In this Warmboard Works post we talk to Jeremy and Callie, homeowners who are in the midst of remodeling a 100 year old commercial building into their dream home. The West Bottoms Project is not your run of the mill remodel and these innovative DIY'ers are using Warmboard to bring ultimate comfort to this unique project. Bonus – they documented much of their construction in a photo essay, which can be found here:
“There are probably 400 reasons why we chose Warmboard, but I’m sure you’ve heard all of those before! I of course read a ton about the product and thought it would be an amazing luxury to have, but I figured it would actually be a bit too expensive – something I’m sure you guys hear all the time, right?
Our building is in the coolest neighborhood in Kansas City – called the West Bottoms – andwas originally built as a Horse Stable and Warehouse / Carriage House. It’s got a pretty interesting shape that comes from the railroad tracks that ran up to the loading dock doors on both the West and South walls (we have 7 loading down doors).
Because of the size of our building (the first floor is approx 6,000 sq ft), the 10 foot tall basement (also 6,000 sf ft) and the really high ceilings (about 25 feet in the main room), we knew heating the space adequately was going to get interesting.
The ceilings in our building are beautiful. 100 year old wood, amazing trusses and greatheight (probably too high, but whatever!). But having to hang duct work, seeing tubes everywhere would look like a mess and hide a lot of the charm of the building. It would have driven me crazy, and it would look hideous. So from an aesthetic standpoint it just wasn’t going to work.
Also, having hot air blowing down from our high ceilings, coming down to about 8 feet, then making a u-turn and heading back up towards the cold roof? No thanks. I had visions of us freezing on our couch with the roof being a toasty 80 degrees. So forced air wasn’t going to work on a functional level either.
Still, thinking our options were limited, we called in a slew of HVAC/Mechanical contractors. All came back with a horror stories of us needing multiple, monster heating and cooling units (that would go where? who knows.) to blow A LOT of air to POSSIBLY get us to a comfortable temperature. We then slogged through the data and crunched the numbers they gave us and the prices really skyrocketed. Suddenly, the thought of “Warmboard being too expensive” weren’t such an issue any more and it quickly became the best option to heat the building.
My wife Callie and I, along with some family and friends, have done 100% of the installation ourselves (We mostly pay our laborers in a combination of pizza, barbeque and gratefulness)! The plans you provided were amazing! As the project progressed however, there were a few issues with our structure we hadn’t really expected. But that’s the great thing about Warmboard–R – it was really easy for us to make adjustments on the fly, cut custom pieces or execute some custom routes to get around these situations. It’s one thing I really wasn’t expecting. This really is a great building tool! One that’s not meant to snap into place or it’s not going to work, but a panel that provides amazing flexibility in the design layout. The whole process was very intuitive. And anyone can easily grab 2 or 3 panels and carry them to where they need to go. We invested in 6 pairs of knee pads, 4 new drills and a TON of screws and it actually went fairly quickly, all things considered. Especially for a ragtag group like us. Moving forward, we will be hiring a professional to connect the boilers and the manifolds, run tests, etc. But as for all the panels, the tubing – we did all of it ourselves.
Callie and I are coordinating all the work on the job. It’s a monster project, but so far sogood. Things are moving forward quickly and we’re hoping to spend Thanksgiving there this year – just in time for the 100th birthday of the structure. We’ll have everyone there too and are looking forward to being really toasty!”
– Jeff and Callie Bennet
See dozens more photos and a few videos over at the westbottomsproject.com