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 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
Dorgan & Zuck Contractors has been in business for 31 years and is experienced with many types of construction projects. We have encountered many suppliers, sub-contractors, and products; some standard and some brand new and untested.
For various reasons we had never been able to work with Warmboard products before. An architect out of Manhattan, New York who was a C.M. on a multimillion dollar restoration project where we were the G.C., recommended Warmboard products for the various floors in an Historic farmhouse. The client had made his mark in the world by having a very high standard and uncompromising view. This necessitated a need on our part to have a support team and product that could provide the information, design, efficiency, and ease of use to satisfy these demands. [Your Sales staff] and Warmboard products met and exceeded those requirements. The floors were of various natural wood, tile, and granite, and all experienced great results.
Warmboard and their staff were accessible, informative, and adaptable and in the end, helped make us successful in that area of need. We are glad to have worked with Warmboard and hope to use [Warmboard] in other projects.
Dorgan & Zuck Building Contractors, Inc.
325 Cottage Hill Road
York, PA 17401
Phone: (717) 848-2932
Fax: (717) 843-4293
In this Warmboard Works we hear from Louis Lu of Helios Roofing in Burnaby, British Columbia.
“The existing house has 2 stories and 50 years old. The previous heating system used forced-air heat, and the ducting was claiming a lot of space, especially in the attic. The owner wanted to increase the available space inside the house, but were not able to change its physical size of the structure. The homeowner was considering radiant heating as an option.
We had the architect and interior designer to do some research on radiant heating, and they foundWarmboard. The architect recommended Warmboard-S because it could be used as the subfloor and the control systems would take up a minimal amount of space. The homeowner agreed and the project began.
We gutted the entire interior of the house and rebuilt with LVL beams (and Warmboard) to create open spaces throughout. We completely transformed an traditional single-family house into a modern smart home, with all the latest technology built inside.
Along with Helios Homes and Contracting Ltd., we redid the structural, the framing, the roof, insulation, drywall the landscaping and even the swimming pool. The house contains all new plumbing, heating, lighting and an array of smart entertainment features (alarms, 3D home movie theater, smartphone and touch screen home monitoring systems, retractable vacuum system, zoned background music via bluetooth, and a piano stage with wireless mini microphones inside) along with a cigar and wine cellar, gym, sauna and massage table, pool table and more. It is an incredible 6000 square foot home, and it is all covered with Warmboard.”
In this Warmboard Works, Jeff Persons of Geo Source One Inc. talks to us about his renovation of the “Rock House”. Located on property obtained through a land grant from the American Revolutionary War, the home was built while the area was still Indian Territory. Rather than tearing the home down, the structure was maintained and underwent an extensive renovation. The structure is entirely radiant heated and has a total of 8 zones to maximize comfort and control.
“We are geothermal systems contractors, and geothermal equipment is a perfect match for Warmboard. We’re strictly low temperature hydronics folks here, we don’t get into a lot of high temperature type situations. Because we’re working with high-efficiency condensing boilers and so forth, it’s important to keep those temperatures as low as possible.
Warmboard has been excellent to work with. It is the very best way to utilize geothermal equipment for managing a radiant floor particularly when you’ve got wood frame construction.
Also, just the ease of tubing installation in a Warmboard project. I like being able to use the linoleum roller to press the tubes into the channel and follow things around; and it’s not difficult to route new channels to get from one area to another. The whole ease of working with the product really stands out to me, not to mention your team has always been excellent. I credit you folks with your patience with homeowners and architects that make changes and then the drawings have to be repeatedly changed. In some instances we’ll have revision 1, revision 2, revision 3, and every time it comes back and its perfect.
This is not our first rodeo with Warmboard; we’ve had others, all of them excellent. I’m about to make a trip back to Ohio to finish off another project that used Warmboard in several areas. I’m looking forward to that visit and getting that project off of our books to make room for the next [Warmboard] one.”
Geo Source One Inc. provides Columbus, Ohio geothermal products and solutions and are proud to be the full service provider for WaterFurnace brand products in the Columbus, Ohio community. Their geothermal resource center has a lot of information on the benefits of what the Earth has to offer. Whatever your needs are, routine maintenance, equipment repair, or a complete comfort system, their highly trained staff has the expertise to help. Let them install a geothermal solution that utilizes the clean, green, renewable energy stored in your backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling, and hot water costs.
geosourceone @ rrohio.com
For this Warmboard Works we spoke with Jerry Chwierut of JC Heating and Cooling in Hodgkins, Illinois.
