diy projects

DIY Heated Floor Tile

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Guess what?! The basement bathroom is really taking shape and the heated floor tile is finished (one family member is already a fan… ahem, Cash)! We just wrapped up grouting yesterday and it looks amazing. I’m very happy with how the flooring turned out. I was pretty surprised to receive so many Instagram messages from you guys telling me how easy we made this project look. Well, the truth is- it doesn’t just “look” easy- it’s actually a pretty simple DIY. If you’re installing floor tile, it’s really only a couple added steps to get a heated floor. Given we have 20+ inches of snow on the ground right now, and the bathroom is in the cold basement, I know Emmett and I (as well as our house guests) will be using this cozy feature often. As promised, I’m breaking down a very detailed tutorial in this blog post. Click through to learn how to install your own heated floor tile! I promise it’s easy.

*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com The Schluter Systems Floor Heating Kit is key in making this project easy. It comes with everything you need and very specific directions for installation. Emmett and I were both really happy we went this route. Here are the other basic materials you’ll need…

SUPPLIES + TOOLS

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Before I dive in, I want to quickly chat about the electrical for this project. Emmett runs permitted electrical (to code) and is comfortable doing the work of an electrician. If you’re not comfortable running electrical wires, this is a quick, easy, inexpensive job that you could definitely hire an electrician for. There are also instructions in the kit that depict the electrical installation process. We ran the electrical wires to code prior to installing the drywall, so you won’t see them in this post. The wire that heats the floor will run underneath the baseboard (it isn’t visible), up behind the drywall through a plastic conduit, and into an electrical box connected to a thermostat that controls the floor temperature. Alright- now that you know how the heated floor functions (it’s hardwired), ready to see the tutorial?

Step 1 // Clean the floor. We began by scraping up bits of drywall mud, then we thoroughly cleaned the floor using a sponge with soap and water.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 2 // Dry fit and layout the membrane. The entire floor needs to be covered with the orange membrane panels. This part of the process is like putting together a puzzle. Cut the sheets to fit your space in the most efficient way possible. You can even turn them in different directions. We ended up using five pieces of membrane. Once you have the surface area covered, dry fit the pieces to ensure they fit properly.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 3 // Set the membrane. Using Mapei unmodified thinset and a 1/4″ x 1/4″ trowel, apply the mortar directly onto the floor in an even and consistent pattern.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Starting in the corner of the room, lay the first sheet of membrane onto the thinset. Press down and apply even pressure to set the membrane. The instructions in the kit recommend using a roller to flatten the membrane, while applying even pressure. Alternatively, you can also use a flat trowel or grout float… as long as the pressure is even and consistent, that’s all that matters.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com On the first piece, peel back the corner to check the coverage before moving forward. The bottom of the membrane should look something like this…

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Make sure the membrane panel is completely level before moving onto the next piece.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com If everything looks nice and level, repeat this step until the entire floor is covered in the membrane panels. Allow this to cure and harden for 24 hours before moving onto the next step. Once it’s totally solid, it’s safe to walk on!

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 4 // Install the heat cable. Now that the floor and membrane has cured, it’s time to install the heat cable. The Schluter packet includes VERY specific instructions on how to layout the cable pattern. Each room is unique and it will help shed light on where the cable can be installed safely within a space. For example- you have to keep the cable 2″ away from any wall, 7″ away from the toilet flange, and the cable cannot be installed under a vanity. The packet goes into further details, but once you have the information- you can layout and begin installing the cable.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com The cable itself is very easy to install. It snaps right into the membrane, between the round studs. This was the most fun part of the process for me! It was almost as gratifying as popping bubble wrap. It makes a nice clicking noise, so you know that it is secure. Once the cable is set in the membrane, test it to make sure the cable works (per the instructions).

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 5 // Water proof the seams. The next step is to “tape” or waterproof the seams and edges. The kit comes with a roll of material- cut strips to size that fit the perimeter of the room, as well as the seams or gaps between the membrane panels.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Using unmodified thinset and a putty knife, press the mortar onto the wall AND the membrane on the floor, all along the edge of the room.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Next, press the tape into the corner, along the edge… splitting the different (as shown below).

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Use the putty knife to press the tape into the thinset and create a sharp corner.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Repeat the process on the flat seams where the membrane panels meet. Once all of the seams and edges have been taped and sealed, allow it to cure before moving onto tiling!

