The Pros and Cons of Heated Flooring

Radiant floor heating may make your home feel more luxurious and help keep your toes warm during the cold months, but is it worth the cost?

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Radiant floor heating may make your home feel more luxurious and help keep your toes warm during the cold months, but is it worth the cost?

There are two types of radiant floor heating—water-based systems and electric systems. Both provide consistent warmth throughout the room so there will be no cold spots. Water-based systems have pipes with hot water running through them and in electric systems, electric resistance cables generate heat.

Once installed, radiant floor heating is basically maintenance-free. Many systems can be run with a smart WiFi thermostat or a programmable thermostat, so you can turn it off and on at certain times.

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons.


1. Radiant floor heating is versatile and works with all floor types—carpet, tile, wood and laminate.

Learn more about how water-based floor heating works.

2. It’s efficient. In-floor heating will save you on average, 15 percent on your heating bills due to the way it warms the home, according to Warmup, the world’s best-selling underfloor heating brand.

Electric in-floor heat is quite easy to install. Here’s how to do it yourself!


1. The installation cost of radiant floor heating can be high. Expect to pay between $10 to $20 per square foot for labor and materials, depending on the system. You’ll also need to hire an electrician to connect the system to your power supply, which will be an additional heated floors cost. Water-based systems are usually installed during the build phase of new construction or a renovation. Water-based systems, on average, cost up to three times that of an electric system.

Learn about three types of heated floors and how to install them yourself.

2. In-floor heat systems can increase your floor height by about 1/2 inch. You may also want to install insulation boards that run underneath the heating system to make sure the heat goes up rather than down. Combined, this can raise your floors by about an inch, which will result in a trip hazard and possibly the need for door modification.

Warm up a cold room with these 16 tips.

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.