How Much Do Heated Floors Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

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A heated floor is equipped with an underfloor heating solution that provides heat to a cold floor and is often referred to as radiant heat or as an in-floor heating system.  This type of luxurious heating solution can turn a would-be cold floor into a warm space whenever you please.

There are different types of heating solutions available, and the most common types include electric systems, solar thermal and natural gas.

The cost of heating floors is going to depend on the type of heating system that is going to be used, the amount of flooring that needs to be installed, the complexity of the job, the company that will perform the job and where you live.

radient-floor-heat by Frederick Homes for Sale, on Flickr
radient-floor-heat” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Frederick Homes for Sale

How much do heated floors cost?

On average, hydronic radiant heated floors that use hot water to heat the floorboards can cost anywhere from $5 to as much as $17 per square foot, while a radiant heated floor system that uses an electric system underneath the flooring can cost anywhere from $4 to $8 per square foot.  The system itself can start at $700 and be upwards of $5,000, depending on the amount of flooring needed.

For example, Houzz says you should expect to pay about $900 to $1,500 for about 100 square feet.

An article on Forbes says you should be prepared to spend about $4 to $6 per square foot to install the system and this won’t include the flooring costs.

Heated flooring overview

Heated floors will either be heated electrically or via water, known as hydronic. An electric radiant system will have heating cables that are placed underneath the floorboards, and this system will often come equipped with a thermostat, as well as a timer for energy efficiency.  The electric system, to picture it, is basically a large heating pad that’s installed a thin layer of cement.  To install this type of system, you will need an electrician and a tile installer to get the job done.  A hydronic radiant system is made from a flexible tubing that circulates hot water underneath the floor, which comes from a hot water boiler; this water can be warmed up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.    Another type, although it’s rather rare, is forced-air based heat.  Through this system, it will carry hot air through channels in the floor to heat.

As for installation, the manufacturer will use one of two options:  either wet or dry.  With wet installations, the heating element will be installed inside the concrete during the initial build, hence the name “wet.”  With a dry install, the installation will be layered below or above the subfloor or even sandwiched between two layers of the subfloor between the new flooring.  Dry installs tend to be used when a system is being installed with existing flooring.

What are the extra costs?

If you have existing flooring, then the contractors will need to drill into this flooring in order to install the heating elements.  The costs to remove and work with the flooring will depend on the type of flooring they are working.  Installing this type of system, unfortunately, will mean you will have to tear out the flooring and start from scratch.

Older homes may need extensive electrical work done if it doesn’t meet the manufacturer’s requirements.

In some homes, temperature zones may be required since some rooms may require more heat than others.  If this were the case, contractors may recommend adding these zones to keep temperatures higher in certain rooms.  For example, if heated floors were added in the bedroom and kitchen, then the floors may need to be heated more often in the kitchen since it will be used much more than a bedroom.

Electric heated floors will increase your electricity bill, depending on how often you use it.   According to warmfloor.com, the cost to operate electric heated floors 24 hours a day for six months during the winter seasons could cost about $100 for that six months for about 250 square feet of space.  This price estimate would be for a system that has good insulation.  If the insulation was subpar, the costs could be double or even triple this cost.

Tips to know

If a heated floor is installed inside a bathroom, then you will need a dedicated 20-amp GFCI protected circuit because of the constant exposure to the water.

This type of heating will be ideal for ceramic tiles and stone.  While it may work with wood flooring or linoleum, HomeAdvisor recommends checking with the company to see if your flooring will be compatible.  Wood, for instance, won’t respond well since it doesn’t react as quickly when compared to tile or stone.

Most homeowners use this type of flooring in the bathrooms, kitchen, entryways and even bedrooms and/or living rooms if it isn’t carpeted.

How can I save money?

If you’re looking to install heated floors in a smaller space, then it may be wise to consider an electrical system since it will be cost efficient and will be less complex to install.


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