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Warm wall in the bathroom: why is it needed, types, installation methods, designers opinion

A heated towel rail takes up space in the bathroom, and it’s rare to find an aesthetically pleasing model. We looked at what a warm wall is from a technical point of view and asked designers how they use this technology in their projects.

The bathroom needs a heat source. Radiators are not installed there, but there is another heating structure – a heated towel rail. It helps dry laundry and heats a small room at the same time. The device can be electric or water. Users are constantly arguing about which one is better. Relatively recently, an alternative has appeared – a warm wall in the bathroom. Let’s look at the types of systems, features, and ways to implement such a solution.

What is a warm wall 

This is the name of one of the many varieties of surface radiant heating. Essentially, this is a heated floor on the wall in the bathroom. The heating principle is the same. Heating elements built into the wall surface emit heat, which is accumulated in the wall. It gives it to the air in the room. At the same time, the surface does not feel hot, it is moderately warm, and it is impossible to get burned.  

Advantages and disadvantages of the solution

Heating walls are still an unusual solution for many. Let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages.


  • The heating surface area is much larger than, for example, radiators. Due to this, the room quickly warms up.  
  • “Invisible heating” There are no radiators, pipes, or other devices on the surface. This increases the usable area and protects against possible burns. 
  • Does not dry out the air. The heating elements are closed, so the humidity is comfortable.
  • Low-temperature heating. The coolant heats up to no more than 40˚C, which requires less energy consumption. 
  • There are different types of heating walls, you can choose the best option for yourself. 
  • Versatility. A water-type heating system can be used not only to heat a room in winter but also to cool it in summer. 


  • The heating wall must remain free; furniture cannot be placed near it; it is not advisable to place decorative elements, shelves, etc. here.
  • Thermal cushion effect. You can feel thermal radiation only at a distance of 20-25 cm from the surface. Then the heated air rises and accumulates under the ceiling, where a “cushion” is formed.  
  • Surface heating adversely affects finishing materials. They deteriorate faster. 
  • In the event of a malfunction, the finishing must be completely dismantled to gain access to the system.  

What is better for the bathroom: a warm wall or a heated towel rail 

A heating system is rarely chosen as the main one; it is more often installed as an addition to heating or installed in the bathroom as an alternative to a heated towel rail. In a room with high humidity, such as a bathroom, a heat source is needed. It will heat the room, remove excess moisture, and help dry wet towels or other linen. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a heated towel rail, which has many disadvantages. 

So, water models are operational only during the heating season, and then are useless. In addition, from the inside, they are covered with deposits, which negatively affect heating and corrode over time. Electric heated towel rails do not have these disadvantages. The device can be turned on at any time of the year, but to connect it you need to run an electrical line into the bathroom and install a special waterproof socket. Electrical equipment consumes a large amount of energy and is not very economical. 

Therefore, many people choose a warm wall in the bathroom. The solution has several advantages over a heated towel rail. First of all, this is uniform, rapid heating of the room. The wall surface is warm; if you place wet things here, they will dry quickly. A hanging towel or robe will be pleasantly heated, making it comfortable to put on after bathing. The humidity in the room quickly returns to normal, and the risk of fungus development is minimized. 

The heating temperature can be selected; for this, you need to install a thermostat. If a heated floor system is installed, it is possible to install a common control module. When installing a heating system, the wall heats up on both sides. Thus, if it is adjacent to the hallway, and this happens most often, then additional heating is obtained for this room as well. The thickness of the warm wall in the bathroom is small, and the volume of the room is preserved, which is very important for small bathrooms. An additional advantage is the free space without any equipment.  

There are also disadvantages to installing a warm wall instead of a heated towel rail in the bathroom that you need to be aware of. If the system fails, you will have to dismantle the trim to get to the equipment. This is labor-intensive and dirty work. In addition, there is a risk of breaking through an element of the heating system when installing hooks or shelves. Therefore, you need an exact plan for their location or a complete refusal to drill the wall. The finish on both sides of the wall with the heating element will deteriorate faster when exposed to heat. 

The dimensions of the warm wall in the bathroom vary. It can be installed in a relatively small area and turned on periodically to dry towels and eliminate excess moisture. You can install a heating system inside the entire wall. Craftsmen believe that there is no point in installing heaters up to the ceiling; a height of 150-170 cm from the floor level is sufficient. In this case, the system will work as additional heating, which is important for poorly heated rooms. 

