Marble Heated Floor Tutorial

In case you are wondering how we went about installing a heated marble floor in our Master Bath, I thought I would share the process with you. (And for more on the rest of the bathroom renovation, check out this post.)

When it came time to tile the floor of our master bath, my husband insisted that we find a way to heat it. We feel there is NOTHING worse than stepping out of the warm shower onto a freezing cold tile floor. We love the look of tile and knew that's absolutely what we wanted in there but we didn't want to have to jump from rug to rug just to be able to stay warm.

So, we looked into heating the floor. There are several different options but we ended up choosing an electric heat system. It was the simplest of the options and most economical for our application.

We purchased a Warm Tiles Cable Kit and Thermostat from Menards for around $180 to do our 5 x 7 bathroom (less than 25 sq ft of that would actually be tiled).

Here are the steps we followed:

1. Lay down backer board (as we would have done for any floor tiling project) so that you're not tiling directly to wood that can expand/contract like crazy and result in cracking grout and tiles within a small window of time. Believe us, this advice comes from experience!

2. Lay out heated floor cables per spacing instructions on the Cable Kit packaging. You can see that we would have 4 rows at 1" spacing following by a 3" gap then another 4 rows, etc. We were careful to lay cables no closer than 2" to any fixtures such as the toilet, sink, tub or walls. (You can also purchase already laid out Warm Tiles mats that take care of the spacing for you, but I believe the cable kit is a bit cheaper.)

3. Install wiring connecting the floor cables to a thermostat on the wall. You can even purchase a fancy schmancy programmable thermostat that will turn on, say at 5 a.m. so the tiles are nice and warm for you when you wake up in the morning. We did not do this. And we ended up running our Warm Tiles system 24/7 last winter. It really did not raise our electric bill by that much.

4. Bury the cables in self leveling cement. Admittedly, this was probably the most nerve wracking of the steps since we'd already had carpet laid in the adjoining master bedroom and walk in closet and I was concerned the cement would get in our carpet! We used painters tape and scrap lumber to contain it, in our case.

5. Lay tiles on top of the dried/cured self leveling cement using tile mortar. Then grout and seal away as normal, per instructions on packages. We installed marble tiles (that we found on clearance at Lowe's for $1 / sq ft I believe). Gotta love a clearanced item!

As a side note, before we officially mortared our tiles down, since they are a natural stone that varies quite a bit and our clearanced tiles had a lot of chipped corners, etc. we took hours and hours to lay them out ahead of time and decide exactly which tile we would place where. We even numbered them on the back with a carpenter's pencil: 1 thru 30 or something like that and also placed numbers on a sketched out grid on the cement so we could take the tiles outside, cut them to fit their location on the tile saw and then know exactly where they went when we came back in. It really helped us out.

We used 1/8" tile spacers on our floor.

Here's Dave mixing up the tile mortar in a bucket. You can buy already mixed up mortar but it is more expensive and actually has an expiration date.

About 3/4 of the way done! I was driving David nuts throughout this project. He finished it just a week or so before Levi was born so I was pretty antsy to get done.

Even though we used the spacers we realized the tiles were not always perfectly square, nor were the walls. We live in a fallen world! So Dave would sight down the grout lines to make sure they were staying straight and when they looked perfect he would use painters tape to also hold the tiles in position overnight till the mortar dried. There are probably not a lot of people that would be as picky as us, but what can I say? We're detail oriented people around here.

A few days later we were ready to grout the tile. Woohoo!

We also tiled above our shower and bullnosed 3 x 12 cut down tiles for a frame around the shower and a baseboard. Like this:

All in all, heating our bathroom floor was a relatively small expense in the whole scheme of things, especially considering it was not all that much space to begin with, and the heating along with the marble tile just makes our master bath seem so much more luxurious! There is not a day in the winter that goes by that I'm not thankful for it. I even turned it on this morning on the chilliest morning around here since May.

I'm linking this up to Homemaker on a Dime's Creative Blogger Hop & Party today.

1 comment:

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

It feels good to have such a great milestone (putting the tiles) in the bath upgrade, isn't it? Thanks for linking up at Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

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