Dwight Simpson, owner and founder of Simpson Properties Contracting, is an Electrical Technologist by day and Real Estate Investor/Builder by night located in Toronto, Ontario. Dwight and his young family are doing an extensive renovation on their Toronto home which is being documented for his YouTube series titled “Invest.Remodel.Repeat” which will be released in early 2020. He is candidly sharing his experience with us and all the exciting details of renovating their 1960’s backsplit into an innovative modern dream home that features Warmboard radiant floor heating.Read More
In this installment of Warmboard Works, we talk to architect Marc Brahaney who is undertaking an extensive 3 floor addition of his Princeton, New Jersey home. Marc is co-founder and president of Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction and is licensed to practice in NJ, NY, PA, CT, and RI. Marc divides his time between working with clients and heading the company’s design and construction operations.
The property, located a few miles from Princeton University, is flush with trees and greenery that award scenic views in every direction. Marc is kindly recounting his experience with us and sharing details of his personal project.
“The style of our home is gothic revival. It is over 5,000 square feet in size. The original part of the house features wide pine flooring, plaster walls and ceilings, and some plaster crown molding. There is an abundance of unique exterior and interior trim profiles which complements the character of the home. We utilize natural gas fired boilers for heat and electricity for AC.
When first planning our addition, I tried to put myself through the same experience my clients have when they take on a large project. That means creating a design that meets our needs and stays within budget. The technical challenges during construction have all been manageable because my team of carpenters and subs are all thoughtful and skilled. Problems are anticipated and avoided from the start.
My firm is familiar with radiant heating and we’ve used it in at least half a dozen projects. We have had radiant heating in our kitchen floor dating from the renovation we did in 1992. We found it incredibly comfortable and because of our positive experience we decided to use it in our addition.
We’re aware of other radiant floor options, but we’ve successfully used Warmboard for several clients and have found it to be a well-designed product that performs as expected. We haven’t fired up the radiant system yet, but I expect it will work like a charm once we hit the heating season this year.
Another advantage of using Warmboard is that we weren’t limited on finish floor coverings, so we used a wide variety of floor materials including terracotta tile in the mudroom, stone tile in the bathroom, and tongue-and-groove engineered oak floor in the other rooms.”
We’ll check back with Marc when his project is complete to see how the build wrapped up and how Warmboard is performing.
“Our goal is to create a place that is, in every way possible, yours--whether it is a new home, a large renovation or a small addition. We strive to improve the quality of your family life in spaces we design and build.
At Lasley Brahaney, we have the long-range vision, experience, and passion to create imaginative and thoughtful spaces. Our work is both current and timeless and combines functionality with enduring presence and style.”
- Marc Brahaney
In this installment of Warmboard Works, we talk to Creede and Therese H. who are building a custom home near the town of Creede, Colorado. This picturesque and secluded area of the country is located at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River. Creede and Therese are graciously sharing their experience with us and providing insight into the details of their project.
“Our home is Southwest adobe style and sits at 8,852' elevation. We’re in the Rio Grande National Forest so it is fitting that we have a tree in the house that is both structural and quite unique. The house is 2,600+ sq. ft. heated with Warmboard, not including the shop and garage and our energy source is a propane fired Triangle boiler. The finish floors in the main living areas are porcelain tile and the bedrooms are carpeted.
We first learned about radiant heat from friends who have it in their house and raved about the warm floors and even, consistent heat so I started investigating. Warmboard totally made sense for what we were building, and our decision was made. The temperatures here can get as low as -35°F and we wanted a heating system that could perform comfortably and efficiently.
What I like best about building with Warmboard is the fact that detailed plans of both the panel and tubing layout of the home are included which really helped simplify the installation process.
We turned our system on in January, and the first thing I noticed is the even heat throughout the house. I wasn’t the only one as my contractors said this was the best place to work in the area of all their jobs! At that time, we were running the house as a single zone and drywall was going up. We had been having -24°F days and my boiler wasn’t cycling that much. I had the thermostat set at 62°F and there was not a cold, or even cool spot in the house. It was quite comfortable, and the heat is very even! And the house is well insulated - R42 in the walls and R56+ in the roof because of the isocyanate foam panels that provide slope. Everyone who comes to see the house asks about the Warmboard!
