Showroom Seminar
 
January 2nd, 2008

Undertile Heating: A Roundup of Room-Warming Products

by Kathleen Furore

January-February 2008

Why should you offer underfloor heating products at your tile dealership?

The answer lies in a report from The Radiant Panel Association, which shows homeowners and builders are beginning to favor radiant heat over conventional heating systems.

“The radiant heating industry is holding its own, even as the housing market stumbles,” information from the RPA says. “Homeowners who might otherwise purchase a new home scale back and invest dollars in their existing home…and with the movement towards ‘green’ products, the radiant industry is in a good position to offer a product that not only reduces energy use, but increases comfort and improves indoor health at the same time.”

Consequently, dealers who sell these heating systems and accessories can capture a significant part of this important market segment.

To discover the newest and most popular items on the market today, TileDealer contacted companies that specialize in underfloor radiant heat technology. The following list provides a brief roundup of the mats, cables, controls and accessories you can consider when building your undertile inventory.

Flextherm Products:

  • A wide range of cables and controls including the new Green Cable Surface 2W and 3W that produces no electromagnetic field. This EMF-free, energy-saving option provides customers comfort, quality and value. It is extremely thin, installs easily, and is designed for wet environments. Compatible with most types of sub floors, including concrete and plywood, and with floor coverings, including ceramic and natural stone. 25-year warranty.

Contact: 1-800-FLEXTHERM; www.flextherm.com

Maxxon Corporation Products:

  • Therma-Floor Underlayment for radiant floor heat. Poured just 11⁄4″ to 11⁄2″ thick over any brand of hydronic tube or electric heating cable, Therma-Floor enhances heating system responsiveness while gradually conducting heat. Its smooth, strong surface allows easy installation of any floor covering.
  • New ‘Green’ Formulation for Therma-Floor Underlayment. This GREENGUARD-certified product is low-emitting, contains recycled materials, has extremely low VOC emissions, and contributes towards earning points for LEED accredited projects.

Contact: Phone: 1-800-356-7887 or (763) 478-9600; www.maxxon.com

Nuheat Products:

  • Radiant Electric Floor Heating Systems. The products use in-floor heating mats to evenly distribute heat in rooms of any shape and size. Standard-size square and rectangular mats and custom-shaped mats are available in 110 volt and 220 volt formats.
  • New Nuheat Cable System. This most recent addition to Nuheat’s line offers the ultimate in installation flexibility: can be used under tile, stone, marble, and laminate/engineered wood floors, and in showers and saunas beneath wet tile surfaces such as shower bench or bathtub platforms. Contractors can make on-site adjustments for any room—even those with curves and angles. Available in 120 volt and 240 volt; low profile design (3⁄16-inch thick) makes it ideal for remodels and new construction. Sixty standard-sized mats for all basic room sizes. Easy installation with a single-point lead; energy-efficient (12 watts per sq. ft.); zero EMF (electromagnetic field). 25-year warranty.

Contact: 800-778-9279 or 604-529-4404; www.nuheat.com

SunTouch®, a division of Watts Radiant Products:

  • SunTouch® Mats. Safe and easy to install, with an “S-pattern” wire interwoven in a thin, open-weave construction. Thin-set or self-leveling mortar flows through the mat, allowing for a one-step application. Special, dual-twisted heating wire is also fully grounded from end to end so it produces ultra low EMF (electromagnetic field). LoudMouth monitor sounds an alarm if the heating elements are cut or damaged during installation. Standard Radiant Floor Heat Mats and SunTouch® UnderFloor™ Electric Heating Mats (which warm existing floors without having to replace floor coverings—simply staple UnderFloor heating mats between the joists) are available. WarmWire cable system also available.
  • New Mat Kit. Includes a SunTouch mat, programmable control, double-sided tape, a LoudMouth monitor, an installation manual and installation DVD.
  • New Programmable and Non-Programmable Digital Controls. Dual-voltage (120 VAC and 240 VAC) controls feature hold and setback buttons for temporary override and a built-in GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). The Programmable SunStat (SunStat Pro) also includes a 5/1/1 day programming, four pre-set program schedules, one user program schedule for customized programming, and a usage monitor that shows the hours of system operation. SunStat relay for use with either the programmable or non-programmable control also available; use to zone several rooms at the same temperature.

Contact: 888-432-8932; www.suntouch.com.

STEP Warmfloor Products:

  • PTC Heating Elements. This line of patented, low-voltage products include STEP RESIDENTIAL™. Ideal for renovations and new construction, it can be installed under almost any flooring (including tile, stone, wood, laminate, resilient and carpet) or under the subfloor between joists when the existing flooring is to be maintained. STEP Residential™ is self-regulating: as the material gets warmer, less electricity passes through the plastic making it extremely energy-efficient. It is strong, thin and flexible, easy to install, and can be cut to size on the job site.
  • STEP Snowmelt™. This lightweight, flexible panel melts snow and ice on entrances, walkways, driveways, ramps, patios. It is embedded between two layers of tarpaulin to protect it against alkaline, salts and other physical damages. It is self-regulating and cannot overheat, so uses less electricity. Easy to install; can be cut to size on the job site.

Contact: 877-783-7832; www.warmfloor.com

ThermoSoft International Products:

  • ThermoTile Electric Radiant Floor Heat Mats. Primarily for use under tile, they can be installed under most types of flooring on any sub-floor and reduce energy costs up to 40%. ThermoTile floor heating system is thin (about 1⁄8-inch thick); can be formed to fit any floor space. Designed with Zero EMF (electromagnetic field) cable construction. ThermoTile comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • ThermoFloor Electric Radiant Floor Heating Pads. Primarily for use under laminate, engineered wood, glued hardwood and other floating floors, these ultra-thin heating elements are mounted on special sound-reducing and temperature-insulating padding. Easy to install: Simply roll out the heating pads over the sub-floor. No cement mortar required. Heating elements are pre-spaced and factory-mounted on the underlayment pad. No hot water pipes to worry about or thick electrical cables to bury in cement or raise your floor. ThermoFloor has FiberThermics heating wires that eliminate overheating and is warranted for 10 years.
  • Accessories include a notched plastic trowel, Instalarm installation monitor and energy-saving thermostats. Both products are made in the USA.

Contact: 800-308-8057 or 847-279-3800;

www.thermosoft.com

Warmup, Inc. Products:

  • New ultra-thin 240 Volt Electric Loose Heating Wire. Heats up to 239 sq. ft. of tile or stone flooring, all on one Energy Star-rated thermostat with no need for relay configurations. This loose wire is suitable for unusual or complex floor layouts and joins Warmup’s flexible range of 240 Volt mats for large, regularly-shaped rooms.
  • The company also offers the popular 120 volt mat and loose wire range. For laminate and engineered wood flooring, Warmup has a 120 volt and 240 volt Carbon Heating System which distributes heat safely and evenly so there are no cold spots or warping. A 30-year warranty with homeowner transfer option applies to all heaters. To complement their heaters, insulated backer board is offered to reduce downward heat loss and improve energy efficiency.

Contact: 888-927-6333; www.warmup.com.

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