How much does it cost to install radiant floor heating?

National Average Range:
$2,000 - $6,000

Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors near you

Get local cost

Radiant Floor Heating Cost Guide

Updated: September 16, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

There are many ways to heat a home, but most of these methods are inefficient, cost a lot of money to run, and provide inconsistent temperatures. Radiant heating solves these issues. It does not heat the air in your home. Instead, it heats you and your furnishings directly so that you feel warmer and more comfortable. Because the air is not being heated, you often need less energy to feel warm. There are a few different ways to create radiant heating, including hydronic, electric, and air. Each has its own cost, installation method, and fuel source.

The national average range to install radiant floor heating in the home is between $2,000 and $6,000, with most homeowners paying around $4,000 for hydronic heating in a 500 sq.ft. home with a new boiler. This project’s low cost is $500 to install heating in a 50 sq.ft room with an existing boiler. The high cost is $10,000 to install hydronic heating in a 1,000 sq.ft. house with extra insulation, a new boiler, and a smart thermostat.

Radiant Floor Heating Installation Prices

Radiant Floor Heating Costs
National average cost$4,000
Average range$2,000-$6,000

How Do Heated Floors Work?

Radiant floor heating is an energy-efficient method of heating the floors of a home, garage, or other space using solar power, electricity, or water. It is a hidden heating system that makes little noise and creates a blanket of heat wherever you need it. This offers an aesthetic that appeals to many home homeowners with a reduced energy cost and increased comfort. While there are several floor heating systems, they essentially work the same. Rather than heating the air directly next to a radiator or blowing hot air into a room, radiant heat uses convection to heat the people and objects in the room directly. Some of this heat also rises from the floor into the air. But because the system is installed across the entire floor, the air rises evenly. This means you do not have hot or cold spots, leading to consistent heat.

While a furnace or boiler might have to produce heat at 120º for you to feel comfortable in a room, radiant heating can operate at around 85º. Because it warms you directly, you feel more comfortable using a lower temperature.

The systems work by running tubing or wires beneath the floor. Hot water or air is forced through the tubes, while the wires are warmed by electricity. The heat from these tubes or wires passes through the floor, heating the room.

Get free estimates from radiant floor heating installation companies

Heated Floor Cost per Square Foot

Radiant floor heating has different costs per square foot, depending on the system type. Because there are many ways to lay the tubing and wires, such as grid systems and mats, there is a wide range of costs for the various systems. The total range of costs for radiating floor heating installed is between $6 and $25 per sq.ft.

Below is the total average cost range for various floor sizes. These costs do not include the boiler or other methods to heat the air or water that circulates through the systems. Electric mats require no additional equipment. The range of sizes is based on heated floors used in small spaces like bathrooms that might be 50 sq.ft., intermediate options, such as 500 sq.ft. to cover a room or two, and larger spaces like entire homes that can be 2,500 sq.ft.

Cost to install 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 2,500 sq.ft. of radiant floor heating (mobile)

Floor SizeCost (Installed)
50 sq.ft.$300 - $1,250
100 sq.ft$600 - $2,500
200 sq.ft.$1,200 - $5,000
500 sq.ft$3,000 - $12,500
1,000 sq.ft.$6,000 - $25,000
2,000 sq.ft.$12,000 - $50,000
2,500 sq.ft.$15,000 - $62,500

Cost of Radiant Floor Heating by Type

While hydronic floors are the most popular and cost-effective, they are not the only radiant heating available. There are three types of radiant floor heating - hydronic, electric, and solar, also called air-heated. The way each system works varies and has its efficiency level. Hydronic floors are popular because they can use several fuel types. Prices also vary, with hydronic being the least expensive at $6 to $20 per sq.ft., electric in the middle at $8 to $15 per sq.ft., and solar being the most expensive at $18 to $25 per sq.ft.

Cost per sq.ft. to install hydronic, electric, and solar radiant floor heating (mobile)

TypeCosts per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Hydronic$6 - $20
Electric$8 - $15
Solar$18 - $25

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Hydronic heating uses a boiler to heat the water for a hydronic floor heating cost of $6 to $20 per sq.ft. installed. Once the boiler heats the water, it circulates under the flooring through flexible tubes. The hot water is circulated constantly so that the floors remain at an even temperature. It is the least expensive hydronic system to install and run. It can be done in wet, concrete-based, or dry sandwiched-between-plywood installations. Hydronic radiant floor heating provides more consistent heat than radiators and other hydronic systems, so the boiler can be set to a lower temperature.

