Enjoy Laticrete Radiant Heat Under Easiklip Hardwood Floors
In this article:
- Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips
- Strata Heat™ Wire
- NXT® Vapor Reduction Coating
- Strata Heat™ Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
- NXT® Level
- Step 1 – Install the Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips
- Step 2 – Insert the Strata Heat™ Wire
- Step 3 – Cover the Wires with NXT Leveling Compound
Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of bed and put your feet on a toasty heated wood floor? When it gets cold, radiant heat wood floors are a luxurious and relaxing way to heat your home. With radiant heat, you get a cozy warmth rising from the floor heating your room uniformly all day long.
There is no furnace noisily blasting hot air through dusty vents, drying your skin and causing uncomfortable allergies.
Laticrete designed a high quality unique, radiant floor heating system. It uses a Strata Heat™ Wire and the latest Wi-Fi enabled thermostat controls to disperse the heat evenly. There is no tubing, water or pumps as with the old systems.
There is no better floor to lay over it than an Easiklip hardwood floor. It’s a solid hardwood floating floor system that installs without screws, nails or glue. Instead, the boards clip together using a patented system.
Now DIYers or contractors can install solid hardwood floors over radiant heat combining beauty and comfort.
The first step in the project is to install the heating system.
Components of the Laticrete Radiant Heat System
Installing radiant heat under hardwood is a little different than tile. You’ll need five essential components to install this system:
1. Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips
Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips
The 12" (305 mm) Spacing Strips attach to the sub-floor using glue, nails or screws. They will hold the heating wire in place.
2. Strata Heat™ Wire
The heating wire will provide heat for the room:
- Allows for easier, multiple wire spacing combinations and there is no minimum length on a straight run.
- Heavy duty construction, the outer jacket provides exceptional performance, durability and produces virtually zero electromagnetic fields.
- Highly conductive copper wiring provides maximum heat transfer.
3. NXT® Vapor Reduction Coating
When installing a hardwood floor over concrete or below grade, it’s advisable to use a moisture barrier. This coating forms a moisture-proof barrier and can be applied over new concrete in as little as five days.
- It cures in as little as 12 hours.
- VOC Compliant – UL GREENGUARD Gold certified.
- Low odor and easy to use.
4. Strata Heat™ Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
This thermostat uses a simple smartphone app. Homeowners can optimize comfort, reduce utility costs and view energy use statistics from anywhere.
- Uses GPS location services to learn heating routines and applies the most efficient settings to reduce energy usage by up to 25%.
- Home automation hub/digital assistant compatible. Set the room temperature using voice control through your home automation system.
- It’s user-friendly to set-up and uses no complicated programming modes.
5. NXT® Level
NXT® Level is a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates. This product covers the Strata Heat™ Wire and produces a flat, smooth and hard surface for the installation of hardwood flooring.
To finish the installation, you’ll need the following:
- A multi-tester to check the resistance of the heater and floor sensor
- Electrical tape to secure the floor sensor
- Approved electrical connection, conduit, back boxes, and junction boxes
With these five components, you’re ready to install your radiant heat system.
3 Steps to Installing a Strata Heat™ System
Laticrete has plenty of installation guides in both video and PDFs. One thing you may notice is that they refer to tile as the flooring material. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to use with Easiklip solid hardwood floors. Radiant heat temperature is generally between 84°- 90°F (29°- 32°C), warm enough for your home but not too hot to damage your hardwood floor.
The difference between installing under a solid wood floor instead of tile is the use of a leveling compound. Laticrete recommends using NXT Level instead of a tile adhesive. Also, you will use a flat edge of the trowel to smooth it rather than a notched edge for installing tile.
The Electrical Connection
Be sure to use a licensed electrician and standards that meet your local codes. The basic setup is like this:
- Mount the thermostat about 5 ft (1.5 m) off the floor on the wall.
- The power runs through the thermostat to the heating wire via an approved conduit.
- Use a flush mounted junction box to attach the power to the cold tail and sensor.
- Place the sensor at least 12” (30 cm) from the edge of the wire.
Use only a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (“GFCI”) when wiring the system. For more info about GFCIs and installation, refer to page 9 of the installation manual.
Step 1 – Install the Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips
To end up with a quality floor, make sure the subfloor is smooth, level, clean and dry. If you need to put down a moisture barrier on concrete, use XT® Vapor Reduction Coating.
If you plan to install the radiant heat system over concrete or other heat sink type flooring, you’ll need to insulate it with the HYDRO BAN board. Install it as you would any underlayment. This insulating underlayment prevents too much heat from absorbing into the sub-floor.
With the water barrier and underlayment in place, secure the Strata Heat™ Spacing Strips using hot glue to attach them to the subfloor. Screws or nails should not be used as these will puncture the moisture barrier. The kit includes spacing strips to keep the wire runs at least 3” (7.6 cm) from the wall.
When the guides are down, it’s time to lay the wire.
For complete instructions, download the Strata Heat Wire Installation Guide.
Step 2 – Insert the Strata Heat™ Wire
There are a couple of points to know when installing this product.
- Ensure that there is a minimum 3" (7.6 cm) spacing between parallel Strata Heat™ Wires. Do not install near other heat sources, such as heating and hot water pipes, lighting fixtures or chimneys.
- DO NOT cross the wire over another run, over cold tails, or the floor sensor. It will cause overheating and damage the wire.
- A word of caution, you need to install the thermostat in the same room as Strata Heat™ Wire. If you decide to install it in the bathroom, place the thermostat at least 60” (153 cm) from the sink and shower.
