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Don't Forget to Insulate the Ground!

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What are the best finishes to put on top of radiant heating?

Radiant floors function most effectively with solid surface flooring. Tiles, concrete, and vinyl all work well in conjunction with a heated floor. Hardwood and laminate are also better than carpet. Flooring that does not have a resistance to thermal conductivity are the best materials to put over top of a floor heating system.

How much tubing does a hydronic radiant system need to function effectively?

Installing the radiant tubing in the concrete slab is the most important step in the radiant floor heating process because it is difficult to fix a bad install once the concrete is in place. There are various tubing sizes used to create warm radiant floors. Slab size, tube spacing, heating demands, and under floor insulation are all factors that are...

Is wire mesh required to install radiant tubing to all under concrete insulation systems?

There are various ways to install tubing in hydronic radiant heat applications. Hydronic tubing can be installed directly to plywood floors using a clip system or stapled directly to the plywood in conjunction with a gypsum over pour. If installing a radiant heating floor system to a concrete slab, it is critical to have the proper insulation underneath the floor...

How deep in the concrete should radiant tubing be installed for floor heating applications?

The placement of the radiant tubing does not affect the performance or comfort in a typical four-inch basement concrete pour. Once the slab is warm, it is easy to maintain that heat. It is common practice to raise the radiant tubing in larger and thicker concrete pours (i.e., six inch and greater). When installing snow melt hydronic for sidewalks and...

How thick should the concrete be installed over radiant heating?

The thickness of concrete is dependent on what the building code or the designer dictates. A thicker slab takes longer to warm up than a thinner slab, but it also takes the thicker slab more time to cool down. It is best practice to not install normal concrete less than three-inches thick. Thinner pours can be done on top of...

What spacing should be used when installing radiant floor heating?

Spacing of hydronic tubes is dependent on a few variables, including wall R-value, window quantity, and roof or attic insulation. Consult with your radiant floor designer or engineer to determine your radiant floor requirements. It is always important to follow manufacturer’s guidelines and best practices, such as making sure there is enough heat reaching areas more susceptible to heat loss;...

If more insulation is installed under the radiant heating, do I need less radiant tubing?

The more foam insulation board or other moisture-resistant insulation material under a concrete floor slab, the more efficient the building becomes. This is no different with a hydronic heating system. The more rigid moisture-resistant the insulation, the more efficient the heating system becomes; however, this does not necessarily mean you need less radiant heat tubing. The system needs to be...

Is radiant heating cheaper to operate than forced air?

There are many variables to how efficient a radiant floor heating system is and how it will compare to a forced air heating system. The main thing we need to keep in mind is it takes a certain amount of BTUs to heat a space and how efficiently you can make that BTU will determine the overall efficiency. Large hydronically...

What systems are available to heat poured basement slabs?

There are primarily two types of radiant floor heating that can be installed into concrete: electric and hydronic. Electric Radiant Floor Heating Electric radiant floor heating is mainly used for small areas and in retro fit construction applications. Electric radiant is installed via electric cables and mats and typically controlled in the zone it is installed.  It works well in...

How much insulation should be installed in conjunction with radiant floor heating?

Some applications of radiant floor heating require more insulation than others and some may not require any. If the radiant floor system that you are installing or having installed is part of the building envelope, like a basement concrete floor or garage concrete floor, then it is imperative that the proper amount of insulation is installed so that the radiant...