Cost per sq.ft. to install propane and geothermal hydronic radiant floor heating (mobile)

Type of Hydronic HeatingCost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Propane$6 - $17
Geothermal$7 - $20


Some hydronic heaters use propane to heat the floors at a cost of $6 to $17 per sq.ft. A propane boiler is used for hydronic heating. It heats the water and uses tubing under the floor to move the hot water around to heat the floor. This system is often very efficient and provides heat for a room or an entire home. High-efficiency boilers can lower costs and add home value at the same time.


The other method of hydronic heating is geothermal, costing $7 to $20 per sq.ft. Instead of propane, this system uses earth’s thermal energy, so there is no need for a boiler or water heater. A heat pump pumps antifreeze and hot water through the pipes under the floor.

Electric Floor Heating

Electric radiant floor heating costs between $8 and $15 per sq.ft. and is done with mats containing embedded cables or loose cables strung through a grid to hold them. These mats and wire installation systems are expensive and more costly to run because they are powered by electricity. Therefore, while you can use them in a whole-house install, they are most commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens, and other small areas. Mats are more expensive than wires but slightly easier to install.

Solar Radiant Floor Heating

Solar-powered underfloor heating, also known as air-heated radiant flooring, costs are similar to hydronic heating, starting at $18 to $25 per sq.ft. However, you have additional costs for the solar panels, which can double the total. Radiant air heating uses solar energy. Solar power heats air, which is pumped through the floors during the daytime. This is very cost-effective because it does not require a fuel source. However, because it only operates during the day, you need another heating method for nights or to install very thick concrete floors that hold heat for longer after the sun goes down.

Heated Floors Cost by Type of Flooring Material

You can use most floor coverings over radiant heat. However, the key is understanding that some flooring materials cause heat or energy loss. You can install more tubing at a higher cost or raise your boiler’s temperature to compensate. So, while you can install thin carpeting over radiant heat, it costs more for the system and everyday use. The flooring type also determines how high a temperature can be used for radiant floor heating. Going above this number can damage the floor or heating system.

The most recommended flooring allows for unimpeded heat transfer to the user and room. Tile is frequently suggested for this reason. However, vinyl, laminates, and hardwoods can also be used, provided steps are taken to prevent drying the floor. This includes acclimating the boards to the relative humidity, using engineered rather than solid wood floors, and ensuring the pipes are completely enclosed in concrete at least 2” thick. Other options include carpet, cork, concrete, stone, and marble. The table below outlines the costs based on the floor type.

Cost per sq.ft. to install radiant floor heating by floor material: bamboo, vinyl, carpet, cork, concrete, hardwood… (mobile)

MaterialCosts per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Bamboo$10 - $25
Vinyl$10 - $27
Carpet$10 - $33
Cork$11 - $22.50
Concrete$12 - $18
Hardwood$15 - $30
Tile$15 - $40
Laminate$16 - $27
Stone$16 - $62
Marble$25 - $90

Bamboo Flooring Over Radiant Heat

Heated bamboo flooring averages $10 to $25 per sq.ft. installed. It is great for radiant heat but needs time to set, so it does not contract or expand. The flooring should be placed with the heat system at 75º to 80º. A barrier of plywood is recommended between the heating system and bamboo as insulation. Leaving it at one temperature is often recommended because it stays most consistent when the temperature changes no more than a few degrees per hour. It should never go above 85º Fahrenheit to avoid floor damage.

Heated Vinyl Floor

Heated vinyl flooring costs between $10 and $27 per sq.ft. fully installed. Adding heat is appropriate for this material, but the heat should not exceed 80º Fahrenheit. A thermostat should be in place to ensure it does not go above that temperature. Wet underfloor and electric underfloor heating installation are ideal for this floor type. Electric heating typically offers the best efficiency.

Heated Carpet

Heated carpet costs between $10 and $33 per sq.ft. installed. You can use radiant floor heating with carpeting, but you may not get the same results, depending on the carpet. Carpet is insulating, and it also has an insulating pad beneath. These prevent some of the warmth from the floor from reaching the room above. Thinner carpets like Berber transfer heat better than thicker carpets like shag. The temperature should not be over 85º when heating carpet.

