RADIANT HEAT FLOORING…DAYS 11 & 12

 

Half the basement HotRock install

Half the basement HotRock install

One decision we had no trouble making was to put radiant in floor heating in our future basement. We liked the idea of this simple and efficient way of keeping the basement warm and dry and since heat rises, the radiant heat in our basement floors will not only heat the basement, it will also help to heat the rest of the house…and help lower our heating bill. Radiant heat has been around for a long time (the house we’re moving from the 1960s had electric radiant heat in the ceilings.) We will be putting in the hydronic style of heated floors which uses water that will be heated in a boiler which will run through the plastic tubing under the concrete and give out a nice consistent heat.

So in preparation for this, the floor had to be insulated and the tubing installed before the concrete floor was poured. We looked into what the ideal insulation is for this process. The first options were SM Styrofoam insulation or polyethylene bubbles (like giant sheets of bubble wrap) but both would have to be taped at the seams…meaning more time and labour cost. We then looked into spray foam which sounded like a great option until we spoke with our concrete contractor who said that this was not a good idea as foam would expand and in turn, cause future cracking in the basement floor. Then while looking into other building products I came across an ad on a store website for a product called HotRock Panel which comes in panels that have many rows of raised knobs. The product is ‘an insulator, barrier and tubing fastener’, and it provides an R value of 10. The tubes carrying water can can be placed safely and easily among the raised knobs. We decided to go with this product which seemed to make the concrete contractor and the heating installer happy and was reasonably priced.

Box full of HotRock Panels

Box full of HotRock Panels

It took my husband and our construction help less than a day to install the panels over the gravel in the basement. They click together which makes the task pretty straight forward. They should be installed in a staggered pattern as you can see in the photos.

One thing to consider when choosing an insulation product like this is the height of your basement. The raised knobs and base of this product are just over 3 inches in height and that isn’t including the concrete poured on top so count on about 4″ of height. For us this was okay as we went with the higher 9 foot ceiling height.

Radiant flooring preperation

Radiant flooring preperation

The next step was for the heating and cooling company to come and place the tubing between the knobs and the system where it will hook up to the boiler. With a few sets of hands this job only took a few hours.

The radiant floor tubing installed in the HotRock Panel flooring

The radiant floor tubing installed in the HotRock Panel flooring

Tubes will connect to the boiler eventually

Tubes will connect to the boiler eventually

And finally the tubing placement is complete!

Tubing is placed throughout the basement floor

Tubing is placed throughout the basement floor

Now that the radiant heat tubing is safely placed throughout the floor, the next step is pouring the concrete. This was done a day later and the heating and cooling crew were present during the pour to make sure no tubes were accidentally damaged during the process. It all went smoothly and the floor was poured and now needs some time to cure before we can finally get the house on it’s new foundation and eventually try out the radiant heat once we have everything hooked up.

Concrete is poured over the radiant heat tubing

Concrete is poured over the radiant heat tubing

 

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