Saturday, February 4, 2012

Don't listen to your contractor!

So actually I don't have a contractor yet - am trying to choose in between two.  But both have told me that going with hydronic radiant heat will lead to me having 2 inch thick floors.  They recommended electric. I was naturally disappointed to hear this but being the stubborn "person" I am decided to research it.

Well it turns out that while the easiest way to install hot water heated floors will lead to thick 2 inch floors, there are other ways.  I won't pretend to understand all the intricacies but here is what i have figured out so far:

1. When doing basements you can have the concrete slab poured onto the piping.  This will be thick - like 6 inches - but hey its a concrete slab

2. When renovating a room you can have the piping (always use PEX piping) put down onto the subfloor and then put concrete / leveler on top.  This is what leads to the 2 inch floor because the piping alone is 1/2 inch and then the tiles are typically 5/8 inch but the concrete leveler stuff needs to be thick and this is what adds the extra inch or so.

3. But instead of pouring a leveler on top you can have a underlayment panel nailed to the subfloor and then loop the pex wire between the grooves of the mat. I think this eliminates the need for the concrete leveler. Additional height on top of tile is 1/2 inch.  Here is an example: the Quik Trak

4. And what seems like the coolest but perhaps (my view only) most expensive is to staple the insulation  to the underside of the subfloor and then just put the tiles / wood flooring on top of the subfloor.  No additional height from radiant heating!!!  To do this you use something like Joist Trak. The best google search I've found so far for this is: "Aluminum heat transfer plate radiant"

Joist Trak
5. Oh wait cooler option ahead, Another option I just found is where the radiant heating channels are in the subfloor - Check out WarmBoard.  At this time my mind is just boggled.  There is probably going to have to be a follow-up post to this as I evaluate the options


At this time my mind is just boggled.  There is probably going to have to be a follow-up post to this as I evaluate the options. And hubs is rushing me cos we are going shopping. Cheerio!

Articles you can read:
Article on heat transfer plates (i.e. for option 4)

1 comment:

  1. So funny, I've been doing the same research. We're thinking of using warmboards ourselves because of how easy it is to lay real hardwood flooring over it. I haven't priced them out yet though. We did electrical in floor heating in our current kitchen and were shocked at how expensive the floor leveling compound turned out to be. Another couple of things we were told to consider are the extra weight of pouring that much concrete (or leveler) over the Pex and if your basement supports can take it, as well as the effect of the increased floor height on the first riser of the staircase. We're replacing the stairs so it's not an issue for us. A friend did it under the subfloor between the joists just like you mention and it works great. She said they put reflective insulation in the basement ceiling to make sure the heat flows up through the floor. It is more labour intensive this way though. Good luck with it! I think it will be worth it in the end.