Cork Flooring Over Radiant Heat

Cork flooring installation costs $11 to $22.50 per sq.ft. This material can be used with radiant heating, but it can dry out faster than other flooring. Heated cork flooring should be installed in an area with a humidifier. The floor surface should not exceed 85º Fahrenheit.

Heated Concrete Floor

The total cost of a heated concrete floor is between $12 to $18 per sq.ft. installed. Concrete floors are popular in lofts and other contemporary homes. They can be polished to a high shine, stained in various colors, or left natural. They are also great for radiant heat. Because the tubing can be laid directly in the concrete, your floor will likely feel even warmer at lower temperatures, allowing you to save more energy. The maximum temperature for concrete is 80º to avoid damage.

Heated Hardwood Floors

Heated hardwood floors cost between $15 and $30 per sq.ft. installed. Hardwood floors are one of the most popular flooring materials. They come in numerous wood species with varying grain patterns and colors. The heat should not be run at higher than 80º Fahrenheit for hardwood floors. This material needs to acclimate and get used to higher temperatures, so it is recommended to start low and slowly raise the temperature. This can prevent unnecessary floor damage.

Heated Tile Floor

Heated tile floor cost per square foot is between $15 and $40 installed. Even though tile floors are always technically at room temperature, their smooth, hard surface makes them feel cold. Many people put radiant floor heating beneath their tiles. This is particularly true of areas like bathrooms, where people are more likely to be barefoot. More fragile materials have higher labor costs due to the care needed to prevent breakage and other issues, making heated tiles cost higher. This heated flooring should not be used at temperatures above 80º.

Heated Laminate Flooring

The cost of heated laminated flooring ranges from $16 to $27 per sq.ft. installed. Laminate flooring is often installed as a low-cost alternative to wood flooring. It works well with heating if it is fairly thin so that the heat can pass efficiently. The maximum temperature to use with this flooring is 80º.

Heated Stone Floor

Installing heated stone floors costs $16 to $62 per sq.ft. Stone is one of the best materials to use with radiant underfloor heating. It has excellent heat retention and high heat conductivity, making it heat quickly and stay warmer than many other materials. This is useful for warming an entire room, even a large one like a basement. Floors made of stone should not be heated beyond 85º Fahrenheit.

Heated Marble Floor

Marble floors cost $25 to $90 per sq.ft. installed. Marble has an elegant appearance that enhances any room. It is also known for being cold to the touch at room temperature. Many people who install marble flooring also install radiant floor heating to make the marble more comfortable. Marble floors are durable and can heat up to 84º Fahrenheit. Their high thermal conductivity makes them ideal for radiant heating options.

Find the best radiant floor heating installers near me

Average Cost of Radiant Floor Heating by Location

Radiant floor installation costs depend on where the flooring is installed. You can pay between $900 and $30,000, depending on your chosen location. The location of your floor may also dictate the flooring type because certain flooring is more common in some rooms than others.

Adding radiant floor heating to the hallway is a common choice as it allows homeowners and guests to enter a home and immediately step onto a warm floor. It’s most commonly installed on hardwood floors, tiles, laminates, and stone work. Radiant heating on a bathroom floor is a popular option because it allows you to step out of the shower or tub onto a warm surface and keep the room warmer. The floor it’s installed on is most commonly tile, vinyl or laminate. The living room is also a very common place to install a heated floor. It’s where people spend most of their time, so it adds comfort to the room.

The most common material radiant heating is installed on the living room are hardwood floors and carpets. Heating a bedroom floor is not recommended when carpet is on the floor because it’s less efficient. However, bedrooms with hardwood floors, tile, vinyl, laminate, and stone work well with radiant heating options. Homeowners also opt to install radiant heating in their kitchen, typically vinyl, tile, or hardwood, as they can be cold for the frequent traffic they get. If you spend time in your garage, you can also add heating to the concrete floor without needing to run ducts or install a radiator that occupies space. The most common flooring here includes concrete, epoxy, and rubber tile. Concrete is most often used for radiant heat basement floor installation, but carpet, laminate, and tile. Homeowners may only install radiant heat on a portion, especially if it is a partially finished basement. Heating the basement floor adds to the comfort and efficiency of the area but also improves the overall heating of the house. Below are the average costs to install your radiant heat flooring, depending on the location.

