This is the first post in a new Warmboard Works series we’re documenting with NeverSummer Construction from the Grand County area in Colorado. We’ll be checking in regularly to get updates on the project throughout the build and see the home come to life through interviews, photos, and videos. In this first installment we talk to Brad Line, co-owner of NeverSummer Construction, to learn more about the business, the project, and why Warmboard radiant heating was chosen to provide the ultimate home heating comfort.
Type: Single family home, new construction
Location: Granby, Colorado
Total Square Footage: 2,800 square feet
Lot Size: ¼ acre
Energy: Natural gas, Triangle tube boiler
How did the project come about?
My wife Makena, my brother Conrad, and I moved out to Granby, Colorado from our hometown in Ohio about a year ago, after purchasing Neversummer Construction from Hal Simmons, a respected, longtime custom home builder. My wife and I found a small condo to purchase and immediately began the planning process for our home. My dad, who is a retired engineer, is still very active in real estate ventures and had a set of plans that we fell in love with. He was about to build a home with a similar floor plan that had some slight variations and we thought it would be great to try out different products and do a comparison so we could show these differences to potential clients.
Conrad and I are committed to staying up to date with the newest means and methods that advance construction. We are always interested in learning about new products that streamline the installation process and create a more efficient and more comfortable home. We had both learned about Warmboard awhile back and had been following some other builders on Instagram who were using it. We were very interested in the product and decided it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out on our own home first to really understand how it works and then be able to share with our customers why we think it is a superior product.
How would you describe the project?
Our home would fall into the mountain craftsman category; the exterior of the home yields a craftsman look with a great roof line while the interior gives way to tall ceilings, an open concept main living, and a mountain modern finish. We are building in a quaint development nestled in the heart of Grand County in Granby, Colorado giving us wonderful views and great access to all the different recreation opportunities located at either end of the county.
One of the reasons we choose to use Warmboard is because we are striving to build an energy efficient home for the long winters we experience here at 8,000+ elevation. We also use Huber Zip-R Sheeting on all our homes as it provides a continuous R6 level of insulation on the outside of the home. We will use an open cell spray foam on the lid and fiberglass batts on the walls. Due to how tight the home is we are also installing an air exchange system known as an ERV to make sure we maintain proper air exchange, so the home does not become a ‘sick home’ due to it being so tight. The home site is one of the flattest lots you could probably build on in Colorado and while that was not an issue, we had to over dig the foundation and add engineered fill as the soils were expansive. We chose to over-dig instead of putting in piers for a pier foundation as we felt it was not only more cost effective for us but provided a better product.
Why was radiant chosen?
We believe that radiant floor heating is a superior method for heating the home. Coming from the Midwest we are used to using and working on homes with forced air systems due to the need for air conditioning in the summer, which is not a necessity for these mountain homes due to cooler temperatures through the year. Forced air systems are inefficient and leave much to be desired as they collect dust, are noisy, and do not provide the same comfort level as compared to radiant. Forced air heat rapidly rises to the ceiling compared to radiant heat which heats objects and people and doesn’t stratify upwards, so you are able to maintain a constant comfort level in your home with less energy output. For us it was the most efficient choice knowing it would serve us well through the life span of the house. And who doesn’t love a warm floor when they get out of bed in the morning?!
Why was Warmboard chosen over other radiant technologies?
We chose Warmboard over other hydronic methods because of energy efficiency, temperature change responsiveness, zoning, and combining multiple parts of the installation process into one step. Warmboard has an aluminum coating on the top that helps to spread the heat evenly and directs it upwards making it more efficient. This also makes it much more responsive to adjustments on the thermostat as it doesn’t store heat like a traditional, old-fashioned radiant system. Anyone who has experienced traditional radiant homes knows that sometimes it can take a long time to feel a change if the room is getting too hot.
We really liked how Warmboard worked with our floor plan to create different zones in the home to maximize the comfort level. Warmboard also combines multiple parts of the installation process into one step by creating a product that serves as the subfloor and provides the grid for the tubing. This means we were able to install the aluminum pex tubing for the whole house with three people who had never installed it before in one day. It cut out the need to have the plumber install it underneath the floor joist or use gypsum concrete on top of the subfloor.
What is your previous experience with radiant heating?
Our experience building with radiant before left us with hot spots in the home as well as other cold spots due to the thickness of the thermal mass that the tubing had to heat through; i.e. subfloor or slab. There are also issues with installing hardwood floors or modifying a floor plan with old-fashioned, traditional radiant as you don’t know exactly where the tubing is which leaves room for mistakenly penetrating tubing with a nail and causing costly damages to the home.
How has your experience been with Warmboard thus far?
Excellent. The whole process from design to material delivery to install has been seamless. The literature on the product has made the learning curve much more manageable. The product came well packaged and there were no damages. All the tools and tips provided for the install made it go very easily; it took us one day to install all the tubing for a 2,800 sq. ft. home with three people! The quality of the manifolds and the tubing is exceptional and we have been impressed each step of the way.
Stay tuned for the next update on NeverSummer’s project and see how far along it has come. We can’t wait!