Whether a basement is finished or not, it’s always a few degrees colder than the rest of the house. That’s because it’s underground, it doesn’t get much natural light, and it’s surrounded by a cement foundation. By adding supplemental heat, homeowners can create a warm, comfortable space that’s usable all year long.

Supplemental Heating Options

Basement Living Room Lifestyle Stock Photo

The best supplemental heating option for a basement is an electric floor-heating system. These invisible systems are ideal for remodeling projects — or for homeowners who are finishing their basements for the first time — because they can be easily installed on top of the concrete slab. A layer of real or synthetic cork underlayment should be adhered to the concrete slab in order to prevent the slab from absorbing any of the radiant floor heat. Then, an electric floor-heating system is installed on top of that, followed by the flooring material. There are a variety of product formats available, making installation as easy as you need it to be.

Floor-heating systems are also the perfect complement to forced-air systems because most basements only utilize ceiling vents for heating. This lack of floor vents causes uneven heating since the hot air is coming from the ceiling instead of the floor. If hot air rises, distributing heat from the ceiling is the least practical heating solution. That's why in-floor heating is ideal for supplemental heat — because it can create an even, comfortable temperature throughout the entire basement. 

Basement Heating Illustration

The other options are using a space heater or installing a hydronic floor-heating system. Space heaters are easy to use, but they generally aren’t powerful enough to warm up an entire basement. Plus, they can create a fire hazard if they’re left unsupervised or placed too close to flammable objects.

Hydronic floor-heating systems feature plastic tubing with hot water running through it to heat the room above. These systems are effective but expensive to install because they require a boiler and pumps to operate. They also raise the floor substantially more than an electric floor-heating system does because the tubing is thicker and has to be embedded in more thinset or self-leveling cement.

Electric Floor-Heating Options

Once you’ve decided on installing an electric floor-heating system, there are two types of systems to choose from, depending on the flooring type you plan to install.

  1. TempZone™
    Prodeso and Cerazorb installation Cross Section
    TempZone Cable is installed using a Prodeso Membrane for quick, easy installation.

    A TempZone™ floor-heating system can be installed under tile or stone. It is available in four different formats to suit the homeowner’s budget and the installer’s level of expertise. Flex Rolls feature the cable embedded in green mesh, which can be easily rolled out, cut and turned during installation. Easy Mats are precut rolls that are simply rolled out and installed in a small area. Custom Mats are also precut, but they are designed to fit an entire room, with all angles and spaces accounted for. Finally, TempZone™ Cable can be free-formed using complimentary fixing strips. Or, it can be installed using a Prodeso Installation Membrane, which makes installation easier and faster.
  2. Environ™
    Floor Heating Environ Flex CloseUp
    An Environ Flex Roll is installed under
    floating hardwood in a basement.

    An Environ™ floor-heating system can be installed under carpet (in the U.S. only), laminate or floating hardwood. It is available in Flex Rolls and Easy Mats, which feature a reinforced aluminum foil exterior that allows the system to gently heat more sensitive floor types.

To find out how much an electric floor-heating system would cost for your basement, you can get a free, instant quote at www.warmlyyours.com. Just enter the subfloor type, flooring type, desired system voltage and room dimensions, and you’ll instantly receive a quote that tells you which products are best suited for your project and how much they cost. You’ll also have the opportunity to request a custom installation plan — or SmartPlan — that will show you exactly how your system should be laid out and hooked up. WarmlyYours also has technical experts available 24/7 for your convenience. They can be reached at 1-800-875-5285.

By adding some supplemental radiant heat to your basement, you’ll end up with a comfortable extension of your home that never feels like an afterthought.