Cost to install radiant floor heating in a hallway, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room, garage, and basement (mobile)

Floor LocationCost (Installed)
Hallway (40 - 80 sq.ft.)$900 - $2,000
Bathroom (90 - 100 sq.ft.)$2,000 - $6,500
Bedroom (100 - 200 sq.ft.)$2,500 - $7,500
Kitchen (100 - 200 sq.ft.)$2,500 - $7,500
Living Room (215 - 340 sq.ft.)$7,600 - 12,000
Garage (250 - 600 sq.ft.)$8,000 - $20,000
Basement (800 - 1,000 sq.ft.)$10,000 - $30,000

Cost to Install Radiant Floor Heating

There are two main methods to install radiant floor heating. Both are typically done by HVAC professionals and plumbers due to the complexity. The first is a wet installation involving a concrete slab that holds the tubing and other materials for the radiant floor heating. Sand or dirt is placed before insulation, then necessary reinforcement, and the tubing. Concrete is poured over time, so the tubing is set into it. After the concrete dries, flooring can be put over the top. Depending on the location, an inspection may need to be done before the heating system is installed.

The other method is a dry installation, which uses plywood. Plywood is placed before the wires and tubing, and a second layer of plywood is put in. This insulates the floor and is a common choice because it is less labor-intensive than concrete. Mortar can be used with the wires embedded for small areas. It is spread before the wires are set, and then a second layer of mortar is placed on top.

The bulk of the radiant flooring cost is labor. Installation of radiant floor heating is priced by the square foot. Material fees only account for $2 to $3 per sq.ft. of the installation. Labor costs an additional $10 to $15 per sq.ft., making the radiant floor heating in concrete slab cost for labor in a 2,000 sq.ft. installation $24,000 to $36,000.

Extra Considerations for Installing Radiant Heat Flooring

One thing to consider when choosing radiant heat flooring is if your current boiler or water heater is appropriate or must be upgraded. Tank-style and wall-mounted boilers without tanks can be used and come in propane and natural gas styles. It is essential to ensure the boiler or heater can provide enough heat for the space. The only exception is if you are using solar panels for radiant heating. To size your needs, multiply the heat loss per square foot by the area in square feet. Poorly insulated homes lose more heat per square foot per degree, while better-insulated areas lose less. Once you have the calculation, choose a boiler or heater with that output. The better insulated the home, the less heat is lost. Adding new insulation costs $3,000 to $7,000 for a home.

Tubing is another important part when working with solar or hydronic radiant heating. Electric radiant heating does not require these. The tubes move the fluid through the floor to make them warm and comfortable. PERT PEX tubing is the best option and comes in various sizes. The most commonly used tubes are sized at ⅜”, ½”, ⅝”, and ¾”. The size determines how quickly heat flows through. ⅜” or ½” is usually sufficient for homes.

A smart or programmable thermostat is also useful for maximum efficiency. These average $200 to $500. The programmable thermostat can be set based on your routine, so you save energy when you are not at home. Smart thermostats can be programmed the same way but have technology to learn about your habits and make efficiency tweaks. This also lets you control the thermostat using a phone or tablet, so there is no need to be at home.

Cost to Replace a Radiant Heating System

Replacing a radiant heating system costs $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the space size and system type. For example, if you only have to replace a quarter of the system for a 2,000 sq.ft. home, you may only have to pay $5,000 to $12,000. The most common replacement is the boiler or pump because it wears out quicker than your flooring. But, in some cases, the radiant flooring pipes in an area may become damaged and need to be replaced. Replacing a radiant heating system involves removing the old pipes, pumps and heating mechanism and installing a new one. You save on the preparation and layout because a system was already there. However, the cost is more than installing a new system because the former system must be removed. Removing your old system costs $2,000 to $5,000 of the replacement cost. Radiant systems are rarely replaced unless the entire system is unrepairable or you want to switch to a different system and the pipes in the flooring are old and should be replaced.

Compare quotes to get the best price on radiant floor heating

Radiant Heat Cost per Month

The cost to run radiant floor heating depends on several factors, including the system type and fuel. For example, you need a boiler if you have a hydronic system. This can be electric, gas, propane, oil, or wood, and each has a different cost to heat the water.

