When Doug and Kathleen DeAngelis were planning their custom home in central Pennsylvania, they carefully clipped magazine articles and gathered ideas about what they might like.

The former New Englanders were no strangers to hydronics, so they quickly settled on a blend of hydronic and electric radiant heating.

“Together, we decided to break the home into nine separate heating zones,” said Vince Youndt, president, Vertex Mechanical Inc., Stevens, Pa. “The many system zones would give Douglas and Kathleen great control over how the heat's applied. For instance, they both like a warm kitchen, and a cool bedroom. Yet, guests might like warmer sleeping conditions. We could do it all with radiant.”

When the final blueprints were approved, the home featured 2,760 sq. ft. of finished space on the first floor heated by stapling Onix radiant tubing to the subfloor; 2,400 sq. ft. of basement space using 4,475 linear feet of PEX tubing, in-slab); and a bonus room, offering an additional 350 sq. ft. above the oversized, three-car garage heated by hydro-air.

While larger surfaces make hydronic radiant the best choice, electric radiant pairs up when the heat doesn't always have to be on.

As a result, Youndt also factored in two zones of electric heat under the tile in the master bath and laundry room/powder room areas “The electric radiant is great for warming the floors during the fall and spring seasons when you may not want to use the main radiant heat system,” Youndt added.

So they had 225 sq. ft. of HeatWeave electric radiant mat installed, a job that went in quickly and didn't slow or complicate the progress of the tile installation. In most cases, installers for electric radiant products attach a cement backer board over the subfloor. Mats with the heating element woven in are then stapled or taped to the backerboard and thinset mortar is applied prior to setting tile or stone on top.