Heated Bathroom Floors: Luxurious Warmth All Year Long

The benefit of a warm, soothing surface underfoot on a cold winter night cannot be overstated. Heated bathroom floors are an affordable luxury that you will not regret. They are easy to install, energy efficient, and will increase the level of comfort in your bathroom 1000-fold.

While it’s true that a bathroom cannot be retrofitted with radiant in-floor heating, it is well worth it if you are undertaking a small renovation project and plan on replacing the bathroom flooring, or are installing a bathroom in a new building. Material and installation costs are reasonable and the long lasting benefits of a heated bathroom floor will be felt in your warm feet for years to come.

heated bathroom floors

Heated Bathroom Floors Sneak Peek


Types of Heated Bathroom Floors

There are three types of heated bathroom flooring. The first two are the most popular, while the third heated bathroom floor uses a different mechanism of heating. All are great options and heat the bathroom floor successfully. You’ll need to choose the best option for your situation.

Electric Radiant Heating Mats

This is probably the most popular option due entirely to the ease of installation. Radiant heating mats contain electrical radiant coils embedded in mesh matting that makes them easy to arrange, lay, and secure in place. They are available in a variety of sizes that can be arranged and/or cut to fit the space as required. NOTE: it is the matting that can be cut to size – it’s important not to cut the electric coil contained within.

Electric Radiant Heating Coils

Radiant heating coils are just the heating coils themselves without the mesh matting. They require a little bit more finesse to install but are much more flexible in covering floorspace as you can lay the heating coils down in any arrangement needed without having to worry about the matting itself.

Hydronic Floor Heating

This type of in heated bathroom floor consists of water tubes installed beneath the flooring. Hot water is then pumped through the coils warming the floor as it is transported through. While it is an efficient way to heat bathroom floors it requires the use of a hot water boiler and, unless there is already one installed in your home, this may be the deciding factor in which type of heated bathroom flooring you choose.


8 Of The Best Heated Bathroom Flooring Options


1. Warming Systems Radiant Floor Mat w/Thermostat – A Highly Configurable System

Things to Like:

  • Variety of Mat Sizes Available
  • Adhesive Backed Mat for Easy Installation
  • Programable Thermostat
  • Configurable to Any Room Layout

Like most radiant floor mat systems, this one comes in a variety of sizes to allow for ultimate configuration options. The best part of the Warming Systems options are that the mats come in 5 sq ft increments to allow for even more flexibility. As with all radiant mat systems, the mats themselves can be cut but not the heating coil contained within the mat. The instructions include how-to’s on cutting and folding to help make the most of the heating coil spread.

The programable thermostat has a 7 day option, allowing you to set the temperature lower during the weekdays and higher in the evenings and weekends when you’re home. The sensor is in the floor meaning that the temperature reading is accurate and the thermostat will turn on and off as expected. It’s easy to program and easy to read.

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2. WarmlyYours Electric Floor Heating Mat – A Low Profile Option

Things to Like:

  • Super Low Height Profile
  • Install Under a Variety of Floor Covering
  • Easy Installation
  • Perfect for Spot Heating

These mats are available in a variety of sizes that can be installed together to cover a larger area. They are also ideal for ‘Spot Heating’; install one, or two, in front of the bathtub, toilet, and/or vanity to provide warmth only in the spots that are most used.

The best part about using radiant heating mats is that the heating coils are already perfectly spaced within the matting. A spacing of 3″ is ideal for heated coverage without having any cool spots that can occur if the heating coil is spaced too far apart. Mats can be combined or cut and folded to fit the shape of the room – just remember to never cut the heating coil itself.

One of the problems with in floor heating is that it can be bulky and raise the floor height but this system has a super low profile to minimize the raised floor issue and allow installation of any type of floor covering on top without worry.

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3. SunTouch Electric Radiant Floor Mat w/Thermostat – A Proven Reputation = A Solid Choice

Things to Like:

  • Quick and Easy Installation
  • Programable Thermostat
  • Energy Effecient

A simple to install system available in a number of sizes; pick and choose to get the best coverage. Or, cut and fold the matting to fit the space you need to cover. Either way, as long as you ensure that the 3″ heating coil distance is maintained, the system will effectively heat the floors.

