun Touch is also Made in the USA). Also bought and extra thermostat sensor for $6 to install as a backup as others recommended in the other thread. Regardless of brand, I believe they are all pretty similar, at least all I've seen.

It's what I'm installing under my tile. Isn't self stick like Laticrete and Sun Touch or have the fancy continuity indicator to hook it up to during installation to verify continuity while you're tiling it, but I'll manage to hold it in place for that price and just use my multi-meter to verify continued continuity [^]

Their site is here: http://warmingsystems.com/ and the instructions are linked on their home page, and the other brands also have their instructions on line.

Warming Systems advised to just use the flat side of trowel to embed it then install tile as normal with notched side. It's only about 1/8" thick. I'm just going to back butter adjacent tiles and set to the same height if needed. Some other systems also advised you could do self leveling mix first to embed it in then do tile, so I assume that would work for this but it doesn't mention it in their instructions. Also you're not supposed to fire it up the first time in the floor until it is all fully cured.

I had an extra GFCI breaker laying around so I ran a new circuit that will power this and the mat in my other main level bath when I get around to doing it.

If I get time tomorrow, I'm going to try to tile it in so will post back soon on how it goes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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