Warmup undertile heater-anybody using it? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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11-09-2004, 01:09 PM
This project gets more complicated all the time. My tile salesman has told me that Warmup undertile heater is better than Warmly yours and othe mat style warmers. This is a wire that can be set anywhere needed no trimming required. See www.warmup.com for more info. Is anyone using this product, and is it any good?

Thanks in advance,

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11-09-2004, 02:51 PM
Since I was mentioned (well my company) I think I get to respond. Warmup's big advantage is it's cost. It's a cable system, similar to flextherm, easyheat, deltatherm etc... but the difference is they don't use the clips at either end of the room, and recommend taping over their wire.

These are the steps involved in laying down a Warmup floor, paint a primer over the floor (this allows the tape to stick to concrete or backerboard), run the wire in an S pattern over the floor, making sure you keep spacing even (otherwise you will have cool spots and hot spots), tape small strips over the wire to hold it in place, than cover the entire wire with the tape, that's back and forth over the entire length of the wire. Then cover with thinset and tile.

On average, for the same watts per square foot, (15 watts per foot - 2" spacing) Warmup is about 25% to 30% cheaper than WarmlyYours but when you look at all the extra steps that Warmup needs to be installed, I think it is clear that overall the WarmlyYours system will end up less expensive.

With our roll system, you are able to quickly cover a large area of the floor, and than because we can take our wire off the mesh it is attached to, you can also fill in the nooks and crannies, easily and quickly. I recommend you send us a floorplan, or visit our website (click the link below) and compare. That's all I'll ask.

Wade J

John Bridge
11-09-2004, 06:23 PM
Hi Brandy,

Wade's company, Warmly Yours, pays us money to keep that banner up at the top of this page, but that's not what should matter in this case. As Wade said, by the time you finish jumping through all the hoops necessary to the installation of the other system you will have become a Warmly Yours fan, too. ;)

11-09-2004, 10:41 PM
What I'd like to know is if this system fails in a couple years, how do you find the problem area and change it? Wouldn't that mean digging up the tiles?

I received a sample from Warmly yours, and it looked very flimsy. I trust that's not how the 'real' thing looks!

11-10-2004, 07:22 AM
In looking over this new entry into the in floor USA heating market(they are from england) I see absolutly no mention of a Warranty,None!!!
The system differs somewhat from Flextherm as to its installation method as Wade pointed out( I am most familiar with the flextherm system but have used Warmly and Suntouch also).
They seem to have gained a foothold in conneticut.And won an Award there ,but conneticuts smaller than some of our counties ;)
In looking at thier prices, they arent that great.
Sticking to an established Company that actually gives you warranty information etc would be my recomendation.
Warmly Yours is a good product and shouldnt be overlooked.It coasts a little more(not much) and does save time in labor over flextherm(another good product)
Nuheat is also well liked but some of our members although i have never used it.
Wade is very helpful to our folks here and that in itself would gain points were I in the market as a DIY er :)

11-10-2004, 07:46 AM
To answer ladybird's question about, what if something goes wrong? The simply answer is nothing usually does. Obviously never say never.

At WarmlyYours you will notice our warranty not only covers the cost of the product, but, if it is a manufacturers defect, we cover the cost of the labour for locating the fault, taking up the tile and fixing the floor. This warranty has the potential to cost us a lot of money, but we have such faith in our product that we know it will last at least 10 years (probably 15 to 20) without any problems. And therefore can offer to pay to not just give you the money back for the mat - leaving you with a cold floor, but giving you what you bought originally - a warm & comfortable tile floor.

If something did go wrong, there are ways to find the fault under the floor and we have devices that we loan rent free that can find the length of wire to where the break/short is. As long as you have followed the design layout we provide, we can find which tile or two the fault is under. We help people locate installation cuts with these devices and they work remarkably well.

Wade J

11-10-2004, 08:22 AM
Wade, that's good to know. It's one of the questions my husband asked because he was afraid we'd have to rip out everything to get to the problem.

Another question. Would we have to cover the entire flooring, or could we just install the heating element in the most used areas?

