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Unread 10-27-2021, 11:56 AM   #1
pprzerac
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Steps to lay a heated penny tile floor in basement bathroom?

Trying to figure out the best approach to laying a heated penny floor (1” tile) in my basement bathroom. The space is ~50sqft with a shower insert. The concrete floor is level. I need to raise the floor to better align with the hallway which is 1” subfloor (Dricor) with 3/16” LVP.

My plan is:
1. Lay down ½’ cement board, secured to the concrete floor with thinset. Seal the joints with thinset and fiberglass tape.
2. Run my heated floor wire over the cement board and secure it in place with the provided strapping and screws.
3. Seal the wall edges with sill sealer (foam gasket) and caulking. Build dams at the entryway.
4. Cover the entire surface with SLC until the heated floor wire is covered (~1/8”)
5. Lay my penny tile on top of this after a few days of drying

Is this a reasonable approach, any suggestions for a better approach?
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Unread 10-27-2021, 01:58 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Paul, welcome. What cement board do you plan to use? You might check to see if your cement board is recommended to be used over a concrete slab. I know Wedi can be used and there might be another one, but I'm not sure which. What's wrong with putting down your heat wire and using SLC over it without cement board? I would put down the wires and use deck mud (bonded to the slab) over it.
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Unread 10-27-2021, 02:30 PM   #3
jadnashua
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Ideally, to minimize the thermal load on a slab when trying to heat it, you'd like some isolation between the slab and the heating elements. Heat moves by both conduction and radiation, and cement is a fairly good conductor. The slab weighs a fair amount, so the heat response won't be very good, and if the slab isn't insulated below it, will suck a lot of energy out trying to heat the earth. If the ground is damp underneath, it will use lots more, so there's a good reason to provide some thermal break. If your tile were larger, DitraHeat would work, but your tile are too small (need to be minimum of 2" square).

You'd have to check with the manufacturer, but WediBoard is specified for application direct to a slab with thinset. I do NOT know if they allow heating cables to be installed directly over it. The foam core would add a thermal break and some insulation, which should speed up your response time, and save some money in the process. I've not seen any other cement board that allows it to be attached simply by thinset...on a wooden subfloor, the screws hold it down, the thinset is there primarily to ensure you have 100% coverage and thus, holds it up.

Note, if you happen to be in California, a year or two ago, they added a law making it illegal to use electric floor space heating...when used to warm the floor, it must also be on a timer to prevent it from being on for extended times. Unless properly engineered, you'd likely not get much warming done when installed on a slab.

The simplest install might be to use a larger tile and DitraHeat.
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Unread 10-28-2021, 07:13 AM   #4
pprzerac
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Thank you for the response. I've checked out the cement board instructions for USG DUROCK and Hardiebacker. My idea of laying the cement board is not possible with these products. Jadnashua suggested WediBoard, however that product is not available in Canada.

DitraHeat would have been a good solution but the wife is insistent on 1" penny tile.

I guess my only option is installing the heated floor cable on the concrete and bringing the surface up with SLC ~1". Hopefully this isn't to thick to prevent the tiles from getting heated. This will be on a programable switch with floor temp sensor.

Thanks again.
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Unread 10-28-2021, 03:15 PM   #5
jadnashua
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At the last class I took at Schluter, they were talking about the possibility of using Kerdiboard on the floor which would only go down with thinset, no fasteners, but I never heard anything about that. One of the techs had done that in his residence and it worked, at least for the timeframe since it was installed to when I heard about it, but there's been nothing official that I've read about it.

I am not sure how the foam in the board would handle the heating elements. There are a couple of other companies that make tileable, foam-core panels...you might try to see if you can get any of those, and talk to their tech support people.

A slab has a HUGE amount of thermal mass. Yours MIGHT have insulation and a moisture barrier underneath, that will help, but I've heard from people using hydronic in-floor heating systems on a slab that it can take 3-4 days to warm the slab up the first time they turn it on. The energy density per area with electrical heating is usually 1/3-1/4th that of a hydronic system, so might take even longer.

That's one advantage of the DitraHeat, it provides a thermal break to the substrate, and also puts the heating elements much closer to the under side of the tile. I know you have to please your SO, but she may not be pleased with the end result, and whomever ends up paying the electric bill, may not be very happy, either!

What do you use to heat your home? If it's a boiler, had you considered doing hydronic? Schluter has a neat product for that, too - Bekotec. You can use any sized tile over that you want. If I were to build a new house, that would be high on my possibilities list.
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Unread 10-29-2021, 03:01 PM   #6
Winndustries
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Wedi is available in Canada.
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