If you use electricity, the cost to run your floor depends on the cost of electricity in your area. In general, radiant heat costs 10% to 30% less than traditional heating systems. The costs below are based on using the floor heating for 4 hours a day in a 2,000 sq.ft. home.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Cost to Operate

Many factors determine the cost of operating hydronic radiant floor heating, but it typically costs $87 to $220 a month. The biggest factors are your boiler, energy type, and system size. A propane boiler, the most commonly used for this system, costs $1.028 an hour to run, assuming a 100,000 BTU boiler. You may need a larger or smaller boiler, depending on where you live and the home size. Geothermal heat costs $0.01 to $0.03, making it much more cost-efficient.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Cost to Operate

The cost to operate electric radiant floor heating depends on several things, but the average per month is $90 to $250. The first is the installation size, the second is how much electricity the installation uses, and the third is the cost of electricity in your area. Most use roughly 12 watts per square foot per hour to run. The average cost of electricity is currently $14.47 per kilowatt-hour in the U.S.

Operate Solar Radiant Floors

The average cost to operate solar radiant floors ranges from $0 to $150 per month. The low-end price is based on using energy collected at home without needing other services. This assumes the home collects enough solar energy to cover the costs. The cost depends on if large amounts of sunlight are available, how large the space is, and if other methods of heating are needed. Solar heaters work well with radiant floors because solar energy can be stored and used day and night to ensure comfort.

Electric radiant floor heating

Floor Heating Energy Consumption

Numerous factors go into whether radiant floor heating will save money on energy bills. The first is your boiler. Your boiler is what heats the water, and it requires energy to do so. Like furnaces, boilers have multiple degrees of efficiency, with more efficient boilers costing more. They can be powered by gas, oil, propane, or electricity, so exact costs vary.

Next, consider whether you have a concrete subfloor for the radiant heating or a dry layer of plywood. Concrete provides better performance so that you can maximize energy usage. Finally, how well-insulated the room is and what you set your temperature to also impact your savings.

According to the Radiant Professionals Allowance, most homeowners see an energy savings of between 10 to 30% a year on average.

Pros and Cons

Like any home project, installing radiant floor heating has positive and negative attributes. In-floor heating is effective at heating a house. It does so in three ways. First, directly heating the people and objects that come in contact with the floor is known as convection. This makes you feel warmer even if the air is cool. The floor may also “radiate” heat, meaning it warms items and objects inches to feet directly above it. It also heats the air that touches the floor, which rises, heating the room. You can set the thermostat lower and use less energy to stay warm. There are no drafts or energy loss, so you are more comfortable. Because it remains on consistently, no hot and cool feeling occurs when the forced hot air turns on and off.

There are also disadvantages to radiant floor heating. For example, radiant heating can be expensive to install. It requires a boiler and tubing that is ideally laid in concrete. While dry installations are available, sandwiching the coils between two layers of plywood, they tend to be less efficient at holding heat. Unless this is a new build, installing radiant heating requires invasive construction throughout the flooring. Radiant floors also raise the height of your floor because they consist of a layer of compacted sand, followed by insulation, and then the tubing and concrete. This adds up to 3” to 4” to the height of your finished floor.

Radiant Ceiling Heat Cost

Radiant ceiling panels are one of the newest forms of radiant heating and cost $200 to $500 fully installed. This price assumes a product of about 2’ x 4’ x 1”. The radiant ceiling heat cost per month is around 30% lower than other heating methods, improving your energy efficiency while maximizing comfort. They are fast and easy to install. They are also less invasive than installing radiant heating because you do not need to remove the current ceiling. The system uses panels that attach to the ceiling, with each panel ranging from 2’ to 4’ in length and roughly 2’ in width. They heat from above, with the heat reaching you directly through convection.

Electrical Requirements for In-Floor Heating

When installing a radiant floor heating system in a current room, you will need to make sure you have the proper amperage to control the system, or you could end up with significant electrical problems throughout your home. The system needs its own dedicated 15- to 20-amp power system equipped with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter device to provide the right amount of power and ensure safety.

Your professional will check to ensure you meet all of the electrical requirements and may recommend an upgrade. If you need an electrician to install a new 15 to 20 amp circuit, you can expect to pay between $85 and $200.


When it comes to maintaining your radiant heat flooring, you will mostly focus on the boiler and pumps associated with it. If you have a newer pump, you will likely need no maintenance, but older ones may require lubrication of the bearings every couple of years. Boilers require maintenance that will often be performed at your annual boiler inspection. This includes cleaning the boiler, lubricating the bearings, cleaning the fire tubes, performing burner maintenance, and inspecting all electrical.

