Is it possible to lay heat cables on a bathroom floor before I lay down linoleum. We would like to help create some warmth in the winter. Given our current situation I don't think it's feasible to lay real tile which is what typically can go over heat cables. But is it possible and effective to lay heat cables under linoleum to help make the floor warmer in the wintertime?


  • I have not put electric under rolled vinyl but have over t&g snap together vinyl flooring. If a rolled or thin product I think you would want a cover layer above the wires / pads to distribute the heat and protect the elements from damage.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


What you're referring to as Linoleum is probably vinyl. At room temperature, it's fairly solid and the good stuff will bridge minor variations in the surface without it showing through. By minor, I mean shallow embossed texture in the surface of the layer below, or thin grout lines between tiles. Even at room temperature, heat ribbon is likely to eventually show through because the vinyl slowly conforms to the surface.

When you warm it, the vinyl softens and becomes flexible and stretchy. In fact, warming the vinyl is a trick for getting it to conform in a problem area during installation, or for getting vinyl planks to stay together when some irregularity underneath pushes them apart. If you lay heat ribbon directly under the vinyl rather than embedding it in a smooth surface, the vinyl will conform around it and the ribbon will show on the surface.

If you don't want to embed the heat ribbon in another layer, you may be able to accomplish the result with radiant heating film.

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There are a number of versions. In general, it comes in rolls of fairly wide, thin, flat plastic film. Sandwiched inside the film is a resistive layer. You make the electrical connections at the wall and hide it with molding.

Doing this under the floor adds a lot of delay from the time you turn it on until the heat gets through the floor and starts warming the room. An alternative with much faster heating is to use the film on the ceiling and paint over it to hide it. The sensation of using it that way is a little like having a heat lamp in the ceiling; your head will feel a lot warmer than your feet.


Do not incase it mortar, best is floor leveler, or a dry pack mortar bed. Also if you go that way you be able to turn it on for a week or 2. Everything has to be fully cured.


I would not apply any type of flooring directly on top of electric in-floor heat cables. These heating cables are designed to be buried in a layer of 'thin-set' (a layer of specialty mortar mix). This layer of cement mix protects for cable from wear and damage. Without this you are going to loose all of your warrentee. I expect the life of the cables would be shortened dramatically with out this physical protection. Additionally, the thin-set provide a heat-sink that spreads the heat evenly and contributes to the overall comfort of the living space. If I could advise, a good choice of floor covering is any type of masonry tile product. The tile product lies directly on the thin-set. It bonds with and becomes a part of the heat-sink. It is warm to the touch when the heat is needed. It is inexpensive. Happy heating P.

  • Thanks for the input. I could be willing to do the thin set and then lay the linoleum over that. I did some research last night and it does look like it could be possible. I am going to have to do my homework. Thanks!
    – Adrien
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 20:01
  • @Adrien If is not feasible to lay tile then why is it feasible to lay thinset?
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:05

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