Cold floors and cold feet can be a common complaint in the winter time but it’s no laughing matter. Especially when it comes to elderly relatives, small children, or pets that are in your household. Even if you have tried fuzzy socks and slippers, the solution might not be as simple as just upgrading your footwear.
The problem could actually be your floors, especially in a room that is on ground level or even worse, in the basement. Floors of ceramic, stone and concrete tend to be the worst culprits, with hardwood floors coming in after. Luckily there are a couple of ways to combat the cold.
Keep Warm Air In
Start with the simplest solution, which will help give a comfortable temperature for the whole house, not just for one floor. Stop all drafts and heat loss by filling in any holes or cracks in walls or between baseboard and the floor with caulk or another kind of sealant. Replacing weatherstripping around doors and windows and buying a draft snake will help ensure that heat is not escaping. Since hot air rises, a good idea is to insulate the ceiling.
When the floor is above an unheated crawl space, installing insulation between the floor joists can make all the difference. Insects or other animals can get into the crawl space and wreak havoc with insulation. It can also become dislodged by natural movement and settling of your home. Using spray foam insulation will help avoid these problems altogether. It can be pricey but is much more effective than fiberglass.
Unfinished basements are usually warmer than crawl spaces, so insulating them will still help keep the floor above at a more comfortable temperature. When it comes to over-the-garage bonus rooms, insulating and sealing are essential at not only keeping out the cold, but also to form a barrier against carbon monoxide.
Insulate on top
If your home is set atop a concrete slab and you’re going to have new flooring laid, first make sure to first instal a layer of rigid insulation. When you’re not in a hurry to replace your existing floors, a simple form of insulation is putting down area rugs, especially in the winter months. Be aware that installing wall-to-wall carpeting over an uninsulated and unheated concrete slab can be a problem due to the danger of mildew.
Get your heating system running like a pro
Inspecting and maintaining your heating system on a regular basis will help ensure that you are getting the best possible performance from it. Besides keeping the furnace filter, ducts, and heat registers clean, make sure that your registers are not being blocked by furniture or curtains. Most importantly, make sure that it has not come disconnected from the ductwork.
Add Extra Heat
Adding a small space heater when you’re in a room for prolonged periods of time, like your office, will help take care of your freezing feet. Under-cabinet heaters (“toe-kick”) are a little more expensive but more effective, as they blow heat across the floor. The ultimate luxury is to install underfloor radiant heating. However, this is a major home improvement undertaking, which has to be done by a qualified heating professional. Besides the heating itself, the project will require installation of a new floor and a dedicated 20-amp circuit – but your feet will be forever grateful.