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Question Regarding Radiant Floor Heating

  1. Nov 3, 2009 #1


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    In regard to (tile) radiant floor heating, a professional is needed to come and install a heat-conducting plastic mat with wire lattice-work, hook it up to the home’s electrical system, and then do the standard grout and tile work etc. I was wondering what the possibility would be to produce tiles that are cut in a way so that they would fit together like a puzzle that have the resistance wires already imbedded. This way, the homeowner could install the system himself by laying down precut tile and only have to worry about properly connecting the wires to the home’s electrical system. Perhaps some type of dimmer switch could act as a thermostat.

    It seems as though the tile would not retain heat long enough to be proficient without some type of “thermal mass” (is this the correct term?). Do you have any idea if this method would be terribly inefficient without it? Perhaps the same type of polymer without the wires insidencould be cut into lengths in the store and applied at home, underneath the grouting the tiles on top in order to solve this problem.

    Please let me know if you see anything wrong with this approach. My main issue is how the wires in each tile would connect to one-another in a waterproof fashion. Is there some type of alternative substance that could replace the ceramic tiles in order to retain heat longer? Sorry for the long explanation/question and thank in advance for all of the help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2009 #2


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    It's a pretty cool idea, I can see how people looking to get heated flooring might like the idea. You need to pay special attention to how the tiles can be cut, and also I would pay attention to how you would attach power to the tiles at the edges of the room. I would probably make it so the wires in the tiles had to all be parallel to each other, and then you could have a long strip at two opposite edges of the room that would supply power to the large parallel grid of wires. Then, all you would need to do is size the power supply based on the size of the room and number of wires in it.

    Much better idea than heated roads to replace snowplows :wink:
  4. Nov 3, 2009 #3


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    Probably easier to have a conductive coating across the tile rather than discrete wires then it wouldn't matter how they were cut.
  5. Nov 3, 2009 #4


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    Haha thanks, I like the idea regarding the allignment of the wires.

    This definitely could be easier ... Is there a specific type of coating that you have in mind that would be able to generate enough heat while still beign able to vary temperatures depending upon the level of current?

    I also wonder about waterproofing with this method ... I'm guessing the conductive coating would be on the underside (and not inside, like the wire would be) of each tile?
  6. Nov 3, 2009 #5


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    The coating would alleviate the number one issue with the radiant floor systems in that maintaining continuity of the circuit.

    The other aspect of the tiles being wired is that in most tiles, the tiles do not touch each other. They are separated by a grout line. Perhaps that is where the heat could be sourced and have a tile material that is a very good conductor to conduct the heat away from the edges.
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