11-10-2004, 08:26 AM
BTW, has anyone used cork flooring? I know of a couple people who installed that in their kitchen and they swear it's better than tiles. Easier on the feet, and no need to heat.

11-10-2004, 10:36 PM
Blasphemy!!!!! :laugh2: :D

11-11-2004, 09:00 AM
I won't get into the cork flooring debate, but for the coverage question - it depends on the room. In a bathroom we usually do the entire open area. Simply because if you only warm certain spots, the cold spots feel so much colder, and you don't want to be playing hop scotch in your bathroom. In larger areas like Kitchens, we may not do the entire area, we sometime do just around the island.

Send us a floorplan, and you'll see a full coverage design, and then you can get our designers to cut out sections if you wish.

Jack Glendinning
11-16-2004, 04:31 AM
I enjoyed reading the thread, and I could not resist adding my sixpence worth. Firtly, let me come clean – I work for Warmup.

Other key questions when selecting an electric radiant heating product should be considered:

1) The thickness of the heating element. The thicker the cable the more tile adhesive you are going to have to use. (Warmup is one of the thinnest out there)

2) Is the heater is UL approved (see www.ul.com)? UL tests electrical products to set standards of product design, tolerance and manufacturing quality control. Not only do you have the reassurance that the product is completely safe, there are many municipalities that have laws, codes or regulations which require a product to be tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory before it can be sold in their area. UL is the largest and oldest nationally recognized testing laboratory in the United States. (Warmup is UL approved).

Although Warmup is only two years old in the USA, we are the market leader in the UK and we have been selling in New Zealand and South Africa for 20 years.

11-16-2004, 09:06 AM
Good to have you here Jack.

Both important points to consider, especially if it is UL approved. WarmUp, WarmlyYours, Flextherm, Nuheat, Suntouch and Easyheat are all UL approved. There are probably others that are as well, but always ask for the UL number and check it on www.UL.com because their are some companies that give out false UL numbers.


12-29-2005, 10:43 AM
We just turned our Warmup undertile heater on 3 weeks ago, and to say that we are disgusted with it is an understatement. It is supposed to get to 82 degrees floor temp and has never gotten above 77 degrees and is on 100% all the time. That's when it hasn't cut out in the middle of the night and lost most of its heat while the standby light comes on - all for unfathonable reasons. Its done this twice in two weeks and we obviously can't go on a winter vacation with the peace of mind that the worthless thing will even prevent the pipes from freezing in that room. The heater can get the floor up to 76 or so degrees if its warm out, and down to the 60's if its really cold and windy out.With a floor temperature in the 60's, the room temperature is a balmy 50. How ingenius! It works as long as its not needed!! I'm sure it would work fine if we would just make sure that there is another heater for function, and we use the Warmup heater for show-and-tell. I became quite suspicious of it when installing it I noticed that it was unable to maintain the wire spacing that their own chart said to maintain for the area we were covering- the same area that the heater was specifically designed for. 2-1/2 inches quickly became 3-1/2 inches. We re-measured and made no error in our math. To install it, took an electrician 4 hours to do (this is the second smallest model) The company said they will give you a replacement for free if its their fault (how they gonna determine that?) IF you got it 30 days ago! But their OWN instrucions said not to turn it on til 3 weeks after the stone is set. You have to somehow install everything in the first few days, wait three weeks, turn it on, wait a couple days to see if it heats the room, then run to the phone before midnight I presume in time to get the complaint in before the clock runs out. I was going to try this thing and see if it worked before installing it in other people's homes as a mason, but not now. Now I have to contemplate ripping up all my fine stonework while cursing Warmup and their ancestors. Paul

12-29-2005, 12:52 PM
This is an interesting thread

Do some of these under tile heating system folks represent that the thing will heat the room? THEY DON'T! They warm the tile only.

Up here in the Northwest under tile and laminate heating systems are used quite often and I have installed a variety of systems and have come to only install two of them now. Nuheat and Warmly Yours. The main reason being that they are tile installer friendly. In most cases there is no need to pour a level of SLC over the mat.
My take

12-29-2005, 01:37 PM
Thought I'd toss in my 3 cents worth here...