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 6 // Tile. Now for the fun part… tiling! Again, using unmodified thinset, lay the mortar with a 1/4″ x 1/4″ trowel, making sure to press it evenly into the membrane panel. No orange should be showing through.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Use the trowel notches to line the mortar and begin setting the tile. A laser level REALLY helps with this. We ensure our tile is straight by setting up our Bosch laser level. I never tile without it. Our kitchen backsplash was a breeze thanks to that handy tool.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com If you’re looking for a detailed floor tile tutorial, click here for large format tiling instructions (like the tile we’re installing in the basement), or click here for mosaic floor tiling instructions (like the tile in our guest bathroom)! I shared our process, tips for mixing thinset, grouting, and much more. These are great resources if you’re new to tiling! Otherwise- carry on, repeat the tiling process until the entire floor is covered.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Step 7 // Clean the negative space between the tiles, then grout. If any thinset pushed up between the tiles, now is the time to clean the negative space between each tile prior to grouting. You can buy a special tool for this, or- we like to use a small flathead screwdriver.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Mix your grout according to the instructions on the package. This time around, we used Mapei Keracolor (in color Charcoal). Wearing gloves and using a rubber grout float, apply your grout.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com Once you’ve adequately filled all of the negative space, allow the grout to sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping it up with a sponge and water.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com This will take multiple passes to remove all of the grout residue. The object is to get it as clean as you can! Don’t be alarmed if you can’t get rid of the last bit of grout haze- that can easily be cleaned off of this particular tile once the grout is set. That’s all there is to it!

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com This project really just takes patience and precision, but it isn’t difficult at all. As we finish the wall tile and prime & paint the drywall, we’ll install the digital thermostat next (pictured below). It has a simple, sleek look.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com If you’re on the fence about tackling heated flooring yourself- I honestly think it’s much easier than people expect. It certainly adds a level of luxury to a bathroom that is very functional and feels high-end. Having heated floors in our basement is going to be wonderful. This bathroom probably gets the second most use (first would be our master) in our home. Not only is this a guest bathroom, but we spend a lot of time lounging in the basement, so Emmett & I also use this bathroom often. I wanted it to feel cozy (not like being in a cold basement), so adding heated floor tile made perfect sense. On snowy days like today, I’m even more excited to test this feature out very soon! The room is really coming together and I can’t wait to get started on the wall tile. If you missed the design plan, check it out (along with the before photos) in this post.

Speaking of tile- I received lots of questions about the patterned floor tile in this space. I knew I wanted something classic, yet fun and playful. This Delle Torre porcelain tile is slip, scratch, and fade resistant. It’s also rated for indoor and outdoor (wet) spaces. It can be used on the floors or walls, and require zero maintenance (no sealing like natural stone). It’s just a great, durable, affordable tile that is pet and kid-friendly, that I think feels pretty timeless. Another perk? The square 8″ x 8″ shape is very easy to install! Overall, I’d recommend it.

DIY Heated Floor Tile - roomfortuesday.com If you have any other questions about the process or products, please let me know in the comment section below! You know I’m always happy to help. I will say- this project was a thousand times easier having the Schluter Heated Floor Kit. That was definitely a game changer. We’ll actually be using another Schluter Kit for the shower. You can get a sneak peek of it in some of the images throughout this post. I’ll share more on that soon! Emmett and I also agreed that we’ll use these same kits when it comes time to renovate our master bathroom. Was this tutorial helpful? I sure hope so!

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    February 5, 2020 at 4:28 am

    Last step: Use adorable white dog like a swiffer to be certain all grout haze is removed! 🤣 I’m pretty sure if I lived in your house, you could find me cuddled up with Cash on that heated floor reading. Seriously though, I am in love with that tile!! The contrast looks perfect-softer than black and white. And I read the flower almost like an asterisk- not too floral. Your tutorial is fab; you’ve got me thinking I could tile! I haven’t noticed those yellow spacers before; they keep the spacer between the tile vertical and at a consistent height? Do you use them on wall tile too? You guys are making quick work of this bathroom! All that luscious marble next, yes?? Happy dance. And happy Wednesday!💖

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 5, 2020 at 8:39 am

      SHOOT!! How could I forget the most important step?! Use dog as swiffer. I am laughing out loud- so funny! I also like the asterisk look… you’re right, not overly floral. Great question about the spacers! Yes- those level the tile and keep it consistent vertical and horizontal. They’re really great. The top piece just pops in. Can’t wait for marble :) Happy Wednesday!!

  • Reply
    Traci
    February 5, 2020 at 5:50 am

    This is sooo good! You really make the best tile choices. Wishing I had waited on my guest bathroom flooring now. Ugh!
    I copied your former kitchen tile in my powder and I still love it and so does everyone who visits. It was super easy for my husband because of how large the tile was and we also followed that YouTube video as well. It was very helpful! I must find a place to put this beautiful tile. Excited to see the finished product.
    And Lol at Peggi. I loved the Swiffer comment.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 5, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Aw, thanks Traci! I STILL love our previous kitchen tile. You must’ve grabbed it right before they stopped making it. It was one of my favorite patterns. I’m a little jealous you get to enjoy it on a daily basis :) Really happy the post and video was helpful for you guys! There goes Peggi, making me laugh out loud and smile to start the morning. I love it! hahah xo

      • Reply
        Traci
        February 5, 2020 at 12:44 pm

        Oh my gosh! I had no idea that they had discontinued it. I snagged it two days after your kitchen reveal. I even have a few tiles leftover. Yay. The quality of the tile is amazing. I’m going on year two pretty soon and I’m not bored of it yet. Thanks again. You and Emmett make my husband and I both look like we know what we are doing! And we totally don’t. Lol.

