Comprehensive Guide To Install Ceramic Tiles Over Floor Heating System

Ceramic Tiles

Stepping out of your comfortable, warm bed onto a warm tile floor in the winter is better than ice-cold unheated floor tiles. If you intend to use a concrete slab under your property’s floor, consider installing the floor heating cables directly into the slab.

The heating cables can also be installed in an existing sub-floor. In this case, you will need to hire a licensed electrician to effectively wire the floor to the house’s electrical systems. Such professionals always make sure that the electrical wiring in your property meets the construction code standards in your area.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you install an efficient floor heating for tile in your property.

Sub-Floor Preparation

Regardless of whether you have radiant heat or not, the sub-floor must be level and clean before you install any flooring. Run a long carpenter’s level across the sub-floor to find out if it’s level. Take note of the low and high spots and correct them. Fill in the low areas with the flooring compound and sand off all the high sections.

Keep in mind that all wooden sub-floors require a buffer layer of cement backer board. Using a utility knife, cut this product to ensure that the panels cover the entire floor. It’s advisable to leave at least a 1/8 inch gap (expansion gap) around the room’s perimeter. Mark the width of a single tile using a chalk line along the longest wall. This is simply the marker for the area where you will begin laying the floor heating tiles over the radiant heat coils.

The Radiant Heat System Installation

All the radiant heat coils start and end in the section where you intend to set the thermostat. To install these coils, run a line of a coil, loop it back and forth across the entire floor according to the manufacturer’s guide for laying and spacing the coil loops. It’s recommended to leave at least a 6-inch gap around the room’s perimeter.

Some products may require the use of adhesive to stick the coils to the floor while others require the use of simple connectors. If you’re using a connector, fasten the coil’s black wire to the thermostat’s black wire using the provided wire nut. Connect the ground and white wires in a similar manner. Once a licensed electrician connects the coils into the building’s wiring, you can install your tiles.

Installing The Tiles

Use a thin mortar to set the tiles in place. Spread the mortar on the floor along the longest room wall while keeping the radiant heating coils in place. It’s important to keep the same depth of the mortar throughout the tile installation. Use the chalk line you made as your guide to set the tiles in the right place. You can also use spacers to keep all the tile joints even. Once you complete your first row, continue to set the rest of the tiles.

Adding Grout

Use a grout float to spread it evenly between the tiles. Let the grout dry for the period recommended by the manufacturer. Then apply a coat of high-quality sealer using a small paintbrush and leave it to dry for at least two hours.