I've installed WarmlyYours in 3 rooms - 2 baths, and my kitchen/great room. In the kitchen the entire kitchen side of the large island is heated, and on the dining room side of the island the heat just goes around the island to a few feet out. The bathrooms are both full coverage.

I used both methods to install (covering with thinset then later setting the tile; and only one layer of thinset to cover and set the tile at the same time). I would certainly recommend the two-step method for less than experienced folks, and when using larger tiles. (I have some hollow spots in the kitchen where I didn't get full coverage under the larger tiles using the single step method.)

The mat design of WarmlyYours is very easy to install, and is very easy to cut away from the mat to work around odd corners and angles (pic attached).

Oh, and I recently put cork down in a couple of rooms - love it! (I know, blasphemy :crazy: ) It's comfortable, easy to install, looks great. I wish we
had used that in the other rooms where we put down bamboo... (pic attached)

Good luck!

12-29-2005, 04:46 PM
Thanks for the kind words Bryan and Jerry.

Paul, unfortunately the reason you are not getting the heat expected is because of the extra spacing between the wires. With a loose cable system the spacing is determined on site and if calculations are off, then the spacing has to increase. WarmlyYours and other manufacturers avoid this by having their wires pre-spaced on their mats every 2" to 3" (WarmlyYours is at 2"). The other problem is (I guess) you are on a concrete slab that is probably sucking the heat down to the ground.

Regarding the thermostat, unfortunately sporadic tripping is something that affects all floor warming systems, but if it is happening more then once every 3 to 4 weeks then the GFCI is either too sensitive or there may be something wrong with the thermostat itself. You should be able to get a replacement stat from WarmUp.

The time of installation is a common complaint about cable systems, and from installer feedback, we estimate that WarmlyYours' systems take about 1/3 the time compared to cable systems, and just for future note, you don't need an electrician to lay out the mats, you only need them to wire the thermostat, the rest of it is just a flooring installation.

Jerry, I do have to disagree with you that these products only warm the floor, they don't, the heat will transfer into the room, and WarmlyYours offers a heat loss calculation service (free of charge) that can show you exactly how much heat your room will lose and how much heat our systems will give the room. If we give more than you lose, then it can be a primary heat source.

Anyway I'm not meant to be posting this week as I'm on vacation, so don't tell my Fiance' (If you're curious I'm in St Louis planning the wedding, yippeee)

12-30-2005, 12:08 PM
Just to respond to JTG, I don't have the Warmup booklet in front of me, but even if that were the case, in the small room that I have used it, a floor temp of 82 degrees would get this room to around 70. Whatever temp it reached, I would not complain IF that floor would get up to the 82 degrees that the company claims it will do. So far 77 is the warmest its got. Plus it shuts off every week or so and the standby light goes on for inexplicable reasons. The stone thickness I used is about an inch to 1-1/8 inches thick, so its a fair bit thicker than the typical 3/8 inch stone tile, but that should just mean that the stone takes longer to heat up and cool down. No mention of stone thickness is made in their Installation Manual except that only "ceramic, quarry, or natural stone tiles" can be used. How thick the "tiles" should be is not mentioned. MAYBE this is the problem, but I just find that the whole system is flimsy and barely up to the task in general. I just now read Wade's post and suspect he is right about the spacing business, and that the pre-spaced wires of his company's would have saved me trouble. There is 1" of blue styrofoam board under the cementboard beneath the wires, which the Warmup people told me by phone was acceptable. Paul

12-30-2005, 02:07 PM
I've installed two of the Warmup systems, one about 30 sq ft the other 75 sq ft. I found installation fairly easy both times, I wouldn't see any need to "save time". The system works fine in both applications for me, one 3/8 granite the other 1/4 or 3/8 porcelain tile.

I haven't had tripping problems either, but do you have two GFIs? The thermostat on warmup usually (check your model) has a built in gfi. If you put one at the panel too, they will trip eachother of course. Good luck.

If I had to install more of these, I wouldn't bother looking at other options. I get the warmup units for a great price too. The second installation (30 sq ft) only took me maybe 1.5 hours to install (besides the primer drying). Thats laying the wire, notching the cbu for the thick wire and probe placement, wiring the units into the wall, taping over all the orange wire. I don't understand why I would care to "save" more time than that. These are 200 hour bathroom rebuilds, as Im sure many other people are involved with.