The easy to read thermostat ensures that the perfect floor temperature is maintained; with the ability to program in both timed delay and different temperature settings for optimal daily performance. This increases the energy efficiency of the system – it is only turned up when needed and is otherwise set to cooler temperatures.

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4. HeatTech Radiant Heating Mat w/Thermostat – Quick and Easy Installation

Things to Like:

  • Install under a variety of floor covering
  • Available in sizes in multiples of 10 sq ft
  • No special subfloor required

An underfloor radiant heating mat that is quick and easy to install. No special subfloor prep is required; simply ensure that it is clean and dry and then lay the matting down. While the mats are self-adhesive, it is recommended to add glue and or tape also to ensure that placement of the mats is maintained while the floor covering is installed.

The programmable thermostat ensures that the floors are nice and warm in the mornings but save money by automatically turning off during the day. You can set the program to turn on and off at the best times for your family.

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5. SEAL Self Adhesive Radiant Heating Mat – A Simple Option

Things to Like:

  • Self adhesive matting makes for quick and easy installation
  • Low profile matting
  • Modifiable by cutting and folding matting

Thin profile matting ensures that installing this under-floor heating system won’t raise the floor level noticeably. It is easy to install; lay out the matting (cutting and folding where necessary to work around bathroom fixtures), attach all the wires according to manufacturer directions, apply thinset to ensure it all stays in place, and install the floor covering overtop.

A thermostat is not included in this heated bathroom floor kit. Be sure to make room in your budget to also order a programmable thermostat.

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6. HeatWave Floor Heating System w/Thermostat – Multi Programmable For Maximum Control

Things to Like:

  • Available in a variety of sizes in 5 sq ft increments
  • Detailed guide to cutting and folding mats included
  • Thermostat includes both floor and air sensors for maximum control

If you have a ‘funny’ shaped space to heat, or need a variety of sizes to fill the space, this option is for you. Mats are available in a variety of sizes in 5 sq ft increments and the instructions include all manner of cutting and folding options to make the most of any space that you have.

This radiant heating mat must be embedded in thin set in order to conduct heat effectively, evenly and efficiently. A worthwhile step to gain the energy efficient heating comfort all year round.

Two sensors (one air and one floor sensor) ensure that the temperature is fully controlled by the programmable thermostat. It can program up to 4 events and can be set for automatic, manual, or comfort mode.

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7. HeatTech Radiant Cable System w/Thermostat – A Versatile Option

Things to Like:

  • Versatile installation
  • Low profile
  • Detailed instruction manual included

Radiant heating coils offer a much more versatile option when it comes to installation. Unlike mats, which must be cut and folded carefully to ensure there is not too much material bunching up under the floor covering, the heating coil can be laid out in any configuration you imagine. This allows for greater options to heat around bathtubs, vanities and other fixtures in the bathroom.

Cable guides are included to help maintain the recommended 3″ distance in the layout. This allows for optimal heating with no cold spots. The programmable thermostat will ensure that the floor is warmed when you get up in the morning and on cold winter nights.

Mats may be more convenient for installation, but radiant heating coils can be a more affordable, and flexible option.

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8. SunTouch WarmWire Heating Cable w/Thermostat – Flexible Layout and Ease of Installation

Things to Like:

  • Large variety of cable lengths available
  • Flexible configuration during installation
  • Easy installation with excellent instructions

This is the ultimate package for DIYers who want a flexible layout and ease of installation. Installing radiant cable heating allows you to lay out the heating coil exactly where you need it to properly cover the floor and heat every corner of the room. The heating coil is available in a large variety of lengths to mix and match no matter the size of your room.

Hook up the included programmable thermostat, set it, and forget it. Your tootsies will be toasty all winter long!

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Why Choose Heated Bathroom Flooring

Deciding to install radiant floor heating is about more than cost analysis and pro/con lists. There are other tangible benefits that won’t make it onto a spreadsheet but that should be considered just as equally.