"There are many aspects to look at when choosing the right product for our clients. Our company’s success comes from quick response and reaction time to our customers needs as well as our own fulfillment and productivity. The Warmboard company and products were very much in line with ours. Working with Warmboard has been a great experience. They offer great pricing along with a high quality product.
Warmboard is affordable, but it is among the more expensive radiant heat systems. But this is due mainly to its general excellence of standard, especially with its thick aluminum. One of our great experiences with Warmboard was the ease of installation process. Compared to Complete Radiant, it is unbelievably convenient, without any additional work input, where the other product requires extra labor in trimming or gluing with additional installations. Working with Warmboard cut down our working times allowing us to do a better quality job overall and to be more productive on the site.”
Our company is happy when our customers are satisfied. I would recommend Warmboard not only to our customers, but definitely to our own households and businesses which are looking for a good quality product of an upper grade. Warmboard, besides the aspects we have mentioned earlier, is a reliable radiant heating system with a smart design and energy efficiency. Our customers are satisfied with the decreased energy use, and we appreciate the quick installation time."
JC Heating and Cooling
7099 Santa Fe Dr, Ste G,
JC Heating & Cooling, Inc. is a family owned company founded in 1997 on the principle that the business would be based on three fundamentals – Quality, Honesty and Integrity. This continues to be their business model. JC Heating & Cooling, Inc. is dedicated to building a team of outstanding individuals committed to provide premium quality products & service while delivering the highest level of value with constant focus on 100% customer satisfaction.
The Yellow House in Carbondale, Colorado is a unique project designed specifically for adults with autism. As such, extensive design considerations were made to ensure the house would accommodate individuals with a wide spectrum of sensory sensitivities. One factor of particular importance is air movement, which some individuals have a heightened sensitivity towards. Warmboard provided a huge benefit over forced-air systems in this regard. Also of concern is the climate. Located just a few miles from Aspen, the Yellow House required a heat source that would be able to quickly and efficiently heat a home when the weather changes rapidly or drops to single digit temperatures.
“The Yellow House is something that has evolved over the last decade or so. Eleven or twelve years ago they started a summer sports program where they would rent dorms at a local college. These summer camps eventually evolved into skiing and snowboarding camps in the winter. Flash forward and all of these 12 and 13 year olds who had been coming to camp for years and years were growing into young adults with no place to go for the assistance and support they need. Basically, we’re trying to find a solution, other than a group home or institution, for all of these people with autism entering adulthood; which is starting to number in the millions every year. We are trying to find a new solution; one better than the old institution and group home system from the 50’s and 60’s which has never really been overhauled. For some of these young adults with more pronounced behaviors, it’s hard for them to live in a community or home because most will kick them out if they run away, self-injure, etc. So we are trying to design a model that is a safe place for these adults who would otherwise be institutionalized. A lot of that was accomplished through the construction; planning space and color schemes. This includes anything from the safety of windows and blinds on the interior, to EMF free zones in the bedrooms, heated floors, sound-proof walls, and close monitoring systems with cameras in the public areas and microphones in the bedrooms to conserve privacy in their private places. The remodel was extensive – every single wall and floor was moved except for the stone living room; even the stairwell was moved. There is huge demand for houses like these. Four months in, a young woman that I teach skiing to was having some behavior issues and came and spent time at the Yellow House. Now her father is willing to foot the bill for a second one; and that’s only four months in. He is like so many parents we encounter. They make it through those teenage years and then their child is in their 20’s and all of a sudden their parent’s are like, ‘Now what do I do? They’re adults and they’re going to outlive me.’ We haven’t even really finished the Yellow House yet but we’re already in plans for a second because there is so much need. We must figure out how to care for this group of people who are physically healthy but need assistance mentally. These folks are going to live to be 80 or 90 just like everybody else. Warmboard is great. We have it in our ADU as well as the main house and I love the theory behind it. It just makes sense to heat where your feet are and you are, and not to blow hot air into a room and into the ceiling. It also provides some insulation, because there are lots of people that like to jump as part of their ‘stimming' (self-stimulation) and it helps with the sound so that it doesn’t sound like a beating drum when you’re jumping on the second level. Warmboard has been really responsive and comfortable. It’s fun when people who aren’t used to heated floors, or Warmboard, stay in the house and they say, ‘Oh, this is really nice.’ It’s just been wonderful.”
