How To Install Electric Floor Heating Under Your Bathroom Floor Tiles

A cold floor can stun your feet when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As you turn the temperatures down in the house to save energy on cold nights, you are creating an environment where tile floors lose heat and get much colder during the night than during the day when the heat is fully on. You can do something about those cold floors by placing heating mats under the tiles in the bathroom when you redo your bathroom floor. Here is how you can install heating mats under a tile floor.

You Will Need:

  • Heating Mats
  • 6"x6" Floor Tiles
  • Continuity Tester
  • Skill Saw
  • Double-Faced Tape
  • Mortar
  • Trowel

Purchasing Mats

The first thing you want to do with new heating mats is to test them for damage before you install them under your tiles. You can use a continuity tester to make sure there aren't any shorts or breaks in the wiring. Another thing to check is the electrical requirements for the mats. In some cases, you may have to install an exclusive electrical outlet with its own circuit breaker for your mat. You should refer to the manufacturer's recommendation to determine what the specific requirements will be for the mats you purchase.

Installing the Mats

The mats are placed on top of the tile cement board that goes over the sub-flooring. You will want to place the mat at least four inches away from your shower, bathtub, toilet, and walls. You also want to avoid placing the mat under any cabinets or pedestal sinks as this can cause those areas to overheat and possibly cause a fire. You'll want to cut trenches in the cement board with a skill saw where the conduits for the wiring and the power lead (the power lead connects the mats directly to the thermostat) will be placed. Secure the mats in place using a construction grade double-faced utility tape. Test the mats with the continuity tester after you have installed them to make sure you have not accidentally damaged the wiring while you were installing the mats.

Install Tiles

You will want to have tiles that are at least 6 square inches so one tile will cover two rows of heating cables in the mats - this will keep the tiles from cracking. You will then install the tiles like you normally would. Place the mortar over the tiles with the flat end of the trowel – make sure you fill in the groves between the heating cables on the pad to get a smooth surface. Take the teeth side of the trowel and carefully place grooves in the mortar before you install the tiles.

The grooves helps spread the right amount of mortar over the floor and helps to hold the tiles in place while you are doing your installation work. You will want to test the wiring in the mats again with the continuity tester after you have installed the tiles. Connect the wiring to the thermostat and plug the thermostat into the electrical outlet.

If you are not comfortable installing heating mats by yourself, call your local electric floor heating specialists to come in to help your feet escape the shock of cold bathroom floors during the night.