Whole Room Heating. Heated floors don’t just heat the floor. As the warm air rises, it also contributes to warming the whole room. More so, though, a heated bathroom floor contributes to the warm feeling in the whole room. There is an undeniable coziness if the air is warm, and the floor is warm. Whole room heating that is affordable.

Toasty Tootsies. A price cannot be placed on the value of warm feet on a cold winter night. It is actually easier to keep the room thermostat lower if the floor is heated – saving money and increasing comfort. Toasty tootsies are worth it!

Better Sleep. How can heated bathroom floors help you have a better nights sleep? Bear with me here. Imagine crawling out of bed in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom and your toes hit the cold, cold tile floor; you are instantly awake and now have to make your way back to bed and warm up your feet in order to get back to sleep. Instead, imagine making your way to the bathroom and maintaining that wake-sleep balance that lets you crawl back into bed and continue on with your night. Ah-mazing.

Timed Thermostats. It’s easy, and beneficial, to use a timed thermostat to manage the heated flooring. Not only will it keep the floor at the perfect temperature, but you can set it to be cooler during the day when you’re not home, and warmer in the evening/nighttime when you will get the most benefit from it.


Pros and Cons of Heated Bathroom Floors

Pros of Radiant Floor Heating

  • Low Maintenance. Once heated bathroom floors are installed there really is zero maintenance other than changing the thermostat setting each season. The coils are embedded beneath the floor covering and so require no work to maintain; no cleaning, no dusting, no blowing out, no nothing.
  • Better Air Quality. There are no emissions from radiant heating. Unlike forced air furnace systems that blow dry air around the room (along with dust and other allergens); in floor heating coils don’t affect the air at all.
  • Soft ‘Whole Room’ Heating. As the floor heats it gently heats the rest of the room, resulting in a whole room cozy warmth that can’t be beat.
  • Easy Installation. While it is true that installation means that the bathroom floor must be lifted and/or replaced, the actually installation process is relatively easy. Especially if using radiant heating mats; it’s as simple as cutting them to size, laying them down, attaching all the electrical correctly, and then laying the flooring on top (and let’s face it, you were going to do this part anyway).
  • Customizable. One of the best parts of installing radiant heating in the bathroom is that you can customize where you install it. Pro tip: you don’t have to cover the entire bathroom floor! It’s entirely possible to install a patch in front of the toilet, another in front of the sink, and one more for when you step out of the bathtub. Maximum comfort with minimal cost!
  • Warm Surface Underfoot. The benefit of warm, toasty tootsies in the middle of winter cannot be overstated. I would list it as a ‘pro’ five times over if I could!
  • Variety of Floor Coverings Possible. Radiant floor heating can easily be installed under a variety of floor coverings. Wood, laminate, cork, tile – the choices are endless and are not limited by wanting to have warmed floors.
  • Energy Efficient. Much like in-line water heaters, in floor heating is more energy efficient because it heats only the surface that requires heating – and the coils are in contact with the surface to be heated so there is no energy lost in the transmission of heat. Using a timing thermostat increases the energy efficiency also as it allows the floors to only be heated during the times needed – no point in heating the floors when no-one is home!
  • Quiet Operation. Silent operation actually. With no forced air vents, or furnace there is no noise. Just quiet, efficient, luxurious, underfoot heating.

Disadvantages of Radiant Floor Heating

  • Installation Cost. Installation cost might really be a barrier if you’re not already planning on lifting the existing bathroom flooring. But, if you are doing a bathroom renovation, and plan on replacing the flooring, then installation costs are not dramatically increased. It is possible to do a lot of the installation as DIY; perhaps the electrical connections are the only pieces that may require professional help if you’re not someone who is familiar in this area.
  • Repair Considerations. While radiant heating systems are considered to be maintenance-free, there is the possibility that repairs may be needed. Investing in a quality system can help minimize this risk though – be sure to check reviews and ensure that installation is top-notch and repairs will likely never be an issue.
  • Increased Floor Height. This may be more of a concern in older houses where rooms, and room heights were generally smaller than they are in more modern settings. The installation of the heating coil mats under the floor does slightly increase the height of the flooring. This can be taken into consideration when installing other bathroom fixtures such as the toilet, bathtub, and vanity.