High Mark Development
“Every person who is on the autism spectrum has a unique set of experiences, and so we have to cater to that and try to minimize the effects of the sensory issues. We did a lot of research with EMF (electromagnetic frequencies) and minimizing electric current running through the house through different types of systems. The heating is a big deal with that, so while it may just be coincidence that Warmboard is helpful negating some of the sensory issues, that’s important to point out. That was part of the process, sitting down as a design team and concluding that Warmboard was really going to help negate some of these potential sensory issues. Also, we do a lot of radiant in-floor heating in this part of the country, and its pretty easily sold in terms of the concept. We are at a higher altitude and generally our winters are colder than in other parts of the country. Once people get used to it, they kind of get spoiled to it. That was certainly one of the factors. Another thing that probably had a lot to do with our decision was the ease of installation. While a couple of my contractors were familiar with Warmboard, others were not, but the installation kit made it easy for everyone. They thought it was going to take much longer than it did, and it actually took less time than anticipated. That was definitely helpful. The design process went well, and what we ordered is what showed up. The plans were well thought out, the product works well and we were able to tailor everything to our specific project. I think that’s a huge deal. With a forced hot air heating system, if you’re going to keep a house warm, you’ve really got to run the thing a lot - especially in this climate. If it gets down to low temperatures, twenties and teens and zeroes, and less, the heating system is going to be running a tremendous amount of the time. The radiant heat allows for less movement and less sensitivity to it. And I know in the future we’ll be using your product again regardless of whether it’s a house that involves people with autism or just a run of the mill project. The design and considerations of the Yellow House are for a very specific clientele, and while we build for anyone, this project is… I don’t want to call it unique, but it’s certainly rare. That being said, there is a high prevalence of people on the autism spectrum, and every year there are more and more people, so as we get into the future houses such as this one are going to become more common.”
Green Line Architects
“We like the idea of using radiant heating in the floor. It’s an efficient system, as compared to other heating options, because you’re heating the floor itself and the space people are occupying. Because this was a remodel, we also liked that we didn’t have to tear out the floor, we could simply install Warmboard on the existing sheathing. It was pretty straightforward and added some strength and additional structure to the floor. We felt this was a much better alternative to a Staple-Up kind of condition because we know that Warmboard allows for a better distribution of heat over the entire service. Also with Staple-Up it’s hard to get access either from the floor joists or the room below. And comparing it to radiant tubes being put into a gypsum concrete or lightweight concrete slab, here we didn’t have to factor in additional loading from the slab, so that was nice. We didn’t have to think about the extra weight concrete would add to what is essentially a turn of the century structure. Plus the ability to get an efficient in-floor heating system that’s hydronic; I think that’s the ideal scenario for us. We get better zoning with hydronic, and in addition to the points mentioned earlier about heating the space that people are occupying, with forced air you get stratification and other issues. Not to mention the fact that we didn’t have to put in a lot of ductwork. We paired the radiant in-floor heating system with an HRV, and the HRV ducting is simple, just six inch solid and flex ducts which are easy to route in an existing structure. I like the concept of Warmboard and I’ve been trying to find a good project for it. Now that we’ve done a successful installation we’ll certainly recommend it again. I’d like to follow up with the contractor and see what the costs are but I believe it’s going to be very comparable to other types of radiant systems, especially in remodel situations. As you know, this is a unique project. And it’s a fascinating to see how the needs of people with autism differ from a more typical kind of project we are involved in. We learned a great deal and will continue to learn as we evaluate how the Yellow House performs. I’m just happy that we’ve been able to use good mechanical and electrical systems that meet their needs. We also looked into a lot of other things such as the durability of products and the ease of cleaning various surfaces, and Warmboard fit well into that entire spec scenario. There was a side benefit to the aluminum in Warmboard. We were thinking we might have to shield between floors, but decided it was unnecessary because we already have an aluminum layer as part of Warmboard, so that’s kind of a neat thing. We’re very excited about getting to use the product and will certainly be recommending it in the future. We’ll also be evaluating the performance over time so we should check back in a year or so and see how everything’s working. We are looking forward to doing more projects like this to be honest with you.”