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Is installing underfloor heat a DIY project?

Homeowners often ask us if underfloor heating can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer.

Homeowners often ask us if underfloor heating can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer. It seems everyone is looking to save money by tackling home improvement projects on their own. The answer to this question really comes down to this—if you are a do-it yourself (DIY) type of person, what level of experience do you have, and do you feel confident that you can do the project correctly?

Electric underfloor radiant heat installation is one of the fastest-growing home improvement projects. However, not all electric underfloor heating systems are for the DIY person. Hydronic systems, for example, are better left to the professionals as they are complicated and require special knowledge and tools. Systems powered by a 120- or 240-volt power source may also require a professional electrician, although you could still lay down the floor mats yourself and simply hire out the electrical work.

Meanwhile, low-voltage electric underfloor radiant heating systems like those sold by are less complicated and are ideal for the DIY person because they are comprised of a simple heating mat or cable, and a thermostat. The tools used are basic electrical tools that require little investment and can be used again for other jobs around the house! These underfloor systems are typically installed in bathrooms, basements, kitchens and sunrooms. However, electric radiant heating can even be used as a primary heat source for the entire home.

In all our years of watching the market, no product compares to the easy installation of low voltage electric underfloor heating systems like STEP Warmfloor. With these products, the installation tools needed are scissors, a staple gun and some common electrical tools. The 12-inch wide and extremely thin mat is low voltage – it basically has the same voltage as a common doorbell!

A transformer is also needed. Again, if you’re not comfortable with this, then hire a professional to run the power. Even though the DIY intimidation factor is less for low voltage electric systems than hydronic or high voltage cable systems, you still need to know your limits. Low voltage electric systems are super easy to hold down to the wood subfloor, and you can staple directly through the STEP Warmfloor element without worrying about it failing. These products don’t have a filament to be concerned about puncturing or nicking since they heat with a semi-conductive polymer called carbon black.

Did I mention no failures? How much is that worth to the DIY or a heating professional? Other benefits of the product are the many flooring types that it can be safely installed under, like carpet and wood. Think of the endless possibilities of expanding the comfort of your home!

Whatever DIY project you tackle, make sure you do your research and be accepting of your level of experience – that means knowing when you need to call a professional for help! Good luck in whatever you attempt.

To learn more about the products has to offer the DIY homeowner, call (800) 785-8738.