Water radiant floor heating
Hot water floor heating is the most efficient radiant floor system in the market. Traditionally, they have been used with reinforced concrete slabs. Today, new hydronics systems have the advantage of being ultra-lightweight, like the Schluter Bekotec membrane system. They could be implemented over conventional wood structures with as little as 1-1/4″ (32 mm) of mortar thickness, and without the need of reinforced wiring or rods. The reduced mortar mass allows to operate the system at lower temperatures. In addition, the Bekotec system incorporates an uncoupling membrane to absorb sub-floor movements and isolate the tile installation from structural movement Ultimately, there are other systems where the hydronic tubing is incorporated directly within the plywood structure. These types of systems are less efficient as they have less mass to hold the heat, however, they do not add thickness to the floor assembly.
Radiant electric floor heating
Electrical radiant heated floors are widely used in today’s tile floor installations. Their wide availability in retail stores combined with the simplicity of their installation has given rise to lots of misinterpretation and improvisation. That is, many tile setters pretend to be electrical floor certified installers. However, Quebec’s construction law clearly states that only a certified master electrician could certify their installation and connection to the electrical panel. That is, with a ‘’professionally certified’’ installation, they could be securely used under shower floors. The thermostats come with built-in GFCI for safety and we completely isolate them from water and humidity by waterproofing the bathroom and shower floors. As for the substrate preparation, it is important to carefully select the leveling mortars, installation adhesives and floor membranes as the temperature and humidity variations directly impact the mortar’s life and the whole floor assembly.
Most heated floors available today on the market are free of electromagnetic fields and could be used safely in a house. We strongly recommend their use as they procure unparalleled comfort and in wet application, they help evaporate water on the floor.