Water heated floors under the tile: step by step instructions for installation

These heating systems are not the easiest method of installation, they are far from acceptable everywhere, but still water heated floors under the tile are increasingly satisfied with the owners of private houses and cottages.

This is a convenient and aesthetic option for heating the home, which can be used as a primary or secondary heating method.

How it works

Water-heated floor is a narrow pipe, laid in the screed according to a specific scheme. The pipes are connected to the collector and the collector to the heating device, usually to the boiler. Along the contour let hot water, which heats the floor covering, and then - the air in the room.

The peculiarity of a water heated floor is that its installation usually requires “wet” construction work, i.e. potting screed. In addition, technical standards are not recommended to perform laying of such systems in high-rise buildings.But for owners of private houses this option can be very attractive.

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Ceramic coating on warm floors
Ceramic coating on warm floors
Collector knot of a heat-insulated floor
Collector knot of a heat-insulated floor
Heat-conducting elements of systems
Heat-conducting elements of systems
Rules for laying the floor system
Rules for laying the floor system
The main drawback of the water circuit
The main drawback of the water circuit
Screed on top of the water heating circuit
Screed on top of the water heating circuit
Polymer screed embedment
Polymer screed embedment
The main advantage of water heating
The main advantage of water heating

Despite the difficulties with installation, the cost of operating the water floor with the correct calculation and implementation will be noticeably less than for electrical counterparts. Water in such a system should not be heated too much, to about 30-40 degrees. At the same time the room warms up evenly, and heat losses are minimal.

How to make a project and calculation

As well as any construction work, installation of a water heat-insulated floor should be begun with the project. To do this, fit the usual notebook sheet in the box. It is recommended that the scale of each room in which such a system be stacked is maintained as precisely as possible. First, you should put the outlines of the room, mark on it a doorway, windows, external wall and other similar elements.

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Accounting for bending pipes for design
Accounting for bending pipes for design
The need for calculations for copper
The need for calculations for copper
Metal pipes in the device
Metal pipes in the device
Heat-insulated floor made of polyethylene
Heat-insulated floor made of polyethylene

If the room is large and a decompression joint is provided, they should also be reflected on the plan. Underfloor heating pipe should not coincide with such a line. If there is an intersection, the pipe section on this segment should be hidden under a piece of protective corrugated pipe. It is worn on top of the floor heating pipe.

Water floor heating scheme
In this diagram all the layers and elements of the underfloor heating floor are indicated in detail: damping tape, insulation, pipes, screed, floor covering

After that, the plan indicates the installation location of stationary pieces of furniture that fit snugly to the floor. In these places to lay the heating circuit does not make any sense. This can even create an unnecessary load on the heating circuit. The plan should be saved and used every time the furniture is repaired or rearranged in the room.

Now you should choose a convenient place to accommodate the collector cabinet. After that, you need to decide on the layout of the pipes, and draw it on the plan with some requirements:

  1. The length of one circuit, i.e.the pipe connected to the collector should not be more than 100-120 meters.
  2. The length of the individual circuits connected to a common collector should be approximately the same, the difference should not exceed 15 m.
  3. The distance between the contour pipes should be 150 mm, but for areas with a harsh winter climate, the step can be slightly reduced in order to increase the intensity of heating.
  4. Do not lay the pipe directly along the wall, you need to indent about 150-300 mm.
  5. The contour should consist of a solid pipe, tie, twist, soldering and any other connections are not allowed.

Calculating the number of pipes and drawing up a plan can be entrusted to a professional engineer who will take into account not only the features of the system, but also the characteristics of the heating equipment. A simpler way is to use a special program or an online calculator designed specifically for such purposes.

These programs use as a sample a certain reference variant of a water heated floor, and corrects it with the help of correction factors depending on specific parameters. You will need to enter information about the diameter and material of the pipes, the step of their installation, the characteristics of the floor covering, screed, etc.

Scheme for pipes of a water heated floor
This diagram presents three options for the layout of water floor heating pipes. If the hot stream and the "return" are laid in parallel (first and third option), the floor will warm up evenly

Layout of floor heating pipes is carried out according to two main schemes: “snake” or “snail”. Snail is preferred. In this case, the pipes through which hot water enters the system are laid in parallel with the pipes along which the cooled coolant flows. As a result, part of the heat from the hot areas is transferred to the cooled part of the circuit, which provides a more uniform heating of the room.

“Snake” is a sequential pipe laying scheme; it is more suitable for rooms with a small area. Sometimes both layouts are used: in large areas a “snail”, and in small areas, for example, in a short corridor, in the bathroom, a “snake” is used. It makes sense to clarify also the characteristics of the boiler from which the coolant will come.

