Types Of Basement Floor Heating Systems [By Flooring Material]

A dingy and cold basement can be turned into a warm, cozy, and comfortable space. But how is this possible? Let's crack the code together. We have researched on your behalf to provide you with the answers.

One of the ways to upgrade your basement is by installing a suitable floor heating system, depending on the flooring you have. There are several types of basement floor heating systems, which include:

  • Aluminium foil heating system
  • Uncoupling floor heating system
  • In-slab cable floor heating system

Warming up your cold floor in the basement is a wonderful step towards utilizing this space to the full. Keep reading to find out about the different floor heating systems, the value they add to your home, the benefits, and the amount of electricity used.

Laying pipes for floor heating at the construction site, Types Of Basement Floor Heating Systems [By Flooring Material]

What Is The Best Floor Heating System For Your Basement?

There are two main types of floor heating systems, namely electric and hydrant heating systems. The most popular is the former, which uses electricity. The hydrant system uses water that runs through pipes beneath the floor to provide heat.

The floor heating system that uses electricity is more cost-effective when installed in a small area like the basement. Hydrant floors are preferred if the surface area in which it is to be installed is large. Hence, this would be the most suitable if you want to install it on all the floors in your home.

We will concentrate on the electric floor systems because it's the most applicable for your basement, and they are as follows:

Aluminium Foil System

This type of floor heating is suitable for most types of floors especially carpet, wooden or laminate floors. However, check with your flooring supplier to ensure this heating system corresponds well with your type of floor. It is installed directly under the floor and distributes heat evenly across the room.

They are available in rectangular mats with heating cables that are sandwiched between two sheets of aluminum foil. 

To protect the cables, the foil mat should be installed together with an underlay. This further prevents heat from escaping through the concrete floor. A digital meter and a thermostat with a floor sensor are needed to operate it. 

Below is a video that shows you how to install an aluminum foil heating system:

Uncoupling Floor Heating System

This floor heating system is suitable for tiled floors. It is a membrane installed between the tile floors and the sub-floor. 

The membrane cushions the tile floors from being damaged due to movement in the sub-floor caused by the settling of the soil. 

The following are basic steps on how to install a peel and stick uncoupling membrane:

  1. Clean the floor, making sure the surface is free of any dirt and debris.
  2. Roll out the membrane onto the clean floor.
  3. Ensure it has been laid out properly onto the floor by walking around and sliding your feet on it.
  4. With a marker or tape, mark out the areas where the fixtures and unheated areas are going to be.
  5. Install the heating cable on top of the membrane at 2, 3, or 4 peg spacing, depending on your needs.
  6. Install the floor sensors as per the manual, ensuring you also have a backup sensor.
  7. Throughout the installation process, use a multi-meter cable tester to measure and record the readings before, during, and after installation.
  8. Cover the membrane fully with a 3/8-inch floor leveler.
  9. Install your tiles as per the manual.

Have a look at this uncoupling membrane on Amazon.

Check this floor heating cable on Amazon.

Check out this floor leveler on Amazon.

In-Slab Cable Floor Heating System

Floor heating pipe

This method is suitable for heating concrete floors, but it can be used on other floorings such as tile, carpet, hardwood, and more.

The heating cable is normally installed 2 inches below the surface when new concrete slabs are being installed to create the floor of a basement.

It can be used on both dry and wet applications because the heating cable has a metallic shield that is waterproof. Furthermore, it is not only limited to residential projects but can be installed in commercial buildings as well. 

Just like the other floor heating systems, it requires a thermostat to control the heating according to your needs. 

Is It Worth Heating Your Basement Floor?

Floor heating pattern

Your conditioning system cannot provide enough warmth without installing a heating system on your basement floor, but is it worth it? The following are the benefits you will experience:

Reduced Electricity Bills

Heated floors are effective at much lower temperatures than that the conditioning systems that are effective at much higher temperatures.

Evenly Distributed Heat

Heated floors distribute warmth evenly across the room. Since the temperature is more constant you don’t have to sit next to an HVAC system.

The conditioning system heats up a room very quickly, but the temperatures begin to drop immediately after it is shut off. On the other hand, the temperatures remain steady for longer after the floor heating system is switched off.

Low Maintenance Costs

Despite the high floor heating installation expenses, the maintenance costs are lower. The electric cables are firmly fixed beneath the floor, thus it will not require much maintenance. Once installed, all you need to do is turn on or off the thermostat.

This is in contrast to the standard heaters that require regular checkups and maintenance. Expect the heated flooring system to last between 30 and 40 years, as opposed to the traditional heating systems, which normally last between 10 and 20 years. 

Easy To Install

The installation costs may be high, but fixing a heating system on your floor is relatively easy. In as much as it is recommended to hire professionals to do the job for you if you or a family member have the skills, you can save on labor costs.

Quiet And Improved Air Quality

Floor heating systems are far less noisy than HVAC systems. The air in your basement will improve with the heating system on your floor. It’s highly unlikely that mold and mildew will grow, which can produce musty smells or spores that can affect our health.

However, the traditional conditioning systems can stir up dust and other irritants found in the air.
Also, dust mites can thrive if the ducts of the conditioning systems are not regularly cleaned.

Do Heated Floors Use A Lot Of Energy?

Underfloor heating installation

Generally, floor heating systems are more energy-efficient than other heating systems. Most floor heating systems use 12 watts for each square foot, meaning a room that is 100 square foot room will need an average of 1200 watts per hour. This is a considerably much lower wattage of 300 than the normal heat conditioning system. 

Heat is evenly distributed with a floor heating system when compared to an HVAC conditioner which heats one side of the room, making one side hotter than the other.

There are ways of making your heating system much more affordable by doing the following:

  • Program the thermostat to heat the floor only when needed. 
  • For Wi-Fi thermostats, you can control the temperature away from home. 
  • You set the temperature at the level you need.

In Closing

You have many reasons to revamp your basement, and one of them is installing a floor heating system. There are several to choose from. All you need to do is match your floor with a suitable heating system.

The advantages of a floor heating system are many, the main one leads to saving on your electricity costs. The maintenance costs are also much lower compared to the traditional conditioning systems.

Read our previous posts on why basements can be cold and how to warm them up:

Are Basement Apartments Cold?

How Cold Is A Basement?

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