HGTV Star Hilary Farr Reveals A Flooring Upgrade That's Totally Worth The Splurge

Your floors can completely change the look of your house. Whether you are completely replacing your flooring or doing budget-friendly upgrades like staining or painting, a new floor can breathe life into your home. But there are also some floor upgrades that don't just change the look, but rather the feel of the home. During an episode of "Love It or List It," host and designer Hilary Farr reveals a flooring upgrade that delights the homeowners: heated floors.

As Farr enters the home, one of the first things they notice is a brand new thermostat situated on the wall, which is connected to a system for floor heaters. In-floor heating, also known as radiant floor heating, allows heat to rise up from the floors, creating warmth throughout the house. Radiant floor heating is more efficient since it heats from the ground up, warming the objects and people in the house more directly and allowing heat to rise as it naturally does anyway.

There are different types of in-floor heating

While most of us have regular above-ground heating systems or fireplaces, radiant floor heating has actually been around for longer than you may think with evidence of the first heated floors showing up around B.C. 5,000 in China and Korea. Even today, heated floors are much more energy-efficient than many other systems. Plus, who doesn't love walking on warm floors on a cold winter day? 

There are three different types of radiant heating and the one you choose will depend on your home. Hydronic radiant heating systems use a boiler to heat the water in your pipes, which, in turn, heat the home. Air radiant systems use heated air to heat the home. Hydronic heating is the most energy-efficient and least expensive option, but it does pose the risk of burst pipes, which can be costly and even potentially dangerous. 

The most popular form of in-floor heating are electric radiant systems, which use electric coils to heat the floors. This option is low-maintenance and safer, but it will cost you, as it is commonly the most expensive form of in-floor heating.

What to consider before adding in-floor heating

On "Love it or List it," Hilary Farr has a budget that she needs to use wisely when renovating a home. That means that each decision she makes, whether it is a splurge or not, was well thought out — including the decision regarding in-floor heating. But before you start shelling out money for a new heating system, consider the current state of your house. Some floors work better than others when it comes to radiant heating. Some of the best-suited materials include tile, laminate, natural stone, engineered wood, and vinyl plank. If you have solid hardwood, carpet, or regular vinyl, you may want to skip in-floor heating as it can either ruin your floors or not be as efficient.

The biggest thing to consider though, is cost. On average, if you are looking to heat a 1,000-square-foot home, you will likely spend between $7,000-$22,000 for hydronic heating or $8,000-$15,000 for electric heating. However, once it is installed, you are likely looking at a more energy-efficient home, which will help balance the cost in the long run.