Which Method Should You Choose When Retrofitting Your Home for In-Floor Heating

Which Method to Use When Retrofitting for In-Floor Heating

In-floor heating has become the de facto method of heating new homes in the region. And, why not? In-floor heating is energy efficient, economical, and extremely comfortable. However, what about the thousands of other homes already built without in-floor heating? What happens if you already have a home and are eager to experience the cozy warm feeling of a heated floor? You’re most likely looking to retrofit with in-floor heating. Good news! There are many different ways to accomplish this. 

  1. Gypcrete Over Wooden Subfloor – Adding PEX tubes to your wooden subfloor is a great option if you’re limited on vertical space. Once the tubes are stapled to the subfloor, gypcrete is then poured over them for protection and to help distribute the heat. Once dried, you can add foam and flooring of your choice. This will give you the best heat transfer possible, however it isn’t the least expensive option and you should confer with your contractor to make sure everything will fit into the space.
  2. Pre-fit panels – If you can’t use gypcrete, an alternate method can be a precut panel. These form fitted panels have grooves cut out specifically for the PEX tubes to ride through. Once laid into the panels, top them off with a flooring pad and then the flooring of your choice. While it’s not the best method for a retro-fit, it is fairly easy to install. Some popular brands are EcoWarm, ThermalBoard, WarmBoard, and OnPanel.   
  3. Aluminum Heat-Spreaders – This is an option that works for above and below your floor. Some homes have zero space to add on top of the subfloor. Channeling the PEX from underneath is an option. Using omega channels with attached aluminum heat spreaders works wonders. This is much less expensive than using the other two methods, however the labor process is much more intense. 

Choosing to retrofit your home with in-floor heating can be tough. However, the method you decide ultimately comes down to existing structure, how much access you have to your subfloor, how high you want your floor to go, and of course, cost. However, the good news is that there are many different ways for you to achieve a warm home, even through a retrofit.