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Old 11-13-2011, 07:18 PM   #1
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Tile on Concrete Slab + Radiant Heat Question


I'm getting ready to install some 18x18 travertine tile in a living room that is about 275sq ft. I have laid tile many times in the past but I'm having a few concerns/questions with this instillation.

The tile slap is in a house that is roughly 60yrs old with no moisture, cracking, or level issues.

I will be installing SunTouch radiant heat pads under the tile.

My concern is if it is recommended to have a backerboard or ditra installed under the tile? From everything I've seen and learned in the past I don't need a separate layer if I'm going on concrete however since I am in the northeast (NJ) I want to make sure the cold won't cause an issue. Granted this is an indoor room I still want to cover all my bases.

What would your suggestions be if I'm tiling directly on concrete over the suntouch radiant heat pads?

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Old 11-13-2011, 07:46 PM   #2
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Tile on Concrete Slab + Radiant Heat Question


You don't need to install backerboards if it is a concrete.

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Old 11-14-2011, 08:18 PM   #3
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Tile on Concrete Slab + Radiant Heat Question


Backerboard, or any other cementous materials is used for stability. Since your base is already 60 yrs old and stable, you won't need the backer.

It might be easier though, to use a SLC over the element. Line voltage heating doesn't like tiles dropping on them ir trowel nicks. If you set it in a self leveling, you take away the risk.

Is the radiant being used for floor warming or primary heat? Given they only come with a 10 year warranty, you might want to think twice about line voltage (over low) if it's for primary heat.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:17 AM   #4
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I'm thinkin' Suntouch mats don't qualify for primary heating of a space. The mats are intended to only warm a cold floor to about 84 degrees and the space requires a supplemental source of heat. I know their ads say it will warm a room but I can promise you it will not warm the room beyond a small amount.

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Old 11-15-2011, 06:13 AM   #5
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Actually, heat added to a space is still heat added. Simply put, if the space is well insulated and a Heat Loss Calculation is performed to find out how much heat is required to heat the space, then you have a figure (in watts or btu's) to surpass.

IF (note the big letters), the mats are producing more watts than the space needs for primary heat, it can be a primary system. The problem is that line voltage mats (120 or 240v) stop functioning at some point after 10 years. Thus the 10 year warranty. I wouldn't install a primary heating system in my floor that was only going to last 10 years. What then!?

On the other hand, low voltage radiant systems come with a 25 year element warranty. It's not a "filament" that will, in time burn out. Low voltage uses resistance heat. It's 'simply' a copper stranded wire. If you don't over heat it, there's no reason for it to stop doing...what it's doing. Now you have a reliable primary heating system.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:40 AM   #6
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Tile on Concrete Slab + Radiant Heat Question


thanks for the responses....I didn't think I needed hardibacker but someone kept insisting on it....I've used it over plywood in the past but never a slab.

On to another question!

I will be using Ditra as well, now everything I've read says to install the radiant heating mat under the Ditra except when installing on a concrete slab, so I now have to install the mat on-top of the Ditra. HOWEVER the mat is not going to be consistent across the entire floor, the space is 13x21 and they are only running 3 suntouch mats the length of the floor (21') and at 30" it will leave me with spaces in-between.

Does anyone have a recommendation on how to eliminate waves in the tiles b/c of the difference in height between the area w/ the mat and the area without? Should I just use a larger notch in those areas?
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Does anyone have a recommendation on how to eliminate waves in the tiles b/c of the difference in height between the area w/ the mat and the area without?
This is ridiculous!

The least challenging and best performing means of installing heat mats is to get the system installed and then pour Self Leveling Compound over the mats. This will fill any lows, plane the surface, smooth the surface, create your necessary thermal-mass, provide a suitable substrate for your tile, all at the same time. Then if you insist on DITRA, install it over the SLC.

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Should I just use a larger notch in those areas?
No! That will make a helluva mess.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
warmsmeallup: "The problem is that line voltage mats (120 or 240v) stop functioning at some point after 10 years. Thus the 10 year warranty. I wouldn't install a primary heating system in my floor that was only going to last 10 years."
Show me where in the advertising of floor heat mats it says the systems only last ten years. Where do these companies publish that information? Point me to it I can't find it.

Where (other than in your propaganda) does it say this. Are you (warmsmeallup) here simply to discredit brands other than your own?

What a bunch of crap!!!
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
This is ridiculous!

The least challenging and best performing means of installing heat mats is to get the system installed and then pour Self Leveling Compound over the mats. This will fill any lows, plane the surface, smooth the surface, create your necessary thermal-mass, provide a suitable substrate for your tile, all at the same time. Then if you insist on DITRA, install it over the SLC.


No! That will make a helluva mess.
Trust me if I could do it my way the entire floor would be heating mats but the person I'm doing it for just wants the strips.

As for the SLC that was my initial concept but I'd only want to do that right on the slab not on top of the Ditra. I'd be skeptical about pouring SLC on Ditra...I feel as if that takes away the point of Ditra.

I sent SunTouch an e-mail asking why they recommend it be placed on top of Ditra when working on top of a slab and not under.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:06 AM   #10
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You really should take a pill for that!

We install BOTH line and low voltage. As I said clearly in the thread, we don't recommend line voltage FOR PRIMARY INSTALLATIONS because their warranty is for 10 years. Which would you rather have in your floor, a 10 year warranty or a 25 year warranty?

Common sense, not sales crap.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #11
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I should take a pill? Why don't you just share what you are smoking with the rest of us?

So because a warranty is offered for only ten years you are then automatically assuming that the products all fail after three thousand six hundred fifty-one days? What a crock! Floor heat isn't used every day, it isn't cranked up or down the same every day it is used. Different owners have different expectations and make use of the product differently over time. So...how does that floor heat system know when its ten years have expired so it knows it is time for it to fail. I have systems installed more than ten years ago and I'm not hearing any complaints from any of my customers.

Sounds to me like a basic "scare tactic" used to discredit the competitions products and promote yours. I don't think this DIY website is the place for that kind of cheesy sales tactic.

So... can you show me where it is written (other than in your propaganda) that these systems only have a life expectancy of ten years. Give some links. Point me to the publications that say this is the way it is. Your next comments should include these links for all of us to see.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:26 AM   #12
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How does the low voltage cable work? Low voltage means much higher amperage. I hope it doesnt go out in 10 years. 10 years is noy very long in the world of construction. I put line voltage floor heat in both my bathrooms. I hate finding out now that it has a limited life span

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