We’re very excited to be moving into our new home! We’re also eagerly awaiting winter to fully enjoy our Warmboard radiant heating system and the all-out comfort it will provide.”
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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!
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.”
At the end of January 2019, fluctuations in the band of frigid Arctic air, known as the polar vortex, brought severe, frigid winter weather to much of the United States and Canada. We checked in with homeowners across this great continent to see how Warmboard did keeping them comfortable, warm, and cozy. We’re elated to share with you the feedback we received!
Recently Wisconsin experienced a stretch of some of the coldest weather in state history. Lows got down to -30°F with wind chills dipping to -60°F. This lasted for over a week! Our Warmboard system not only kept our home warm and comfortable but we never once had to turn on the furnace for extra heat. Time and time again we find ourselves extremely impressed and satisfied with our Warmboard system. Thanks!!
- Erica and Ryan K, Prescott, WI
We are indeed enjoying the Warmboard in this extreme cold weather! One interesting side benefit is that our cats now would rather sleep on the floor than trying to crawl into our bed late at night.
- A.J. P, Colts Neck, NJ
For years my husband and I have always suffered from cold feet in the winter, so when we started plans to build our new home radiant heat seemed like a must have luxury. After doing research we decided to go with Warmboard as the product seemed to be the best solution for us and all the team members we dealt with were very enthusiastic and helpful. The team stayed with us through the whole process - planning, day 1 of install, and even post move-in checkup. Now that we have been living in our house for a few very cold New England months I can say choosing Warmboard was one of the best decisions we made. I can't describe how great it is to walk around and feel the warmth on my toes when the heat is on and to not struggle with cold feet anymore. Warmboard is a luxury that I can now say I can't live without.
- Tammy F, Boylston, MA
We absolutely love our floors and are very happy with the decision to go with Warmboard. Nothing is nicer than stepping on to a nice warm floor on a cold day!
- Brian F, Boylston, MA
Our project is complete and we have been in our new home about four months. There have been several periods of three and four degree weather and our Warmboard did a better than expected job. We were toasty warm and cozy. We couldn’t be happier.
- Jack and Carolyn T, Sparta, NC
We have been very happy with our system. My wife loves the warm floors. Our house does get warm on the sunny days with many windows. On cloudy days the Warmboard system does its job. I’m incredibly satisfied and glad I found and used your system.
- Bob M, Harmony, MN
In this Warmboard Works, we hear from Alex Z. in Pennsylvania, who built his house back in 2005 using Warmboard and has never looked back. He is graciously sharing his experience living in a 3,700 sq ft Warmboard home for over a decade and will explain the main reasons why he selected a Warmboard radiant heating system.
“I’ve been a Warmboard customer for nearly 15 years now and I am an extremely happy customer!!!
When I bought my house, I knew it was a total rebuild. I spent many months researching and designing my new home, carefully selecting all of the products that went into the build. I chose Warmboard for a few reasons (not in any particular order):
1) The rebuild meant I had to replace nearly 4000 sq ft of subfloor and I wanted to put in radiant heat. Without Warmboard, I could not have afforded to do both! The incremental cost (at the time) was 15% higher than just a standard subfloor but I got both radiant heat and my subfloor at once! It also sped up the build time, which was very important.
2) My house was designed at about 4000 sq ft, however, there is A LOT of volume in my house. Most of the ceilings are roughly 14 feet high. No other method of heat, other than radiant, was going to give me the comfort I wanted. With Warmboard I also got equal heat distribution across the entire floor…there are no warm/cold spots, especially near the edge of the house (exterior walls).
3) What I was surprised at after the fact was the efficiency! I have a very small boiler for my house size (it’s 80k BTU’s for both domestic hot water and heat!) yet I get heat from the floor in about 30 minutes. Additionally, my heating costs are extremely low. By running the water through the floor at 110 degrees my heating costs are about $150-170/month. Conversely, my AC bills are always over $500/month in the summer!!!
I can’t directly compare my current heating costs to my pre-Warmboard heating costs as we went from oil heat/radiators to Warmboard, powered by natural gas. The home also increased in size from 1,380 sq ft to 3,700 sq ft.
I value the comfort my Warmboard radiant heating system gives me and have been thrilled with the phenomenal performance all these years. I anticipate another 15 years of enjoyment and satisfaction!”