Ceramic, slate and marble floors add beauty and value to any home, but have the reputation of being cold underfoot. With the warm tiles system from EasyHeat, that’s no longer a concern! The heart of the system is an energy efficient heating cable embedded directly beneath the tile. It’s a great choice for new construction or remodeling. And whether you’re planning on upgrading your own home or want to add something special to a rental property, which is exactly what we did with our temporary housing rental in Tucson, this is sure to be a welcome upgrade. Stay right here and we’ll show you how.
Determine the square footage of the area you want to heat. In the case of a bathroom, subtract the area where tubs, toilets and cabinets will be located. Then, consult the chart on the EasyHeat package to determine what size kit your need.
Make sure your subfloor meets the requirements of your tile manufacturer. The EasyHeat system can be installed over plywood, concrete or backerboard. Also, determine where to locate the electrical box for the thermostat. Holes are drilled at floor level into the wall and a cable guard is installed so the cable can later be run up from the floor to the electrical box. Then, measure and mark the mid-point of the heated area. This may differ from the center of the room itself. It’s a good idea to have the cable run parallel with the longest wall of the room.
Measure and cut lengths of metal strapping and nail or screw them into the subfloor at 30 to 36 in intervals. Install the end screw or nail at a slight angle to provide tension along the length of the strapping. To keep the cable from twisting, use a broom handle or something similar and suspend the cable reel from a ladder. Pull the cold lead, which is the black section of cable, up into the electrical box with a fish cord. Pull the cable up until the cold lead splice is about 12 inches from the wall. Also pull the white sensor wire up into the box.
To keep the cold lead from interfering with the laying of the tile, cut a quarter inch deep groove into the subfloor with a chisel or utility knife. Secure the cable with the flat ribbon strapping included in your kit. Secure the cable between the cold lead and where it meets the first metal strap with clips included in your kit. Now start looping the cable through the metal strapping using every other slot as spacing.
Carefully loop the cable making sure it does not come out of the loop on either side. Keep the end of the loop about an inch from the metal strapping. Make sure to keep the cable taut and bend the tabs to hold the cable in place if needed. If the half-of-cable marker appears before the half of area line on the subfloor you will end up short of cable before you finish. If that’s the case, carefully remove the cable and start farther away from the wall or place less cable in low-traffic areas.
If the half-of-cable marker appears after you’ve reached the halfway mark on the floor, you ll have excess cable when you reach the end. Surplus cable can be used up by reducing cable spacing to an inch and a half between runs. Consult the directions in your kit for further details.
Now place the white sensor wire between two sections of heating cable that are spaced 3 inches apart. A small groove will need to be cut into the subfloor for the end of the sensor wire. Secure the wire into place with the included clips. Before the finished floor is installed, check the electrical resistance of the cable and sensor wire with an ohmmeter to ensure no damage has occurred to either cable during installation. Consult the directions for exact details.
Now it’s your choice as to whether you use a thin set mortar or a self leveling mortar compound in which to embed the cables into place. If you’re unsure of which to use, you should talk to a flooring expert to get find out what is right for the type of floor you’re working with. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to apply the mortar with a trowel working in the same direction as the cables so that they don’t start rolling around and changing positions on you.
Once the scratch coat of mortar has dried the finished floor can be installed Follow the tile manufacturer s instructions for installation details. Once the mortar and grout have fully cured, the tile warming system can be energized. Connect the power supply to the thermostat and warming cable according to the directions in your kit. You’re now ready to enjoy a warm tile floor along with the satisfaction that you did it yourself.