Electric under floor heating comes in different forms: ribbon heating mats, carbon film heating strips, electric floor heating cables and mats.
Due to the versatility and ease of installation required by the DIY enthusiast, and the increasing use by the growing underfloor heating trade, Floor Heating has chosen to offer the more versatile (and lower cost) electric floor heating cables and mats to it's online customers.
Heating cables and mats are fully waterproof; sealed to an IP67 rating: making them suitable for installation in wet areas like bathrooms, wet rooms, swimming pool surrounds etc.
Heating cables consist of twin core resistance wire conductors, with an outer sheath of (usually) PTFE, followed by screening foil, an earth braid and finally a waterproof protective outer jacket of either PVC or Teflon. Electric current passing through the resistance wires heats up the cable to a given temperature - depending on the design output of the heating cable: typically 100, 150, 160 or 200 watts per metre squared (W/m2).
The floor temperature would operate at the heating cable design maximum were it not for a thermostat controlling it to a desired temperature - usually 27 - 28 °C. This is achieved with a floor probe sensor inserted into the floor during the installation phase (see diagram) and laid out in a position to sense a representative sample temperature of the heated floor. The thermostat controller can now monitor the floor temperature, cycling the current on and off within 1°C to maintain the floor temperature at the settings programmed into the thermostat earlier.
Electric heating cables have the advantage of allowing the installer to lay them out in any configuration, however, loose cables are required to be taped to the floor at preset intervals to secure them in position. This can be very time consuming and prone to mistakes should the spacing distance not be accurate; leaving the installer with the problem with either too much heating cable left over at the end, or running out of cable too early in the installation and not achieving the floor coverage desired. While heating cables are perfect for smaller areas (like bathrooms) they can be very difficult to work with when scaling up the installation to larger areas and a degree of experience is required to work with them to best advantage.
The ideal solution to this conundrum is to use electric underfloor heating mats: the heating cable is pre-spaced by the manufacturer to produce a known output per m2 and secured onto a fibreglass mat backing. Heating mats are the perfect solution for either the DIY enthusiast or experienced installer as they can be laid out very quickly (saving valuable time for both trade and DIY alike). Heating mats also have the added flexibility of allowing the mat backing to be cut to manoeuvre the roll around obstacles (like kitchen islands and fixed units). The cable can be easily detached from the mat backing and laid as a loose cable into those awkward areas like door recesses, fixed units etc - for more info on this topic click on the Floor Heating Installation Guide
So, whatever your underfloor heating requirement, electric heating cables and mats are the ideal answer: safe, easy to use, fast to install and low cost. To get a better idea of what is required for your installation and the costs involved for your project go to Floor Heating and visit their easy to use online shop.