How to Install Radiant Floor Heating in a Garage


Radiant floor heating systems warm the concrete floor. The system warms the air next to the floor, and the air then rises to heat the entire garage. The most common systems use tubing carrying hot water, heated in a boiler system, through the area under the concrete floor of the garage. The project requires skills in plumbing and cement work and is suitable only for advanced do-it yourselfers with adequate skills and tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Vibrating plate tamper
  • Sand
  • 2-inch thick rigid foam insulation
  • Duct tape
  • Reinforcing rod
  • Support saddles
  • Heating hose
  • Concrete
  • Trowels
  • Excavate the area planned for the garage. The excavation needs to be at least 8 inches deeper than the planned floor level of the concrete garage floor. Pack the subsoil with a vibrating plate tamper.

  • Place a 2-inch thick layer of sand in the excavation. Level the sand and pack with a vibrating plate tamper. You've adequately tamped the sand when footprints are not visible when you walk across the sand.

  • Place 2-inch thick rigid foam insulation on top of the sand. Butt the edges of the foam together. Tape the edges with duct tape.

  • Place the reinforcing rods on top of the foam. Use saddles or supports to hold the rods above the foam insulation.

  • Place the hoses for the heating system on top of the reinforcing rods. The rods serve as the support to keep the heating hoses near the surface of the concrete floor. Extend the open ends of the hoses to the manifolds that will connect to boiler. Connect the hoses to a manifold or set of valves that control the flow of fluid to the hoses in the floor. The manifold connects to the boiler that produces the hot water for the system. Design and placement of the boiler vary depending on the fuel source. Work with a heating professional to determine the best boiler unit and placement.

  • Test the hoses for leaks. It is far easier to repair a hose now compared to after you've poured the concrete.

  • Pour the concrete for the garage floor. Use a straight board to level the concrete level with the form boards. Trowel the cement to a smooth finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check and double check the integrity of the hoses or pipes before pouring the cement. Set up the hoses in several systems with control valves. If a leak develops, shut down that section and continue heating with the rest of the system.

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