Reviews from designers about a warm wall instead of a heated towel rail in the bathroom 

Using a heating wall instead of a heated towel rail is still unusual and raises many questions. Therefore, reviews of a warm wall in the bathroom from those who have chosen such a solution are especially interesting. Many are happy. Especially owners of small bathrooms. The absence of a bulky dryer saves space and makes the room visually more spacious. This is also a good solution for cool bathrooms – the system provides additional heat. Some users install heaters on an entire wall or most of it and turn it on shortly before going to the bathroom. Turn it off sometime after water procedures. Due to the large heating area, the textiles are pleasantly heated and then dry quickly. Air humidity quickly returns to normal. 

We asked professionals who use technology in their projects.

Designers opinion

Recently, with the growing demand for minimalist interiors, more and more often customers do not want to hang heated towel rails in their bathrooms, but they also do not want to give them up, since the need to dry towels after taking a shower or always have a warm robe on hand remains. Therefore, we often use warm walls (we put a regular warm floor under the tiles on the wall). Firstly, it really saves space, and, very importantly, budget, because a large, high-quality heated towel rail cannot cost as much as several meters of heated flooring. Secondly, the heating area increases, which is important in a room where you constantly have to dry something. Usually we place hooks, shelves or special towel holders above a warm wall. The main thing is to strictly follow the drawings when attaching the hooks so as not to get into the heating element.

Types of heating system

Three types of heating systems are used for installation in the bathroom. Let’s characterize each of them.


Complete analogue of water-heated floor. This is a closed loop of pipes through which heated coolant circulates. Only in the wall-mounted version the diameter of the pipes should be smaller, about 10-15 mm. A pump must be included in the circuit so that the coolant moves at normal speed. It is possible to connect control elements to control the surface heating temperature. 

Important point. In houses with centralized heating, it is prohibited to install a warm water-type wall in the bathroom. The coolant cannot be diverted from the main to an additional circuit, otherwise the quality of heating of other consumers will suffer. In houses with autonomous heating systems, water-type heating walls can be installed. In this case, the coolant is heated in the boiler and discharged into a separate circuit. 


For heating, an electric heated floor is installed on the wall in the bathroom. This is a heating cable. When connected to the power supply, it heats up and warms up the base inside which it is installed. Laying a coiled cable is not very convenient. It is easier to lay so-called heating mats. This is a mesh backing onto which a properly laid cable is secured. Mats have the same characteristics as cable, but they are much easier to install. In any case, you can include a thermostat in the circuit and control the temperature in the bathroom. The electrical system is allowed to be installed in any home if the wiring allows it. 


The heat source is IR film, which emits infrared radiation when supplied with electricity. It hits the surfaces in front of it and accumulates heat in them. The sun’s rays warm the same way. Considering that film heaters require electricity to operate, they can also be considered an electric warm wall in the bathroom. At the same time, the operating principle differs from the cable system; the film system is considered more economical. It can be installed in any building. The range of infrared radiation is completely safe for humans and does not cause harm to them. 

Installing a warm wall in the bathroom instead of a heated towel rail 

The installation technology depends on the type of heating element. Let’s look at how to make a warm wall in the bathroom under tiles for different types of heaters.     

Water system

Installation is similar to laying a heated water floor. First, pipes are mounted on the base wall. They are laid in a snake pattern, starting from the floor in the direction of movement of the coolant. It is not recommended to use snail laying; it makes it difficult to remove air pockets. The pipes are secured with clips to mounting rails that are installed on the base. The assembled contour is covered with a reinforcing mesh, beacons are placed and plaster is laid. Allow it to completely harden, sand, and plaster again for complete leveling. The base is dried, and primed and tiles are laid on it. You can do it differently: cover the pipes with a frame and cover it with plasterboard. After this, putty the base and glue the cladding.


The easiest way to install a system is with heating mats. They are laid out on the base and fixed with special cement glue. If you are laying a cable, first attach the mounting grid to the wall, and then lay and fix the cable on it. After this, the heating structure is covered with a rough layer of plaster. Allow it to harden completely, then plaster and putty the base until completely leveled. Only after this, the tiles are glued onto the dried and leveled base.


The film is sensitive to the quality of the base, so before laying it, the wall is leveled and the solution is allowed to harden. The film is attached to the prepared base. The strips are laid vertically, and fixed on special dowels, which are placed in areas where there are no conductive elements. Small gaps are left between the strips, no more than 50 mm. Connect the film strips from above, in a parallel connection. The assembled structure is covered with sheets of plasterboard. The base is puttied and the tiles are glued. 

Important point. In any case, only heat-resistant materials are used for installation. Regular finishing will quickly deteriorate.  

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