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Is installing a heated floor in my bathroom hard?

Stock photo | Thinkstock/Stock photo | Thinkstock

The question

I have always wanted a heated floor in my bathroom, but I'm not sure what is involved in the installation. Is an elaborate rewiring job required or can an electrician tap into existing wiring? Are there restrictions on the kinds of flooring we can use? And how expensive is the job likely to be?

The answer

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A heated floor is very welcome on a chilly morning or evening. And as more people have begun installing them, the costs have come down. For a typical five-foot- by-eight-foot bathroom, the materials and installation cost approximately $1,300. An electrical pad is placed below the flooring and should be on a separate circuit. Have this installed by a certified electrician to avoid any DIY problems. You can use a timer to switch the heater on and off so that it runs only when you need it.

For the flooring, any tile or stone is suitable, but wood can be tricky because it expands and contracts with temperature changes, creating gaps where you could lose your valuables. The only way around this is to use pre-engineered boards, which keep movement at a minimum.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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