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  • Writer's pictureTeam Pinto

Warm Up Your Waterloo Region Home - and Boost Its Value - with Radiant Floor Heating

Consider this scenario: it's a freezing winter morning - and we have plenty of those here in Ontario - and your bare feet are warmed by the floor beneath you as you enter your kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee. Doesn't it sound nice?

Heated floors are a terrific alternative to standard heating systems, and they can keep your home, as well as your toes, toasty throughout the winter. They are, as we mentioned in this previous piece, also high on many homebuyer's want lists, and will indeed add both real and perceived value to your home.

What is Heated Flooring?

Heated floors, often called radiant heating, are a form of heating system that is installed beneath the home's flooring. Instead of hot air rising through forced-air systems, radiant heating distributes warmth uniformly from below via heat radiation, ensuring that the temperature of the room is consistent from top to bottom.

Although they are just now becoming popular - or so it seems - the concept dates back a LONG way. The origins of the concept of heated flooring are first noted in Korea as far back as 5,000 BC. There is evidence to suggest that they had baked or heated floors, which would later become known as ‘ondol’, meaning ‘warm stone’.

By 3,000 BC, they were using a fire hearth, both for heating and as an early form of oven. It is thought that the Koreans were using double hearths for these separate functions by 900 BC.

In around 500 BC, the Greeks and Romans adopted the idea of underfloor heating, and they were both using hypocausts, a system that involved the floor being raised up on pillars while hot air passed through the space beneath. The technology has come quite a long way since then of course, but the idea is nothing new.

Although initially costly to install, this efficient kind of heating is an alternative to standard heating techniques and may prove to be cost-effective in the long term for your household. And those warm floors in winter really are nice...

Radiant Floor Heating Options Explained

Hydronic and electric radiant floor heating systems are the two commonly utilized types of radiant floor heating systems.

Hydronic radiant floor heating: This type of radiant floor heating uses a boiler to generate hot water, which is then circulated through tubes throughout the floors. These pipes run the length of the floor, radiating heat through materials such as tiles, concrete, and wood.

Hydronic heating is more efficient than traditional heating and is ideally suited to heating bigger spaces, making it more common for whole-house installations rather than room-by-room installations. Because hydronic systems require additional components such as a boiler and a pump, the initial installation cost might be high. However, as compared to traditional heating systems, you can save up to 30% on operational expenditures.

Electric radiant floor heating: Electric cables run beneath the flooring to power this type of radiant heating system. Warming a home using electric radiant heating can become pricey due to the amount of electricity used. As a result, rather than heating the entire house, this approach is most commonly used to heat individual rooms, such as a bathroom or bedroom. Electric installations heat floors in 30-60 minutes and can be programmed to heat your floors at specified times in the morning – or anytime you need it.

Installation and Usage Costs

When it comes to cost, hydronic solutions are a better long-term investment than electric systems because their operational expenses are lower. This is due to the fact that water carries and stores heat more effectively, resulting in a shorter operational time.

For professional installation, hydronic heating systems cost between $6 and $20 per square foot, averaging $13 per square foot, whereas electric heating costs between $8 and $15 per square foot, averaging $11 per square foot.

Because electric radiant floor systems are made up of electrical wire mats and do not require the additional parts that hydronic systems do, they are less expensive to install. Installation times can vary depending on a variety of factors. It will be easier for plumbers to install a heating system if you already have a boiler or a water heater and the floors are already open.

The cost of installation will increase if you are remodeling your home and need to open the floorboards for installation. DIY radiant floor heating can save you a lot of money if you have some experience wiring and installing pipework.

Radiant Floor Heating Pros and Cons

When considering radiant floor heating for your next remodel or home, it's important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the system.


When compared to air-forced systems, radiant floor heating systems produce minimal to no noise. This is due to the lack of a working furnace and/or vents to drive the warm air out.

Radiant floor heating relies on conduction throughout the home via systems in the floors and walls, making it non-allergenic. Because there are no vents or ducts, no dust is circulated, which could help those with allergies.

Energy efficiency: Because radiant heating does not use ducts or vents to circulate warm air, it is far more efficient at keeping your home warm. Warm air can seep through ducts in traditional heating systems, forcing you to keep the heat on for longer periods of time.

Steady heat: Because heated floors transfer heat to items in a room, the air temperature in your home remains consistent throughout, rather than rising to the ceiling.

Radiant flooring requires no maintenance, and most businesses that install this type of heating system include a minimum of a 25-year warranty.


Cost: The overall cost of radiant floor heating systems is determined by the size of the project and the type of system chosen. When compared to forced air systems, installation can be costly, especially if you're remodeling an existing home. Installing radiant heating in only one or two rooms might make it more affordable - the bathroom is usually a popular choice.

Installation: If you're retrofitting an existing home with a forced-air system, the procedure of installing radiant heating necessitates removing the existing flooring in order to install the systems, which is time-consuming and costly. If you're building a new house, investigate if your contractor can install radiant heating throughout your new home while staying within your budget.

Heated Floors and Flooring Types

Which of the various types of flooring options that are compatible with radiant floor heating systems is the most efficient? Ceramic and stone tile are the most frequent utilized materials for heated flooring.

This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that they effectively conduct heat and are a common flooring material in regions where people walk barefoot. Vinyl, hardwood and linoleum are other popular flooring options that work well with heated floors. Keep in mind, however, that if any of your flooring materials has an excessively high level of insulation, your heating system will be less effective.

Increase your Home Value with Floor Heating in a Kitchen or Bathroom

The kitchen and bathroom are the most popular rooms to install heated floors. They’re most likely to feature tile, which is inherently cold to the touch. Plus, they are high traffic areas, which means comfort is of the utmost importance. Therefore, when completing a kitchen or bathroom remodel, it’s always a great idea to consider in-floor radiant heating, even if you don't want to install it throughout the home.

Considering buying or selling a Waterloo Region home? Let Team Pinto use their huge local real estate experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here



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