12-30-2005, 04:30 PM
I don't understand why I would care to "save" more time than that. These are 200 hour bathroom rebuilds, as Im sure many other people are involved with.

Chris, in my area "time is money". If you can find a way to do the job and save time, you are making more money. I am not talking about cutting corners, just improving my nack for doing something. For instance, I use a quickdrive screw gun to screw my cbu down. Drywall gun will do the same thing, just the quickdrive is quicker. My labor rate did not go down, I just became more effecient and able to save time and make better money.

01-01-2006, 11:24 AM

Heat cables work well. All kinds. A first-time DIYer is best to go with a firm that answers questions. That would be Wade and Warmly...

A few points that may help orient first-time buyers:

Loose cables. These *may* take very little time for you to place and re-position and hold down -- in a small space, and if the cable can lay flat, and if your glue works well with you, and so on. The larger the space, the more hassle. That alone is a good reason to avoid loose cables, especially if you have never done this before. Also, you have to plan out how to distribute your cable. A floor plan. Hmm, sounds easy, but is not as simple as a first-timer thinks it will be. The next concern has never been mentioned here before: keeping the cable undamaged once it is laid down. You and others still have to walk, circulate, move around. If a loose cable gets snagged on someone's boot (the toe) when they are walking, the cable gets pulled, tugged, yanked. This is physical stress that the cable is not designed for; it is designed to be embedded. You will be left wondering whether you have damaged the cable, either the core or the sheathing. Mats have advantages that are worth paying for. Even more advantages than these three.

A few years ago when I bought a loose heat cable, I knew enough to ask good questions, and I figured I'd do a fine job. I was right on both counts. I installed it well, and it works. Today, with many more years' experience and greater ability, I recommend you buy the advantages that a cable set in a mat provides you.

Insulation. A big new topic.

I called Wade once, and spoke to him. He was most forthcoming about every topic I raised. We did not discuss the relative advantages of mats over loose cables. Wade made a big impression on me, as he discussed the impact that a floor's insulation has (underneath it) on the ultimate performance of a heated floor. This was a high degree of transparency, forthcomingness and honesty.

To get optimal performance, you need to know what portion of your heat cable's output will go downwards instead of upwards. Pay attention to the subfloor and to what is underneath the subfloor too.

When you install a thick heat insulator under your heated tile floor, your floor can be HOT even outdoors in winter.

A thin insulator makes a huge difference compared to having none.

A few years ago when I bought a loose heat cable, I asked the manufacturer about insulation, heat gain, heat loss, heat transfer, and optimal performance. They avoided being helpful and forthcoming. I called back several times, and I got the run-around (from the heat cable company). They confused me 'accidentally on purpose, or semi-deliberately' is how I will say it.

So then I called a university physics professor, and a couple engineer scientists. I analyzed this subject a lot! But my installation had already gone ahead, and in the rush of the moment, I chose to disregard the under-floor heat loss, and in hindsight I'll admit that this was a big mistake. When the time came when I had to lay down the cable prior to tile-laying, I made two assumptions that were both wrong. One, I figured that the cold concrete slab under my floor would only take half the heat away from my tiles. Two, I had not found any slim thin flat underlayment that would act as a heat insulator.

In both cases I was dead wrong. A concrete slab will suck up your heat and spread it out into the rest of the building it is a part of. Thin underlayments do exist, are available, and cost very little. They are so thin that the manufacturers sell them primarily as 'membranes' and not as 'heat insulators'. :)

We just turned our Warmup undertile heater on <....> supposed to get to 82 degrees floor temp and has never gotten above 77 degrees and is on 100% all the time.
<....> The heater can get the floor up to 76 or so degrees if its warm out, and down to the 60's if its really cold and windy out.With a floor temperature in the 60's, the room temperature is a balmy 50. ....Paul,
The lines quoted above give just enough information to indicate that you have an insulation challenge, and NOT a defective heating system.

