How to install a heated ceramic floor: It’s all about the sub-floor. So here it is summer now and the perfect time to do home improvements for the winter. One of the best ways to improve your home’s value is by installing radiant heat in the floor. Here is how you do that. The best place to buy the product for this project is either online or at Home Depot. They have kits in varied prices. I used the wired ones pictured. I purchased them at Home Depot. You will also need hot glue and screws, nails and a measuring tape, and a marble. Don’t ask yet, just get it. You will also need mortar and tiles and a trowel for the tile floor installation. Get creative and check some of my links for some great resources on that. They are located at the side of this article generally. Also have some sponges and a bowl of water handy for the tile installation. Now as to the radiant heat floor panels. You want to use an electrician to handle the electrical on this job and there is no way around it. Otherwise you could end up costing yourself tons later if you fail to meet code. Remember it varies by where you live.
First of all know that it’s all about the sub-floor. No matter what you do, if the sub-floor is not level you are going to have a disaster waiting to happen. To find out what the sub-floor is like simply do what I like to call the marble test. Sounds silly; but it works. As a marble is perfectly round it is perfect for rolling. Place the marble on each corner of the room and and steady it carefully so it is still and see if it rolls. Repeat this at the center of the room. If it does roll then you have to check the level radius of the room. It must be flat to 3/16″ per 10 foot radius. If it is not then you must fix that. (Articles on that elsewhere to come here on this site). Additionally the sub-floor must be structurally sound. This is checked by vision. You can get a professional for it; but basically jump up and down on the floor. If it doesn’t feel as though you sink as you do it; then you are good to go on that. Remember to clean the floor completely and ensure it dries prior to installation of the heated floor panels. This is essential.
Now prepare the floor for the panels by placing tile backer board to it and make sure it is secured with a thin set mortar and cement board. Then fasten with screws and nails. Now you are ready.
Have an electrician check the wiring for continuity and install the electrical box on the wall. Only an electrician can make sure it is to code. After that place the panels (as seen here in the picture); on the floor lined up and then secure with the kit’s process. (This will vary by which radiant heat, or heated floor panel you are using). If you are unsure use hot glue. You are going to be placing floor tiles above this anyway which will ensure the stability of the panels. Follow the instructions of your kit. Now you want the electrician to finish guiding you to ensure your product is up to code. If you get a good one they will guide you and not charge the fee’s involved in installing this themselves. Usually even if they aren’t a buddy; they will be more than happy to work out a simple fee for their guidance. Some things they may have to do. You will have to work it out with them individually.
At this point you have the panels in place and all is connected. Now comes the tile floor. You will need mortar and the tiles and a trowel to spread the mortar on the floor. You will also need that bowl of water and sponges. Begin by spreading the mortar over the panels and smooth. Do this in small areas to ensure consistency of the mortar to set properly. Then place each tile on top of the wet mortar. Now tap each tile into the proper location. This is the fun part. Get creative. Make patterns and have fun with it. Repeat until the floor is covered with the tiles. Then place a fine layer of mortar on the tiles and smooth over them. Wash off the excess with the wet sponge. Let it set and have the electrician check it and set it. Enjoy your new heated floor knowing that you really did this mostly by yourself.
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