Step 3 – Cover the Wires with NXT Leveling Compound
In the manual and videos, you’ll notice that they recommend using tile adhesive and working in small areas at a time and covering the thin set with tile.
In our case, we will install a floating hardwood floor. You’ll spread NXT® Level compound evenly over the entire surface. When it’s dry, you’ll install the hardwood floor.
Step 4 – Install Your New EasiKlip Solid Hardwood Floor
Easiklip’s patented design makes it a snap to install. The boards have a tongue and groove along each side. On one side there is an extra groove where the clip snaps in place to hold two boards together. It’s an easy two-step process.
- Attach the aluminum clip to the underside of the first board.
- Lay the board down and slip the tongue into the groove then press down to attach the clip to the other board.
That’s all you have to do to install an Easiklip solid hardwood floor.
Check out Easiklip’s installation guide here. You can also see the entire process on video. Keep in mind, the video shows an installation over an underlayment without the Strata Heat™ radiant heat system. Radiant heat wood floors add comfort and value to any home.
Are You Considering Radiant Heat?
There are many good reasons to choose radiant heat if you have the option.
It’s Completely Invisible
Since all the wiring is under the floor, there are no ducts to run, or holes to cut in on the floors or walls to make room for vents. The advantage of the Strata Heat™ System is that it is all electric. Older systems required water filled tubes and water pumps to circulate hot water.
Silent Operation Let’s You Work Or Sleep
Electric floor heat is silent. There are no jet plane noises from forced air. It eliminates the popping and groans from baseboard heaters or radiators as they expand and contract.
Easy to Add to Any Room or Addition
Laticrete’s electric Strata Heat™ System eliminates the tubing, water, pumps, and possibility of leaks. It is a simple matter to run one electrical wire to a new addition to have radiant heat.
Won’t Cause Allergies
Without forcing air through ducts, you eliminate the most significant cause of allergies and asthma attacks. It eliminates dusty vent covers and you won’t have dirty air filters to replace. People with allergies breathe much easier.
Lower Operating Cost
Radiant heat is more energy efficient, reducing heating costs by as much as 20% to 40% making an excellent return on investment.
With forced air systems, much of the hot air stays at head height or above, leaving the legs and feet uncomfortably cold. The top half of most rooms or buildings is where most of the heat loss occurs creating a less efficient, more expensive way to heat.
Feet Stay Warm
With radiant heat hardwood floors, it’s more consistent and comfortable because the heat gently rises from the floor, keeping your tootsies warm.
Even Heat Distribution Means Better Comfort
Radiant heat under wood floors works its way up in a natural way. Forced air systems heat air to about 120°F (49⁰ C) then blow it around the ceiling where it quickly loses its heat and sinks to the floor. You end up uncomfortable with chilly legs and feet while your head is warm. Once it’s turned off, you immediately notice a difference and feel cool right away.
“Radiant heating has some advantages. It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses.” – Department of Energy
Problems with Radiant Heat Flooring and How to Avoid Them
Most issues from radiant heat under wood floor stem from a water-based system. With Laticrete floor heat, it’s electrical, and there is no water involved.
Other possible problems include:
- Circuit breaker tripping because there is not enough power. If your home’s incoming power isn’t at least 200 amps, consider upgrading before installing radiant heat.
- Damage during installation – Cable or sensor is broken. Perform circuit testing during installation and while laying the hardwood floor. Ensure the system is working throughout the process. Don’t wait until you’re done to test it.
Should it be necessary, the Strata HeatTM Wire Installation guide has a troubleshooting section (p. 25) to be completed by a certified electrician.
Follow the instructions, including the do’s and don’ts section of the manual to avoid any problems.
Maximum Temperature for Floor Surface
The maximum temperature for radiant heat hardwood floors is about 145⁰ F (62.7⁰ C). However, sustained temperatures at that range will damage the wood, make the room like a sauna and burn tender feet.
You won’t have an issue with Strata Heat™ because it’s designed to heat the floor about 48°F (9°C) higher than the desired room temperature, usually no higher than 84°F (29°C). Touching the wood floor will feel like the same warmth as your hand or foot.
Minimum Temperature for Wood Floor
Research tells us that most people wearing regular footwear prefer the floor to be between 66˚F (19˚C) and below 84˚F (29˚C). The temperature range “with the least complaints” when occupying a space for 15 minutes or longer is 74˚F to 77˚F (23˚C to 25˚C).
Based on that research, you should set the thermostat no lower than 66˚F (19˚C) as the minimum temperature.
How Much Does Radiant Heat Under Hardwood Floors Cost?
Depending on labor costs in your area, plan on $10 to $14 per ft2 (.09 m2) to have it installed. To make a more accurate estimate, here are some approximate material costs:
- The Strata Heat Thermostat costs around $240
- One roll of Strata Heat Wire that covers 60 ft2 (5.6 m2) sells for $245
- A 50 lb (22.7 kg) bag of NXT® Level will cover approximately 2.8 ft2 (0.3 m2) at 2" (51 mm) Thick. A bag costs about $70
Can You Put Radiant Heat Under Hardwood Floors?
With the latest Laticrete floor heat technology, you can install Easiklip for beautiful heated hardwood floors. Wood takes longer to absorb the heat due to its higher R-value than stone or tile. However, it feels warmer under your feet and helps insulate the floor, moderating the room’s temperature.Easiklip’s selection of solid European White Oak solid floors makes the perfect choice to install a radiant heat hardwood floor system.
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- Bill Grover