As for homeowners, one of the benefits of radiant heating is there is almost no maintenance on their part. All the homeowner has to do is schedule regular maintenance. Choose an HVAC company that specializes in radiant heating to handle the process. This should be done yearly and may be combined with services of your boilers or other equipment. The best season is usually in early fall before temperatures drop to ensure everything works well. The technician checks the system pressure, the condition of valves and pumps, and cleans anything that needs it. Prices for maintenance vary but often fall between $100 and $300 per visit.

Talk to local pros to get quotes for your radiant floor heating installation

Radiant Heat vs Baseboard Cost

Another type of heating typically used in homes that do not have ducts is electric baseboard heating. This method uses small, electric radiators that line the baseboards of the walls. Like radiant heating, they “radiate” heat so that you feel warm near them. However, they tend to be very inefficient and expensive to run. They are inexpensive to install and less invasive, meaning you do not need to tear up existing flooring. They also do not raise the height of your finished floor after installation.

However, radiant heat is energy efficient, creates even heat distribution, and lasts decades after installation. It keeps rooms warm for longer, can be zoned by room, and does not spread allergens. Prices also vary between the choice of baseboard heating and in-floor radiant heating. Baseboard heating costs $400 to $650. In-floor radiant heating costs $2,000 to $6,000.

Comparison of the cost to install a baseboard heating and in-floor radiant heating (mobile)

Type of SystemCost (Installed)
Baseboard Heating$400 - $650
In-Floor Radiant Heating$2,000 - $6,000

Radiant Floor Heating vs Radiator Cost

Some homeowners question if a radiator or in-floor radiant heat is right. Both are useful, depending on the home’s needs. Radiant floor heating is energy efficient and costs less in heating with even heat distribution. It can be zoned by room or area, and an electric system can be used as an add-on. However, these tend to cost more to install, repairs can be more expensive, and heating up takes longer.

Radiators are less expensive to install and quickly heat. They work with existing water heaters and boilers and heat areas people are in. However, they create cold and hot spots, require maintenance, and have a shorter lifespan. The average installation of a radiator costs $1,000 to $3,500, including the radiator. Placing in-floor radiant heating typically costs $2,000 to $6,000 across a home.

Comparison of the cost to install a radiator and in-floor radiant heating (mobile)

Type of SystemCost (Installed)
Radiator$1,000 - $3,500
In-Floor Radiant Heating$2,000 - $6,000

Cost of Radiant Heating vs Furnace

Radiant heating and furnaces heat rooms in different ways. Radiant heat uses convection to warm you directly, while a furnace warms hot air that circulates through the house. Radiant heat can add extra heat to cooler rooms and avoids moving allergens. It has a quiet operation, is energy-efficient, and works well for remodeling projects. However, it can be expensive to heat an entire home. Furnaces can quickly heat and offer better air circulation. The issue is energy is often lost through leaks, ductworks, and poor airflow. Ductwork can also contain allergens that move through the air.

The cost to install a furnace and ducts is $2,000 to $11,000 for the furnace and $1,900 to $6,000 for the ducts, for a total cost range of $3,900 to $17,000 for a home. This is compared to the cost of radiant heating, which averages $2,000 to $6,000 for a home, not including the cost of the flooring that is installed on top.

Comparison of the cost to install in-floor radiant heating and furnace (mobile)

Type of SystemCost (Installed)
In-Floor Radiant Heating$2,000 - $6,000
Furnace$3,900 - $17,000

Radiant Heat vs Forced Air Cost

Forced hot air uses a furnace to heat air that circulates through ducts leading to each room. The air is pumped in at floor level, where it rises, heating the air as it goes. This leads to inconsistent heating because the air has hot and cold areas as it rises and falls.

In-floor radiant heating heats more consistently. It warms people and objects directly, making the room feel warmer, allowing you to turn down the thermostat. It also heats air more evenly because the entire floor is heated, letting the warm air rise consistently.

Forced air systems can use the same ducts for air conditioning. This is a drawback of radiant floor systems because they do not also cool the house. The United States Department of Energy notes radiant heating is more efficient than forced-air heating or baseboard heating. Forced air systems cost $4,000 to $10,000 to install, which is much more less than the $2,000 to $6,000 average for in-floor radiant heating. You can also convert systems with the cost of converting radiant heat to forced air running about $2,500 to $7,000.