        • Reply
          Sarah
          February 6, 2020 at 5:40 pm

          I had sooooo many messages (even a week after the kitchen reveal) saying that it was out of stock. Long story short, I emailed and found out it was discontinued forever. So sad!! You’re lucky you grabbed it quickly :) It is one of my all-time favorite tiles!! I’m also happy to hear you find our tutorials and the blog helpful. Love hearing that! xo

  • Reply
    Carly
    February 5, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Cash is too cute!!!

    You’ve got me wanting heated floor tile now! It’s such a lovely, luxurious feature that I really thought was reserved for $$$ homes. You’ve got me thinking otherwise now!

    I almost died when I saw your Instagram story about the self levelling concrete going into the drain. We had to pour some for our basement laundry room and I remember the fear as we pulled the barrier off of the drain! What a nightmare!

    I’m so looking forward to seeing how the bathroom comes along. Now that the floor tile is in, it’s really going to start taking shape!

    Happy Wednesday to you and Emmett and the pups!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 5, 2020 at 8:36 am

      He cracks me up! It really is such a nice (and functional) luxury- especially in our snowy climate and in a basement setting. It’s really much less expensive (and easier to install) than most people expect. Oohhhh yes- the leveler mishap. Haha! Rookie mistake on not double checking the drain on our part. It took us a few days, but we pulled out the plumbing and started over and the crisis was solved. Even we’re still learning! Happy Wednesday to you, Carly :) Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    Danna
    February 5, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Your adorable dog makes the tile look so good! Lol to Peggi’s comment!
    Going to keep this tutorial for some day down the road!
    May light a fire today..first one this year..yippee! BTW, Im being lazy to look but do you have favorite hot cocoa brands or recipe? Mine comes in individual package (Land O Lakes). You probably do. Need to go see. Happy Wednesday!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 6, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      Isn’t he a cutie? Hah! Peggi always puts a smile on my face with her comments. lol! Did you light a fire? I’m currently sitting fireside, watching it snow, responding to comments… three of my favorite things! I just need some hot cocoa :)

  • Reply
    Danna
    February 5, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Found the hot cocoa recipe! Knew you would have one since you love it! Must try the hot cocoa cupcakes…yum!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 6, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      Yesss!! They are SO good. I’ve been craving them this winter. Next snow day.

  • Reply
    jah
    February 5, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    how would you waterproof seams if the floor abuts a porcelain tub?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 6, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      Great question! You actually won’t waterproof the edge of the tub… instead, you’ll tile it as you normally would, then use grout caulk to seal it after the tile is in place.

  • Reply
    Ardith
    February 6, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Wow, that is one beautiful floor, you two. Love the floor accessory, too. While you do make installation look relatively easy, until a grouting product comes along that requires zero clean up…this girl is highly unlikely to take on this type of project. Otherwise, Mr. Emmett will have to cloned and lent out. Cheers, Ardith

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 6, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, Ardith! The floor accessory is our cute mop ;) haha!! Grouting? That’s the easy part! I’ll send Emmett your way next time. xo

  • Reply
    Anne H
    February 6, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Can you provide a link where we can find our own Cash’s, please? ;-D

    LOL to Peggi’s comment, too. I know I can always come visit when I need a little smile. (The videos and pics of the boys playing in the snow in their snow suits literally cracked me up, tho!)

    Love that this tile is a nice soft contrast of black and white (hard to find!) and that the pattern doesn’t read too traditional or too modern. Just cozy and just right. Look forward to seeing more, as always!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 6, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      Haha!! Why is he so cute?! I’m really excited about the bathroom. I can’t wait to start installing the marble tile now. xo

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    February 9, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    I can’t wait to see the marble tile, too.

    I have a question! How are you handling the edges of the room? Have you planned it so the tile naturally ends at the wall/shower surround, or are you using some kind of border, or does a partial width tile rim not bother you?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 9, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks Jonathan! I always like to use finishing pieces (pencil trim, chair rail, base tile, etc) to create a nice tailored edge. Check out my previous bathroom and guest bathroom for examples! We’ll be doing a similar treatment this time around with simple marble pencil trim.

  • Reply
    Amy
    March 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    I completely agree about heated floors adding so much luxury without alot of $$. We were blessed to have them in our master when we bought the house and made sure to add them again when we did a master remodel. What temperature do you keep yours on and do you leave them always on? I never know what is best for the floors and tile.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      March 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

      Definitely, Amy! We have LOVED having a heated floor and are excited to install more throughout our home in the future. We keep ours around 80 – 82, and yes… we leave it on (it is recommended by the manufacturer). Hope this helps :) xo

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    March 22, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I may be hallucinating, but when you first posted about the underfloor heating, you had a video of Emmet doing the different steps of the install. I’m going to be ordering this from Lowes, and wanted to show the video to my contractor, who hasn’t used this system before. Do you know where I might find it?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      March 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Jonathan! You can find our process saved in a highlight on my Instagram page (I shared some IG stories via video). Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    March 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    D’oh! Of course – I couldn’t remember where I’d found it.

    Thanks – stay warm and safe!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      March 23, 2020 at 10:56 am

      No problem at all! You too :)

  • Reply
    Mark Rupert
    August 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Your tile choice is superb. The gray and white combination is just gorgeous.

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