Electric Garage Floor Heating Systems

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A garage is perhaps the most neglected place in the house regarding the heating system. It is indeed a great idea to install a heating system in the garage.

The garage is actually the last place while leaving the home and the first place when you enter the house. If the garage is not kept properly warm it will affect the entire home.

A floor heating system keeps the garage warm where you can comfortably carry out some repair work on the vehicle. This type of heating system is the most quick and efficient way of heating up the garage floor.

This system directly warms the people and objects lying on the floor. The operating cost of the floor heating system is also relatively on the lower side.

The floor heating system is installed underneath the concrete or under the subfloor. For the existing floors, a new subfloor is created after installing the electric heating system under it.

For the new buildings, it is better to plan this system in advance and install this system before pouring the concrete.

In the post below we will discuss the major types of electric floor heating systems, the advantages of this system, and installation techniques. We will also shed light on the calculations of the energy cost of the electric system.

What is the Electric Floor Heating System?

The floor heating systems are embedded inside the floor surface. This heating system warms the floor by radiating the heat from the embedded system.

It operates quietly and there is no emission of any dangerous gasses. The radiant heat quickly heats up the people and all the items stored on the garage floor without making noise or uncomfortable sounds.

The good thing is no warm air is thrown on the floor. This is especially helpful for people who have allergy problems. The radiant electric heating systems have no allergy problem whatsoever.

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The heat loss from the floor electric system is also very low as no ducting is involved. This ensures evenly distributed heating through the garage floor. This heating system is also more efficient and secure. No direct contact with the heating saves any potential hazards of electricity. The electric system uses different means to heat up the floor surface. The main types of electric heating systems are discussed below.

Types of Electric Floor Heating System

There are three main types of electric floor heating systems. These types are summarized below.

Loose Cable

The loose cable used for floor heating is the cheapest way to warm the floor surface. The loose cable heating system is effective but it has some hitches.

The installation process of loose cables takes longer. The cables have to be wound in a pattern and then fix it by applying glue or any other adhesive material.

The loose cable heating system is generally provided with the end caps to secure the cable firmly and avoid sliding of cables. To make this heating system more efficient and quick, the cables can be joined closer.

The cables are available in multiple lengths. To cover the larger floor, the electric cables can be spliced together. Properly secure the cables before lying under the floor to avoid shifting and floating. The loose cables can be installed in two ways.

Thin-set Technique is the most common and easy way to install the cable under the floor. The cable is wound on the tile backer board and then laid on the floor.

A self-adhesive mortar is poured on the floor. The second coat of mortar is applied to make the surface smooth and uniform. This technique of installation is best suited for the ceramic tile floor; it is not good for the vinyl floor surface.

Self-leveling technique is the second method of installing loose cables on the floor surface. The cable is directly installed on the self-leveling compound; no board is used for installing the loose cable.

The self-leveling compound is made of cement powder and it is mixed with the water to make a solution. Its setting time is very short. Within a short span of time, it becomes rock solid.

Once the solution is dried tile or vinyl flooring can be installed over this compound.

Mesh Mats

The electric cable is wounded in the plastic mesh mats. The mats of different sizes and power capacities are designed to meet the requirements of multiple users.

The mesh mats are installed under the floor and then the mat is covered with tiles, vinyl, or any other suitable covering material. The mesh mats can be conveniently used for zonal heating up of the garage floor.

The small sized mat can be easily installed in the corners or at the place mostly used for undertaking the repair and maintenance job. The mesh mats can also be buried under the thin-set adhesive material or self-leveling compound.

Solid Mats

The solid mats electric heating system is the easiest way to install under the floor. The electric cable is inserted inside the solid plastic, synthetic fabric, or metal foil. The solid mats are rolled over the floor to instantly complete the installation of the electric heating system. The solid mats can be installed on the floor in 3 different ways.


The solid mat carrying the electric cable is simply rolled over the floor surface. The thin-set mortar is poured over the mat. The adequate coating of mortar is applied over the surface to make it smooth and uniform. The solid mat can also be installed in the self-leveling compound.

Under the Floating Floor

This is the more convenient way of laying solid mats. The mats are rolled over the floor surface as per requirement. The mats are joined together by a suitable fastener. Then a floating floor of tiles, vinyl, or laminated wood is installed over the mats.

Under the Floor

The solid mats come in multiple sizes and dimensions. These mats are wound with electric cables of varying power and capacity. The mats are stapled together as per the area of the garage floor and then rolled over the entire length of the garage floor. Then a sub floor is installed over the solid mats. This is an efficient and quick way of heating the garage floor.

Advantages of Electric Heating System

The electric floor heating system has a number of benefits and advantages. The main advantages are outlined below.


Comfort atmosphere is the most important reason to install the electric floor heating system. The floor heating system instantly heats up the floor surface and you don’t have to shiver while walking over the floor surface. This system quickly changes the frigid atmosphere into a toasty environment.


The underground floor heating systems are the cleanest source of heating. This type of heating system doesn’t use forced air for warming up the floor. No dust or dirt is generated due to this heating mechanism. It not only makes the floor surface comfortable; it also keeps the space clean and tidy.


The space and floor heaters discharge unhealthy gasses which are not good for the respiratory system. Especially the gas heaters emit Co & Co2 which are the most hazardous gasses and can cause fatal diseases.

The conventional forced air heaters also cause dusting and make the space misfit for the people having dust allergy problems. The floor heating systems don’t radiate heating by forcing the air.

No dust or dangerous gasses are released by this type of heating source. The floor heating system is therefore the most healthy form of heating to warm the garage floor.


Safety is of paramount importance for a heating system. The traditional radiant heaters can burn the kids and even the adults. The body of the heater becomes red hot quickly and can cause injury to anyone who touches the body of the heater.