If I am right about this, it means that Warmup is still a fine system, and it also means that any other heat cable would perform underwhelmingly - that is worse than poorly.

Before you say what is underneath your heated tiled floor, I will still criticize the Warmup web site for not mentioning underfloor insulation at all (or not in the first few pages I visited). The home page should raise the topic, and one of the first links should enable the DIY market to read about it. Instead, they avoid it. They do have a glossary and a FAQ, which say nothing about adding a thin underlayment under the cables -- if your subfloor needs it. They do say "If your room is well insulated, and complies with modern insulation levels as set out in the current building regs you can use Warmup Undertile Heating as the sole heat source." That is evasive, in my opinion. Floors inside a house don't require any insulation. When you add a heat cable, more than half of your heat can go into your subfloor -- and that 'loss' becomes a gain going into the rest of the house, or going outdoors, depending on your building. In terms of installation, all I see is that you "coat the floor with primer" to get a tacky base for the cable to stick to. No membrane recommended.

When floor heat cable manufacturers avoid discussing insulation or membranes, they achieve their sales without complicating the process. They rely on an unspoken, or tacit assumption that heat rises (completely false). They rely on the fact that most buyers will be happy with any new heat under the tiles, and that few people have other installations to compare to.

I hope my input here helps us all to focus future discussions on heat towards the big subject of "keeping your heat". The best way to keep heat is to use the right kinds of insulation, in the right places.

I have posted here in this web site a hundred times about insulation and heat, so it will be easy to search here using this site's own search engine. Don't use my username handle 'geniescience' since it is not part of the message body text. Also, a separate search has to be done for the Pro Forum.

Cork is fine heat insulator. Wedi has a 1/4" thick panel. Noble has a thin membrane that even mentions heat in its PDF, although its stated purpose is anti-fracture. I think it is 1/16th" thick. The thinner the membrane, the more ridiculous the R-value appears to be, but don't let that stop you from moving forward with the plan. Any membrane is better than none, by far. More about that later if it becomes a hot topic.

Finally, there is one specific membrane that I do not recommend when heat cables are to be installed, because the manufacturer says it is to go on top of the cables since it is an anti-fracture membrane... but when I last pointed that out, in another thread in mid-December, a senior member of this web site jumped all over my posting and tried to rip apart what I said, and ignored the issue of insulation, and then a few other members posted about how they all love that particular membrane, so I think I'll not mention it by name and I hope that will suffice to let what I say here about insulation stand. If any membrane gets installed on top of the heat cables, it merely aggravates the heat situation instead of helping it. Less heat going up into the tiles. Of course, anyone can say that the impact is 'negligible' since that word has no clear definition or limit as to what is or isn't to be neglected or ignored.

The fact remains that your heat loss under your cables is a subject worthy of attention, and this is true whether you have concrete or wood underneath. To avoid problems with performance, and to ensure you get to keep the heat you have installed and paid for, you must direct the heat upwards, and this means ensuring that whatever is under the heat cables is not pulling heat away -- that is called conduction, the opposite of insulation.

Why not have a warm floor that heats up to the temperature the manufacturer says you can have? Prevent conduction. Insulate. At least minimally. Any insulator at all, any membrane at all, will have the effect of sending proportionally more heat up than down. That will meet the objective.

01-01-2006, 12:28 PM
David, you can feel free to mention Ditra by name when you want to be critical of the product, but you point is still not going to be well taken.

The brand, or even the style of crack isolation membrane used with a radiant floor heating system is an issue completely separate from the issue of insulation below the heating installation. Not a companion issue, not an associated issue, but a separate issue. The only connection between the two might be that the better the insulation below the heating system, the greater the possible need for an isolation membrane above it for protection of a tile installation.

And the fact that the Ditra manufacturer and at least one heating system manufacturer have said they consider the membrane's effect on the effectiveness of the heating system to be negligible should be quite understandable to the lay tiler, I should think.

