Heated Granite Countertops

December 30, 2013

Kevin Berger


Tips, Trends

Image borrowed from FeelsWarm

Granite countertops remain one of the coveted kitchen upgrades.  Unfortunately, along with the beautiful colors of natural stone comes the perception of cold.  The mass of the stone acts as a heat sink so even when the stone is at room temperature, it feels cold to the touch.  With our new emphasis on energy conservation, more and more people are using setback thermostats.  While the new high efficiency forced air furnaces bring the air temperature up fairly quickly, the thermal mass of the stone is affected much more slowly.

This has been a problem for years with tile floors and it has been addressed by installing electric or hydronic heating elements in the grout beneath the tile.  If you haven’t experienced this, you’ve missed out.  Stepping onto a cold bathroom floor in the morning can be a bit shocking.  Stepping onto a warm tile floor is wonderful.  If your feet are warm, the rest of you feels warm.

FeelsWarm undercounter installation

Some builders have been addressing the granite countertop issue with the same underfloor heating elements.  While this solves the problem, it is somewhat overkill since the tile floor elements are generally designed to provide supplemental heat.  Recently several companies have come up with countertop specific solutions.  These generally involve low voltage electrical systems.  Some of them are designed for retrofit applications and some are designed for new construction.  The low voltage system means that it can often be powered by existing electric circuits built into or around the cabinets. The low voltage systems draws a minimal amount of power so they can be allowed to run continually.  Check out the products offered by FeelsWarm and Nuheat.  Both of these have products specifically designed for countertop applications.  Warmup also has a system for this, but it is based on the heating elements used for tile floors and is more appropriate to new construction.  (A benefit to Warmup is that it more easily conforms to irregular shapes.)

This issue and solution easily transfers to other solid surface materials such as tile, concrete, quartz, etc.  While theoretically it could be used with a laminate countertop, there could be issues with delamination and the glue used should be researched before installation.

If you are interested in an application such as this, let us know.  We would be happy to explore this solution with you.

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