How to Heat a Patio Floor
LESLIE: Alright, well it’s cold outside and, clearly, people are getting cold feet from their floors like Jim in Maryland who wants to install a heater under a slate floor.
Where is this floor, Jim?
JIM: It’s right behind the house and it’s over a crawlspace. Underneath of it was insulated but it’s just – and it’s a slate porch; it gets very cold during the winter months.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. And slate, especially when there’s cement grouting around the slate, because it’s so hydroscopic, the grouting can totally tear apart and you’ll notice every summer you have so much maintenance work to do on it.
JIM: Yeah, we just noticed it around the doors, the entrance, and the exit of the room.
LESLIE: So what can he do on an exterior option there, Tom?
TOM: Well, there are heaters that can fit under exterior patios. I mean there are driveway systems, for example, that are designed to keep snow from building up on driveways; especially if you live …
LESLIE: That sounds very luxurious.
TOM: Well, it’s not luxurious. It could be a necessity if your driveway, for example, is on a hill.
LESLIE: So if you’re on a hill and you don’t want any sort of slippery, dangerous situations, that’s a good installation purpose and especially like Jim needs. He’s having a slippery, icy, and cold situation outside and probably because it’s so cold it’s just not helping the rest of your house stay warm.
TOM: Exactly. Now that could run hydronically or it could run off your electricity. So it could be water-based heating system that uses, say, an antifreeze that circulates underneath the driveway or underneath the patio or it could be electrical. But if it’s electrical, it’s going to cost you a pile of money. But I think that that’s probably an option for you. The other option, of course, is to simply rebuild the patio with the proper slope so it doesn’t build up in unpleasant spaces.
Both of those are going to be fairly expensive for you to do, though. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell you to fix this. Either has to be re-pitched or it has to have a heating system built into it. OK, Jim?
JIM: Got you. Alright, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.