Installing radiant-heat flooring can save homeowners up to 25 percent in energy bills. That adds up quickly when you live in a cold, wet environment like Oregon and Washington. Tile can be very cold on your feet, especially in the winter months, but it’s also a durable, long-lasting material for flooring so it makes sense to take the extra step of making it warm and inviting. You can also install radiant-heat flooring underneath wood floors as well. This article outlines the steps for a tile application.
Installing Radiant-Heat Flooring – Step By Step
Expose the Subfloor: Remove the old carpet, leaving the subfloor exposed. If necessary, use a scraper to separate the carpet from the floor. Remove excess glue from the cement subfloor with scrapers and an appropriate solvent, making sure to follow the solvent directions.
Apply a Crack-Suppression Membrane: Following the manufacturer’s directions, apply adhesive to the concrete subfloor and lay down a crack-suppression membrane. Apply the adhesive in sections and unroll the membrane onto the floor, using a floor roller to press it flat and work out any air bubbles. Since concrete expands and contracts as the temperature changes, the membrane will help support the floor and prevent cracks in the tile or grout.
Install the Grids for the Radiant-Heat Wires: Install the plastic grids that will hold the radiant-heat wires, using hot glue to adhere the grids to the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and space the grids uniformly over the floor to prevent hot and cool patches.
Snap the Cables Into the Grids: Snap the radiant-heat cables into the grids, keeping them evenly spaced to prevent hot and cool patches in the floor. Check the manufacturer’s directions for guidance on how far apart to space the cables.
Mix and Spread the Thinset Mortar: Use a heavy-duty drill with a paddle bit to mix Thinset mortar according to the package instructions. Use a straight-edge trowel to apply a layer of mortar over the electrical cables. When mixed to the right consistency, the mortar will stick and mound on the trowel with our falling off. Make sure to hold the trowel at a consistent angle throughout the entire job so the mortar bed will have a uniform thickness. Allow the mortar to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
TIPS: Only mix enough mortar to work for 10-15 minutes at a time. If the batches of mortar are too large, it will start to dry out before it’s applied to the floor. Wet or cold weather will slow down the drying process. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for more details.
Power the Radiant-Heat Floor: The best way to power the radiant-heat floor is to hire a professional, licensed electrician to run a dedicated circuit from your home’s main electrical panel to the correct room. The electrician cam also install the control panel for the heated floor in the wall.
TIPS: Always have a licensed electrician handle any electrical work that involves wiring a new circuit or working with the electrical panel or breaker box.
Determine the Layout: Dry-fit a vertical row of tiles and a horizontal row, leaving space for grout, to determine the best layout. The ideal layout will use as many full tiles as possible. The tiles against the wall should be half-tile wide or wider.
Spread Mortar and Lay the Tiles: Once you’ve determined the layout for the tiles, lay the tiles aside and start spreading mortar on the floor with the notched edge of the trowel. Create deep grooves in the mortar and then press each tile into the mortar, wiggling it gently to place it. Check the tiles for level and adjust as needed. Use tile spacers to keep an even grout line. You’ll also need to use a wet saw to cut tiles. It is highly recommended to wear safety glasses when using a wet saw.
Mix and Apply the Grout, then Apply Sealant: After the mortar is dry and you’ve laid all your tiles, remove the spacers and mix the grout according to the package directions. Apply the grout with a float, working it into the spaces between the tiles. Let grout dry slightly, then wipe the excess off the tiles with a damp sponge, rinsing the sponge frequently. Make sure the sponge isn’t dripping when cleaning the tiles off. Once the grout is completely dry, usually takes 24 hours, then you can apply the grout sealant.
IMPORTANT: Let the mortar cure for 4 weeks BEFORE using the radiant-heat floor system.
If installing radiant-heat flooring seems too difficult to handle on your own, you can always call a licensed tile contractor to help you with your project. At Champion Property Improvement, we will work with you every step of the way to ensure your satisfaction. Give us a call at 503-969-6613 or visit our website at www.championpropertyimprovement.com.
Installing Radiant-Heat Flooring – Local Areas We Serve
Oregon: Beaverton, Bend, Canby, Central Oregon, Clackamas, Dayton, Dundee, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Hood River, Keizer, Lake Oswego, McMinnville, Newberg, Oregon City, Portland, Sherwood, St. Paul, Tigard, Troutdale, Tualatin, West Linn, Wilsonville, Woodburn and more.
Washington: Bellingham, Bremerton, Camas, Centralia, Chehalis, Edmonds, Everett, Federal Way, Fife, Kalama, Kelso, Kent, Kirkland, Long Beach, Olympia, Pasco, Port Townsend, Ridgefield, Seattle, Vancouver, Woodland and more.
Champion Property Improvement is a preferred remodeling contractor in Oregon that specializes in installing radiant-heat flooring. Call us today for a free consultation at 503-969-6613. We’d love to earn your business!