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Complex of schemes in the layout of pipes for underfloor heating
Complex of schemes in the layout of pipes for underfloor heating
The optimal step between the elements
The optimal step between the elements
Maximum length of the contour of the floor system
Maximum length of the contour of the floor system
Marginal heating area
Marginal heating area
Layout rules in rooms with furniture
Layout rules in rooms with furniture
Heating system indent from walls
Heating system indent from walls
Pipe insulation while reducing pitch
Pipe insulation while reducing pitch
The device pear-shaped loops
The device pear-shaped loops

Warm floor should not be heated more than 30-40 degrees, something like this should be the heating temperature of the coolant. Some boiler models are designed for higher temperatures. You may need to adjust the operation of the equipment, or completely replace it.

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Water warm floor on a wooden base
Water warm floor on a wooden base
The specificity of the construction of wooden floors
The specificity of the construction of wooden floors
Devices for enhancing heat transfer
Devices for enhancing heat transfer
Design of warm floors in a wooden house
Design of warm floors in a wooden house

How to install the system

Typically, work on laying water floor heating performed in the following order:

  1. Dismantling the old flooring.
  2. Cleaning and leveling the base.
  3. Installation of damping tape.
  4. Laying insulation.
  5. Installation of the reflective film.
  6. Laying pipes in accordance with the previously drawn scheme.
  7. Pouring concrete screed.
  8. Laying flooring.

The basis for the installation of water floors under the tile is not difficult to prepare. It is necessary to remove all unnecessary layers, if we are talking about dismantling the old floor.After that, the surface must be leveled, for example, the grooves and cracks must be repaired with repair mortar. After that, remove dust and other contaminants: grease stains, paints, etc.

Of course, the results of the work will not be visible after installing the floor heating system, but still the preparation of the base should be leveled as best as possible. Irregularities and dirt can degrade the quality of subsequent installation. A special damper tape is laid along the walls. Some inexperienced craftsmen simply lean the material against the wall, hoping that subsequent pouring will reliably press it against the surface.

Errors when installing a water-heated floor
Shortcomings in the installation of a water heated floor: the film is cut off flush with the wall, and not tucked under the insulation, the damper tape just lies along the walls, it is not fixed

Such tactics do not justify themselves, voids are formed between the tape and the wall and the material is deformed. The tape should be attached to the wall with self-tapping screws so that it fits snugly and maintains the correct position. Extruded polystyrene foam is often used as a thermal insulation material.

It is a reliable material that comes in the form of plates with a convenient connection.If the base on which the plates are laid is flat, they will not sway after installation. From above stack reflective film. It is very convenient if it is equipped with a markup, which will facilitate the layout of pipes.

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Laying the coil on the lined substrate
Laying the coil on the lined substrate
Staples for fixing pipes to the subfloor
Staples for fixing pipes to the subfloor
Fastening pipes to the metal grid
Fastening pipes to the metal grid
Polymer backing with guide pins
Polymer backing with guide pins

You can use more modern versions of insulation, designed specifically for laying a warm floor. On the surface of such materials there are special recesses, which significantly facilitate the laying of pipes. The film for such a heater is not required.

Proper installation of water floor heating
An example of proper installation of the film and the damper tape under a water-heated floor: the film is securely tucked under the insulation, the tape fits tightly to the wall

Do not cut the film flush with the wall. The material is tucked under a layer of insulating material so that it is slightly stretched and does not move. On the film you need to lay the mounting grid, after which you can begin laying pipes. Metal-plastic pipes are most often used for underfloor heating as the most reliable and relatively inexpensive.

The pipes are laid on the grid in accordance with the previously drawn up project and fixed with ordinary plastic clamps in increments of about one meter. You should not fix the pipes on the grid too tightly. Under the influence of heat, they can expand slightly, and when cooled - shrink. You need to leave a little space for this process.

Laying of pipes of a water heat-insulated floor
This photo shows the correct laying of water floor heating pipes: the distance between them is precisely maintained, the structures are neatly bent at the right angle

When laying pipes you need to carefully observe the distance between them and the distance from the wall. If these distances “walk”, then further heating of the floor will be uneven. Overloads will soon lead to system breakdowns, and repairs will be quite expensive.

Careless laying of pipes of a water heat-insulated floor
This is an example of careless laying of water floor heating pipes: the curves are fuzzy, the distance between the pipes in some areas fluctuates noticeably

Now you need to install a collector and connect the contour of a warm floor to it. This device can be assembled by yourself, but it will be easier and cheaper to buy a ready-made model. The collector looks like a neat cabinet, inside there are controls for a floor heating system and connectors for connecting pipes.

Scheme collector water floor heating
This diagram shows the place of the collector and the water floor heating in the autonomous heating system of a private house or cottage.

Each circuit is connected to the collector twice: to the hole through which hot water will flow, and to the output connector, designed to return the cooled coolant to the boiler heat exchanger. The pipes are fixed with special clamping nuts, which are supplied with the manifold.