The sharp edges of the heater are also a potential safety hazard. The underground floor heating system is not directly exposed to the surface and is therefore not harmful to the occupants.

Quiet Operation

The traditional gas and electric heaters make so much noise that they are not friendly with the human ears. The heater noise can distract you while doing repairs on vehicles.

This noise can also make it difficult for you to understand the conversions in the garage. The forced air heaters also produce a lot of noise during the running.

The floor heating systems are laid under the surface and are not loud like the conventional heaters. No noise is created during the running of this heating system.


It is perceived that the floor heating systems cost too much. The reality is totally opposite. In fact, these systems are cheaper than traditional space heating systems.

This system is especially inexpensive for the floor where it is installed under the concrete before pouring the concrete. If it is installed by replacing the existing floor surface then it becomes a little costly.

The electric floor heating systems also don’t need any pumps and piping systems like the hydronic systems. This makes it low cost and affordable. The real estate cost of the houses having floor heating systems also increases.

Energy Saving

The operating cost of the floor heating system is also on the lower side. This system warms the people and objects by directly heating the floor surface through infrared heat.

The heat losses are very low. These heating systems are more efficient than central heating or conventional space heating system. The energy bills for the floor heating system are much lower than the other electric heating systems.


The floor heating systems are flexible in nature. It can be used for zonal heating of the floor surface. The electric system is embedded at a particular place to warm that area.

This is also useful for primary or secondary sources of heating. The good thing is this system can be used to supplement the existing heating system in the garage.

Easy to Control

Control is the key to any control system. The floor heating system quickly warms the garage floor surface and allows you to reduce the temperature setting. These systems are provided with a thermostat to control and regulate the heating mode.

Freedom of Interior Designing

As the floor heating system is embedded under the garage floor. This provides the interior designers the luxury to decorate and design the floor surface.

The furniture can be conveniently placed against the walls to make the floor beautiful and attractive.


The floor heating system is the most efficient heating technique to warm the garage floor. This system transfers the heat to the floor surface through a radiation mechanism.

The radiant heat quickly warms the people and objects over the floor surface. The heated objects and the floor occupants retain the heat for a longer period of time.

This system directly heats up the foot and makes it comfortable for the people doing repair and maintenance work on the surface.

The floor heating system has the ability to warm the space at a much lower temperature than the other source of heating. The operating cost of the floor heating system is also relatively lower than the conventional heating methods.

The best thing about the floor heating system is it equally distributes the heat throughout the garage floor. This also makes the system more efficient and cost effective.

The controlling of the floor heating system is also easier and more convenient. The floor quickly attains the set temperature and then allows you to lower the temperature setting.

Calculations of Energy Cost

The covered area and the energy cost of the garage floor can be easily calculated by following a few simple steps.

  • First of all measure the length and width of the garage floor. Then multiply the length with the width. For example, the length L is 10 feet while the width W is 10 feet then the Area of the floor= is L x W= 10×10= 100 Sq. feet
  • After measuring the area of the garage floor. Simply multiply the area with a factor of 0.9 to calculate the effective square feet of the garage floor. For example, the area of the floor is 100 square feet, then the 100×0.9= 90 Square feet
  • Generally, the electric floor heating system uses 12 watts per square foot. So now multiply the effective area with 12. For example, the effective area is 90 square feet, then multiply the 90×12 and that is 1080 watts.
  • Since the energy bill is calculated in kilowatt hours. So it is imperative to calculate the kilowatts. Divide the total watts by 1000. So 1080/100= 1.08 Kilowatt
  • Check out the local charges per unit kilowatt. Multiply the kilowatt with the unit price. The average unit price in the states is 13.31$. So 1.08×13.31= 14.4$. The price of running this electric system will be 14.4 dollars per hour.


The electric floor heating system can be installed in different techniques. The most common installation methods are summarized below.

Thin-set Technique

The electric cable is mounted in the plastic board. The board is laid over the floor surface. Then a thin-set mortar is poured over the cable board. The mortar will quickly settle over the board. It is better to apply a second coat of mortar to make the floor surface smooth and uniform. This type of installation is suitable for loose cable heating systems. This type of installation is compatible with vinyl flooring.

Self-leveling Method

The electric heating system can also be directly installed in the self-leveling compound (SLC). For this type of installation, no board is required. The SLC is usually made of cement based powder. The setting time of this compound is very low. The compound automatically settles over the cables and becomes solid quickly. This is another very easy method of installation of electric floor heating systems.

Under the floor

This type of installation is preplanned. When the floor is being constructed, install an electric floor heating system under the concrete, then pour the concrete over the electrical system. The mesh mats are installed in this way. The mesh mat is rolled over the surface before pouring the concrete. This method of installation is cheaper for the newly constructed structures.

Sub Floor method

Another method of installation of an electrical heating system is burying the system under the floating floor. The mesh or solid mats are rolled over the existing floor surface. The floating floor made of vinyl, tiles, or wood is laid over the mat. This is the best way to warm the floor surface without removing or reconstructing the concrete floor.

The Final Word

It is really tough to undertake repairing and maintenance of vehicles on a chilled garage floor. The electric floor heating system is the most convenient way to heat up the floor surface and make it comfortable for repairs. This type of heating system is the most efficient and low-cost heating system for the garage. The operating cost of this system is also lower.

We have discussed above in detail the different types of floor heating systems and their advantages. The efficiency of these systems has also been highlighted at length. The floor heating systems ate the most efficient and quick way of heating the garage floor. The installation techniques have also been brought under discussion. Finally, we have deliberated on the calculations of the energy bills.

The floor heating systems use much lower energy as the electrical losses of these systems are negligible. The operation of these heating systems is also safe and secure.

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Hamid Sultan
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