Cost of Heated Bathroom Flooring

With an average ‘per square foot’ cost of between $5 and $12, the cost of a heated bathroom floor is more than affordable. A typical family bathroom floor of 50 sq ft can have radiant floor heating installed for under $400!!

The energy efficiency of heated bathroom floors means that the day-to-day costs are negligible when compared to typical heating methods such as baseboard heaters or forced air furnaces.

Maintenance costs are practically non-existent. Heated bathroom floors are basically maintenance free needing no upkeep other than perhaps replacing the battery in the thermostat.


How to Install Heated Bathroom Floor

Installing the radiant heating floor mats beneath bathroom flooring is pretty straightforward. The mats you purchase will come with specific installation guidelines, requirements, and instructions – it’s best to follow these as closely as possible.

General Instructions to Install Heated Bathroom Floor

  1. Ensure there is adequate electrical power nearby. Checking the manufacturers guidelines, ensure that the adequate power supply is nearby. Call your local electrician if you need to tap power from a nearby source or to install a new electrical line.
  2. Prepare the subfloor. This step depends on the final floor covering that you plan on installing. Ensure the floor is level, install cement board if needed, following the directions for the final flooring material.
  3. Plan the layout. Mark the positioning of fixtures on the subfloor. Radiant heating mats cannot be installed under toilets, bathtubs, or vanities so be sure to mark out these fixtures in order to properly plan the mat layout. Then arrange the matting on the floor, cutting and folding as required – but be sure not to cut or fold the heating coils within the matting. Be sure to finish where the power supply will be.
  4. Affix the mats and wires to the subfloor. Glue or tape the mats and loose wiring to the subfloor so that they will stay in place as you install the flooring material on top.
  5. Connect the electrical pieces. Connect all the wires to the the electrical and thermostat panels as instructed by the manufacturer.
  6. Install flooring. Install tiles, hardwood, or laminate over the radiant floor mats just as you would if they weren’t there. Be sure to keep everything level.

Check out the Family Handyman for more detailed instructions, tips and tricks!


Frequently Asked Questions

Does heated flooring heat the room?

Yes! Heated bathroom floors contribute to the heating of the whole room. The heat rises as the floor heats up, warming the air above it meaning that general room heating requirements are lessened. It takes less energy to heat a room with under floor heating because once your feet are warm you just feel warmer.

Can I install heated bathroom floors myself?

Heated bathroom floors can be a DIY project if you know a little bit about electrical work. Following manufacturers directions, it is easy to prep and layout the matting and affix it to the subfloor. If you’re not familiar with electrical work you may want to call in a professional electrician to finish off that piece, and then you’re on your way to installing the flooring right on top.

Are heated bathroom floors worth it?

Worth it can mean a variety of things. From a cost perspective, yes they are worth it. Heated bathroom flooring isn’t too expensive to install and is energy efficient to run. From a comfort perspective, 100% they are worth it! The value of a warm floor underfoot on a cold winter night cannot be overstated.

Are heated bathroom floors energy efficient?

Radiant floor heating can be as much as 25% more energy efficient than other forms of heating. Electric baseboard heating is tremendously non-efficient. Forced air furnaces are efficient but they affect air quality as they distribute dust and dry out the air. In floor heating is a quiet, at source form of heating that is made even more energy efficient with the use of a timer thermostat to control exactly when the heating coils are being used.

Can I cut radiant heating mats to fit my space?

Yes, radiant heating mats can be used for almost any heated bathroom floor space. The matting can be cut and folded to fit almost any configuration. The only restriction is to not cut or fold the heating coils that are embedded in the matting.

Is it possible to have heated hardwood floors?

Yes. While it is unusual to have hardwood flooring in a bathroom, it is definitely possible to have heated hardwood floors by installing a radiant heating system underneath.