Of course, the collector should be connected to the heating boiler in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Before pouring, you should check the operation of the new floor heating system, i.e. to perform pressure testing. For this purpose, the boiler is turned on and hot water is fed into the system under pressure, which is 50% higher than the working rate. In this state, the system should be left for about two hours. At this time, it is necessary to inspect the pipes and identify shortcomings, for example:

  • places in which the pipe is clamped with a clamp;
  • the presence of leaks at the joints of the pipe with other elements of the system;
  • violation of the integrity of the heating circuit.

If deficiencies are found, they must be corrected, and then the system must be re-crimped. After that, you can start pouring screed.In the process with laid pipes should be handled very carefully, so as not to accidentally move them or damage.

Protection of water floor heating pipes
After the water floor pipes are fixed, they should be covered with some kind of protective material to prevent accidental damage.

To prepare the solution, you should use special dry building mixtures that are designed for installing underfloor heating. Such compositions are designed for a constant process of heating structures laid in the screed. On the CAS package is usually indicated the method of its preparation, which should be followed.

An important point - the shelf life of the finished composition. This time period should be considered when performing work. Before pouring, the pipes are filled with cold water to compensate for the pressure of the composition and to prevent deformation. The thickness of the screed above the pipes should be about three centimeters. Now you need to wait for the complete drying of the screed, and only then proceed to laying the flooring.

Screed water floor heating
For the preparation of the solution using a special CCC, designed for installation of a water heated floor.The screed layer above the pipes must be at least three centimeters.

How to lay floor tiles

The process of installing this flooring is not so complicated, but it requires attention and exact adherence to technology. Here, too, you need to start with the project, choose the design and layout of individual elements. This may be the usual horizontal method, and the diagonal version, and even whole pictures of the tiles. The more complex the design, the more elements will have to be cut.

It is not always possible to lay only whole tiles. It is necessary to plan the layout in such a way that the cut elements are not visible: in the far corner, under furniture, etc. To determine how many tiles you need for a particular room, you can use one of the online calculators. This is more convenient, although it is possible to perform calculations manually using the prepared plan.

For the floor should take a special tile with a rough surface. An important point is the class of material abrasion. The more people and the more often they visit the premises, the higher this indicator should be. During the purchase should take into account not only the design, but also the lot number.All tile packaging must be from the same batch.

Items with the same design from different batches may vary in shade. The difference is insignificant, but after laying it will become apparent. Even after the start of installation, you should keep the package with the batch number in case you need to purchase several items.

In addition to the tile, it is necessary to purchase a special adhesive for the tile, as well as a notched trowel for its application, plastic cruciform restraints, a primer and a composition for grouting. A common trowel, rubber trowel for troweling, rags, tape measure and building level, tile cutter, etc. may also be needed from the tools.

If the installation of a warm floor is done correctly, the base under the tile will be even and clean. It must be treated with a primer in accordance with the instructions and wait for drying. After that proceed directly to laying tiles. Begin either from the corner or from the center, i.e. from the most prominent sites.

First you need to make a markup on the base. To do this, in the center of the room parallel to the longest wall draw a straight line, and then, again in the center, draw a line perpendicular to the first. In the doorway to the floor nailed wooden block-limiter.

A small amount of tile glue is placed on the back side of a separate tile and spreads it over the surface with a notched trowel. Sometimes it is more convenient to apply the glue not to the tile, but to the base, about one square meter, so that the glue does not dry out.

Laying floor tiles
The floor tile is laid on the layer of glue, and the distance between the individual elements is fixed with the help of cross-shaped dividers.

Tile put into place and gently pressed to the base. The rest of the elements are laid in the same way. Between the tiles put special cross-shaped limiters. They help to maintain the same distance between the individual elements throughout the area.

Once the first row is laid out, you should carefully check how smooth the tile is with the help of the building level. This check is performed continuously to ensure that the entire floor is perfectly level. If there is a drain in the room, the tile is laid with a slight bias towards the drain.

Floor Tile Level
The quality of laying the floor tiles should be constantly checked using the building level to correct the position of the elements if necessary.

This moment is usually taken into account even when constructing the base under the tile. After all the tiles are laid, you need to wait at least 12 hours for the tile adhesive to dry.Now you can remove the dividers and start grouting. The composition can be in the same tone as the tile, and a contrasting color, it all depends on the design.

The grout is applied in small portions to the seam area and rubbed with a special rubber spatula, the movements should be cross-shaped, directed in different directions. The remains of the grout are immediately removed from the surface with a cloth, for example, from microfiber. When the grout hardens a little, you need to check how full the seam is. If the grout material is not enough, you should repeat the grout on this site.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Detailed instructions for installing underfloor heating are presented in the following video:

The process of laying ceramic floor tiles can be found here:

Water floor heating - reliable and convenient heating system, allowing to make the house comfortable and cozy. With proper installation, for many years he will flawlessly fulfill his purpose. Ceramic tile flooring can be considered the best choice for combination with a warm floor of this type.

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