Illinois Architect-Homeowner Built With Warmboard in 2002

In this installment of Warmboard Works, we talk to Jim L. from O’Fallon, Illinois, who back in 2002 was one of the first in the state to design and build his home with Warmboard. His family is downsizing and selling the property and Jim has been kind enough to detail what the past 17 years have been like living with the incomparable comfort of Warmboard. Jim is a licensed architect in Illinois and Missouri and is currently the coordinator of a Construction Management Technology Program at a local college.

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PROJECT DETAILS
Type: Single family home, new construction
Location: O’Fallon, Illinois
Total Square Footage: 3,218 square feet
Lot Size: 0.55 acres
Flooring: Hardwood and ceramic tile
Listing: http://www.ellerbrake.com/Property/1321-Bossler-Ln-OFallon-Illinois


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 “I designed the home with our young family in mind and would characterize the style as a “city house” located in O’Fallon, IL – the first Warmboard project in the St. Louis metro area. Our house is constructed with 2x6 exterior walls at 16” o.c. with a “BIB” insulation system. The attic has approximately 24” of the good white fluffy stuff (no energy trusses) and we used R10 rigid board under our basement slab. The basement slab has 3 heat zones, the Warmboard first floor has 3 heat zones, and our second floor uses fin tube base units in each of the bedrooms with separate zones. The boiler is 83% efficient. 

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When we built in 2002, our children were young and our oldest had asthma really bad. I was looking for ways to improve our indoor air quality for our kid’s health. Robert Meyer, a mechanical engineer I had worked with in the past, recommended Warmboard to us. I recall him saying “there is a new product available that would bring a higher level of quality with positive health benefits to your home”. He was anxious to work with Warmboard as he hadn’t used it in the past.

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We moved into the house in January of 2003 and immediately noticed comfortable, even heat throughout the house, but especially the first floor where we used Warmboard. The house was absent of cold spots and my wife often told me how much she loves our home in the winter because of the even heat and the feeling of walking in from the outside as if she was walking into a down blanket. Structurally, when we upgraded to a high spin cycle washer, we didn’t have any issues with vibration in the floor system. We used 12” TJI’s at 16” o.c. so our floor system is substantial. There is absolutely no noticeable deflection or vibration. It’s so solid, it feels like you are walking in your Savings & Loan.

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Our previous house used a gas-fired forced air system and had a leaky envelope. It was approximately 1,450 sq ft total including a finished attic. There really is no comparison between forced air heating and Warmboard radiant. The energy bills in our new house, which is over 3,200 sq ft, are very similar. So, we more than doubled our space and our energy bills stayed the same!

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The finished floors we used were 3/4” tongue and groove 3” wide red oak and 3/8” cement board with ceramic tile over the Warmboard. We didn’t want any elevation change where materials transitioned so we installed the oak directly over Warmboard. We have never had a single issue and the floors are as beautiful as the day they were installed!

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Our kids are grown up, healthy, and have moved on but frequently complain about college housing and the subpar comfort compared to our family home. What we will all miss the most is taking our shoes off and feeling that even heat in our house!”

Photography: Steve Ellerbrake

 

NeverSummer Construction Series - Project Summary

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.

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PROJECT DETAILS
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.

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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.

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 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.

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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. 

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Sonoma, California Homeowner Thrilled with Warmboard since 2014

We came across this comment on a recent blog post by Sarah Sherman Samuel, Interior and Product Designer extraordinaire, and reached out to Elaine to learn more about what the last 5 years have been like living in her Warmboard home.


“We chose Warmboard after doing extensive market research on other radiant floor heating systems. Warmboard made the most sense to us in terms of quality, durability, and simply a smarter system.

We built this home ourselves with Warmboard and used travertine tile for all the floor coverings. 

There are many benefits that we appreciate about our Warmboard floor such as even, consistent heating, no matter the time of day. Our Warmboard system maintains the warmth of our home 24/7 without having to turn on/turn off, etc.  

Another aspect of our radiant heating system that we enjoy is that it is quiet. There are no vents to deal with and no air is being pushed around our home. It’s completely dustless! Warmboard is extremely comfortable and healthy heat!!!!!!!

And like I stated in my comment on Sarah’s blog, our children come to visit and don’t want to leave. Which I don’t really mind.”

Thanks to Elaine for sharing her family’s Warmboard experience with us and we wish them many more years of unequaled comfort!

Photo by  Trent Erwin  on  Unsplash

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

Canadian Homeowner Reports Back on First Winter with Warmboard


In this installment of 
Warmboard Works, we talk to Remko T. from Ontario, Canada, who built his home in 2018 near the shores of magnificent Lake Erie. He’ll recount for us his experience building and living with Warmboard in his family’s 2,650 sq ft home and 1,100 sq ft detached garage.


“We chose Warmboard for our new home that we built last year and couldn’t be happier! We considered all the options available for floor heat and found that the extra panel cost for a Warmboard system was worth it. We were not disappointed! The panels arrived on time and the framers had no trouble putting it in following the layout plans. House construction can be tough on subfloors but Warmboard held up amazing!

I also waited on installing the pex tubing until the walls were up and the plumbing, wiring and exterior wall insulation was done. I did the custom router loops myself with the template kit provided. I ran all the pex lines according to the plans provided to the manifold locations just before the drywallers started.

We decided to keep it simple by making one heat zone for each the basement, the main floor, the top floor, and the detached garage. The hot water heater is another zone. We did not use slab sensors anywhere, just thermostats in each zone.

The boiler we chose is a 160,000 btu IBC Canadian-made boiler. It has 5 built-in zone controls and an outdoor reset thermostat as well. It’s a very simple and well-built boiler and incredibly easy to operate.

Overall, we are thrilled with our warm floors! Our Warmboard system heats the house very evenly and very comfortably. We are pleased with the fast response to both raise and lower the temperatures in the house as desired. I run the water temperature in the floor between 110°-125°F which gives us great response times and is lightning fast! I’ve also noticed the heating keeps up easily when it is below 0°C outside. During the day we typically keep it at 19°- 21°C and at night we set it down to 17°C.

The cost to heat the house to 19°C and the garage to 15°C is on average $300-350 per month with propane @65cent per liter. This is a bit disappointing but I’m anticipating the cost will decrease at least 33-50% when natural gas comes through in the near future.

My wife and I love our Warmboard home and we can’t help but notice the lack of radiant heating and lack of Warmboard’s invisible comfort when we go to anyone else’s house.”