This installment takes us to Calgary, where homeowner Jason Mancuso discusses his experience with different radiant heat methods, and why he chose Warmboard for inclusion in his 5,100 square foot custom home.
We knew from the very beginning that we would be using in-floor heating in our home. Living in a radiant floor heated house is not new to me so I was familiar with the upfront costs, as well as the long-term benefits. I had built a couple of homes with my dad, tried a few other methods, and then we sort of stumbled upon Warmboard.
I liked the different approach that Warmboard took. We have experience with placing pipe underneath the house, and we’ve also put it into Styrofoam and then poured lightweight concrete over-top. By contrast, Warmboard is a different method, and even before using it I could see that it was a lot easier for installation. It took a lot less prep as far as the framing is concerned, and it doesn’t change anything about the construction process.
The whole installation process is very natural. There wasn’t much prep-work needed. You already have to lay down a tongue and groove subfloor, so nothing really changes from the construction side until you put the piping in. After speaking with the contractors and different framing crews they confirmed that the procedure of building the house was the same as they were used to. There’s no interruption, no waiting for things to get done so that a contractor can come in. Everything flowed the way that it should. That was probably the best part about Warmboard, that it was very natural to the building process.
The only thing I would maybe do differently, through no fault of the product, is that through construction you get a lot of dirt and debris into the channel-way. By the time you’re ready to lay the pipe down you will have to spend some time vacuuming and cleaning to make sure the channels are nice and smooth. A bit of that was because we were building through the winter months, which obviously tend to be muddier and dirtier. Next time I will consider laying some ¼” sheeting over top immediately after it’s put down to protect it and minimize the dirt that gets in the grooves. It’s not really a fault in the product; it’s just a factor of when we built and how building procedures go.
We’ve been in the house for about 6-7 months now, so we’ve been able to experience the heat, especially right now in the colder winter months. We’re starting to get some –20ºC (–4ºF) days and the Warmboard has been great.
My parent’s house, where I grew up, had the pipes laid underneath the floor into concrete on the basement level, and in my parent’s temporary home, it was done with lightweight concrete over-top. In both cases, the response time was slow – between 1-2 hours. If you tweak the temperature you’re not going to feel it for a long while.
Now that we have Warmboard, you tweak the temperature and within 20-30 minutes you’re definitely feeling the house really increase in temperature. It’s much more responsive, much quicker, which in turn means you can turn it up a degree or two, warm it up, and turn it right back down again. You don’t have to leave it on for two hours, which keeps energy costs down.
I would recommend it; I might even use it in a future project. It’s not necessarily a product I’d use in a home I just plan on reselling. But as far as my own home, it’s probably one of the best features of the house. The house is very consistent, very clean, no dust floating around because there is no forced air. I would recommend to anyone building their own home to definitely use hydronic heat, and then furthermore to use Warmboard. It’s just a great way to heat your home, especially in our parts of the world where we get six plus months of subzero temperatures. And it definitely does keep your heating bill down, I can tell you that much.