Warm Bench [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-27-2007, 09:25 PM
It seems like warm floors are all the rage right now, but honestly I'm not all that excited by the concept. My feet never seem to be that cold anyway. But(t), it just occurred to me (and too late to employ it in my current shower project) that I would be interested in a heated shower bench. Has anyone tried this?

I have seen some threads where folks have put heating elements in the shower floor. That combination of electricity and water seems a little scary, and I suppose this idea is no less frightening. But, how about it? :shrug: I will be doing another shower eventually.

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02-27-2007, 09:37 PM
I like the sound of that Dan. I'm in the midst of installing my shower right now - and details you can provide in moving forward on this idea? What's the source for the heat?

02-27-2007, 09:51 PM
Mark, my first thought would be to use the same stuff they put in floors. You'd have to start with a mortared bench like the Better Bench.

Don't get too excited yet. A pro could be along any moment with a great reason why this won't work.

02-27-2007, 11:57 PM
Might wanna check with your local inspector before attempting something
like this. It could be done, but im not sure if it is approved. Id imagine
without a GFI it would be really dangerous as well. Id just aim the shower
head at the bench while youre waiting on the hot water to arrive :D

02-28-2007, 07:26 AM
It is not as easy to retrofit as some of the electricity based floor heating mats, but how about a Hydronic system? that would be a lot safer.

02-28-2007, 01:27 PM
I'll be adding hydronic heat to my master bath and while I did not consider heating my better bench, I did consider running some tubing up the wall behind the tile for a built in towel rack. If Ido, iI best note its placement so it does not become a fountain when I hang the towel rack. Anyone done this?

03-02-2007, 03:55 PM
We do this kind of thing all the time. You need to use a low voltage system, which means a transformer, but they work very well. The only downside is the transformers cost about $200, so they can get a bit expensive, for a relatively small area.

All you need to do is install the mats, like you would on the floor, except they're on the top of the mortar that makes up bench. We also do shower floors occasionaly with the same low voltage systems,


03-02-2007, 06:00 PM
Thanks, Wade. That's good to know. :tup2:

Chris the Rep
03-02-2007, 06:08 PM
I just have to ask, does anyone really spend so much time in the shower that they need to take a break and sit down, and does one really need a heated bench for it?

I grew up in a house with 7 people, 1 shower, and a 30 gallon water heater. Dad showered last, and woe be unto all if there was no hot water left when it was his turn.


03-02-2007, 06:11 PM
Runtel makes hydronic towel warmers some are plain some are pretty outragious very easy to integrate with a hydronic system just make sure to put them on a seperate loop so you can have warm towels in the summer unless of course you are running warm floors year round. Some act as radiaters with a heafty btuh so we install a honeywell thermostatic valve to reduce water flow during summer months.

03-02-2007, 06:13 PM
I would think that Kerdi would be a good addition to a heated shower design. A heated towel bar is a real indulgence, but mine is electric so the hydronic system can be put to rest in the summers! I don't mind the cool floors in the summer, but it sure is nice in the winter! If I'd had a little more time when scheduling the plumbing work, I'd have run pex behind and under the tub and in the walls around it - making the whole tub/shower area one warm surround.

Dave Taylor
03-03-2007, 09:53 AM
:lol2: Dad showered last, and woe be unto all if there was no hot water left when it was his turn.
Butt warmly yours:

03-03-2007, 10:59 AM
I installed stepwarmfloor conductive plastic heating mats on my shower floor, bench and part of the wall behind the bench with great results. I did this in a Kerdi shower: under the mud bed for the floor and under a layer of CBU for the bench. As long as you don't damage the power buss that runs down each side of the mat, you can puncture it with impunity, so thinsetting and screwing down CBU over it is easy.

In my shower in the winter the floor and bench areas were as cold as 45 degrees F before I heated them. Now everything's a toasty 90 degrees or so and the shower dries out really quickly as a bonus.

The stepwarmfloor mat is low voltage and safe for a shower. As was mentioned previously, you need to install a transformer (pretty big one) somewhere to step 120V down to 24V.

I've also read that there are low voltage varients of other heating mats out there, but I like the unique features of the conductive plastic.

03-03-2007, 12:45 PM
I ran hydronic tubing behind the tile walls and under the bench of my shower. It takes the chill off of the tile, especially the tile on the exterior wall. It runs on the same t-stat as the floor.

If I had it to do over again, I would put twice as much tubing per unit area. I only put one slightly-zig-zagged loop into each stud space. As it is, I need to run that loop at a temp of 180 to get the tile surface to 90. I worry about the tubing life at the higher temps (even though its rated for it).

- Rick

03-03-2007, 01:13 PM
I did hydronic under my shower floor and love it; I wish I'd done the tub deck and bench (same plane).

If you don't understand a shower bench then you need to go to Japan where they are IMHO the masters of the art of bathing.


03-03-2007, 01:17 PM
Great series of posts, folks. Thanks for all your input! :goodpost:

08-03-2007, 03:34 PM
Its a must.

Call us at 800-308-8057 for how to.

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