Comparison of the cost to install in-floor radiant heating and a forced air system (mobile)

Type of SystemCost (Installed)
In-Floor Radiant Heating$2,000 - $6,000
Forced Air System$4,000 - $10,000

Compare prices from radiant floor heating installers near you

Enhancement and Improvement Costs


Adding insulation can reduce your heating costs even more. Insulation stops heat transfer, keeping your home warmer with less energy. This way, you can turn down your thermostat even more. Whole-house insulation costs $3,000 to $7,000.

Temperature Zones

Temperature zones are an excellent option for radiant heating in many rooms or the entire home. By setting up these zones, homeowners can choose how hot each floor is, which can be useful for customizing well-used bathrooms from guest bathrooms. Adding in a temperature control system increases the price by $2,000 to $20,000, based on the needed number of zones. A programmable or smart thermostat ensures temperatures stay at the right level. The cost to install ranges from $200 to $500.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Radiant floor mats. Due to the high costs of electric heat, electric radiant floor mats are usually only installed in small areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms.
  • PEX tubing. New advances in technology have led to PEX tubing, which is flexible, easy-to-install, cheaper than copper, and leak-free. Using it means that radiant floors are less expensive and longer-lasting than previous versions.
  • Zoning. When installing radiant heat in your entire home, consider zones. This lets you control the heat in different parts of the house more effectively, making the system more efficient so that larger rooms get more heat than smaller areas.
  • Longevity. Radiant floor heating systems are designed to last around 35 years before needing major repair or replacement.
  • Air conditioning compatibility. The only major drawback to radiant floor heating is that it eliminates the ducts that most HVAC systems use for central air conditioning. If you live in a climate that does not see many days warm enough to use more than a window unit, this will not be a problem. For homes in climates that see an equal number of warm and cool days, you need to find alternate cooling systems for your house. This may include ductless air conditioning or investing in a geothermal cooler or chilling unit along with additional tubing to introduce radiant cooling systems. Keep in mind that these are very uncommon, less effective, and costly to install.
  • DIY. While you can install radiant floor heating on your own, it is not recommended. Specialized tools and techniques are needed to complete the process. Attempting the process could lead to damage and end up costing more than hiring a professional in the first place.
  • Permit. The need for permits varies by location. Permits and design approval may be required. Check with the local building department to ensure what requirements are necessary before installing radiant flooring or other systems.
  • Site preparation. Costs increase if debris needs to be removed, the site requires preparation, or cleanup needs to be done. Some forms of prep that might be required include compacting, foam installation, and digging. The amount of work and its difficulty impact the final cost. The amount of debris removed or cleanup done also impacts the cost.
  • Retrofit vs new construction. Placing retrofit radiant heating costs 50% to 80% more than new construction. It also requires home adjustments and floor removal due to the extra floor height needed. Floor removal costs $1.50 to $3 per sq.ft. The cost to retrofit radiant floor heating ranges from $3,000 to $10,800.
  • Cooling systems. Radiant cooling is also possible and works by cooling a ceiling or floor using heat from the rest of a space. If the floor is cooled, this is known as radiant floor cooling. When the ceiling is cooled, this is usually through a panel. This works well in arid locations, but it may not work well in humid spaces due to the lower temperature of condensation on the panels below the dew point of the room’s air. Radiant cooling costs $30 to $45 per sq.ft.


  • Is radiant floor heating cost-effective?

Radiant floor heating makes homes more comfortable and can save up to 30% over other types of heating.

  • Is radiant floor heating enough to heat a house?

You can choose radiant floor heating to heat your entire house if you choose. It is very efficient since heat rises and provides a good source for even heating in your home.

  • Can you put rugs over radiant floor heating?

​Yes, you can. You will have to set the temperature higher, however, to account for the extra insulation.

  • Is radiant floor heating expensive to run?

The price to run radiant floor heating is completely reasonable. For example, heating an average-sized bathroom uses the same energy as an appliance like a freezer. The amount for the heating is negligible but depends on how much space needs heat.

  • How much does in-floor radiant heat cost?

This varies based on the heating type and how much space needs to be heated. However, the cost ranges from $2,000 to $6,000. Heating a bathroom could cost under $2,000, while heating a huge home with various zones could cost over $6,000.

  • Can radiant floor heating heat an entire house?

Heating an entire home with floor heating is possible and highly effective. While many individuals heat a single kitchen or bathroom with floor heating, it can easily be used across an entire home.