The product is extremely effective at crack isolation and has virtually no effect on the heating system. I'm sure you could design your own test of that claim so that the result would no longer be subjective in your mind. Feel free to publish your results here if you care to. :)

Again, if you want insulation below the heating system (something I personally endorse whole-heartedly), install something that meets the requirements for a tile installation above. If you want to use an isolation membrane above the heating system (also something I whole-heartedly endorse), install one that that is known effective at its intended purpose and has as little effect upon the heating system as possible.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-09-2006, 12:08 PM
Geniescience, I agree completely about all you say regarding insulation and about the difficulties and disadvantages of the loose cable system over the mat system. ( I had to take the entire roll outside, unroll it completely on a calm day, get the two opposite ends, and re-roll the whole thing on a wide board so that my electrician could get at the two ends, and then I could un-wind the wire without it snarling off that little coil--plus it wanted to kink everywhere!) But I did insulate underneath which you probably did not notice in one of my replies. I put 5/16" durock board beneath the wires, and there was 1 inch thick blue styrofoam underneath that. This was all on top of the concrete slab. The people at Warmup told me by telephone this would work fine. If this is the problem its their fault. If its not the problem, then I suspect that the significantly greater spacing of the wires than what the product promised is the problem, as Wade has opinioned in one of his posts. Either way, I'm not impressed by Warmup. My kitchen will be done with a Warmly Yours type using a mat-arrangement. Paul

01-09-2006, 12:31 PM
Please tell me where you got or the make of the cork, I like the size. Can I put radiant heat under that? A www. would be appreciated. Thanx, Mia

01-11-2006, 12:14 AM
We got the cork at a local wholesale flooring place (had an in with the owner so didn't have to go retail, but not enough of an "in" to really save any $) here in San Diego.
This is the product web site: http://naturalcork.com/main.html.

I'm pretty sure you can put heat under it, but I don't know if you'd need/want to. It feels really warm just by itself.

Good luck,

01-21-2006, 04:39 PM
Geniescience, I agree completely about all you say regarding insulation and about the difficulties and disadvantages of the loose cable system over the mat system.....Paul

Now I found your other post (#17 above) and after reading it I agree with you and Wade: it is the spacing. There is a lot more energy (i.e. heat) applied when you place the wires closer together. About 50% more when you go from a 3-inch spacing to a 2-inch spacing. This must be the reason you cannot get a hig enough temperature.

I share your frustration about not getting what you were planning to have when you installed under floor heat cables. Why go to all that trouble just to have something that only works when you don't need it?

About the thermostat turning itself off and on (on standby) : this is a point worth taking up with the manufacturer.

Sorry for missing your other post.

01-22-2006, 11:27 PM
I used both methods to install (covering with thinset then later setting the tile; and only one layer of thinset to cover and set the tile at the same time). I would certainly recommend the two-step method for less than experienced folks, and when using larger tiles. (I have some hollow spots in the kitchen where I didn't get full coverage under the larger tiles using the single step method.)

Is there any instructions on the "two-step" method? I am worried about this, and with Suntouch, the power cable is not super thin.

01-24-2006, 11:21 AM
Is there any instructions on the "two-step" method? I am worried about this, and with Suntouch, the power cable is not super thin.
Isn't your power cable located at the edge of the floor and the wall? Then it takes up space in a grout line and not under a tile.
- About instructions on how to put a bit of concrete in between the cables to fill the space: no I have never seen any instructions. Just do it. :crazy:

kiwi tiler
06-12-2008, 05:34 AM
Hi all
you all make valid points as to the pro's and con's of the various systems. One thing that seems to be happening more often over her in NZ is the amount of undertile cables getting damaged because they have not had a protective screed over them.In todays building environment the pressure is on so there are tradesmen for africa on most builds to get them finished by the set dates,Consequently when the wires are put down and not screeded you can end up with every man and his dog walking and working over your wires when you are not there.
Even with the alarms on the cables if they have been compressed with say a step ladder foot the cable is likely to fail on fire up (we have had this instance )
so now we have a disclaimer basically stating that it is our requirement for all hot floors to have a screed and an alarm or we take no responsibility for damage. We have also noticed with the warmup system that it does not seem to be as hardy as it was say 5 -10 years ago. I wonder if this is because they are having them made in china now ( only a querry i have and not a fact that I know of)
Cheers have a good nite