Winterburn Construction, California

"Warmboard has become my company’s and my client’s preferred radiant flooring heat option over the last fifteen years.

Warmboard makes installation of their product easy for first time users. The product is delivered directly to your construction site equipped with plans for layout and an installation kit. You will need two people to install the product with ease; simply follow the plans provided, each sheet fits together like a puzzle and installation actually becomes fun. One tip to first time installers: frame exterior walls, install tubing then frame interior walls.

From our engineering and building perspective there is no comparable product. Warmboard, replaces traditional subfloor and reduces the weight factor of gypsum concrete, thus significantly lowering engineering and construction costs. Ultimately, you’re provided a superior subfloor material.

From our client’s perspective, we have only had positive feedback. Warmboard radiates the heat back up instead of into the flooring system; it’s covered with a sheet of aluminum that reflects the heat upward. The energy costs for our clients are significantly lowered by Warmboard’s energy efficiency.

Architects, engineers, builders and homeowners I’ve worked with like Warmboard because it lowers building costs providing the client with a substantially superior product to traditional radiant heat flooring."

John Winterburn
Winterburn Construction
831.462.5792
winterburnconstruction.com

 

The Yellow House: For Adults with Autism, COLORADO

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.

 

Scott Schlicter
House Manager

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.”

Jim Pidcock
High Mark Development
Builder

“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.”

Steve Novy
Green Line Architects
Architect

“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.”

 

The Boiler Guys, Toronto

In this Warmboard Works we hear Alex Genzer of The Boiler Guys speak about a remodel project in Toronto. They had initially chosen an alternative radiant heating method for their home but decided to make a last minute switch to Warmboard due to several concerns about Staple-up.

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

“I’ve done a couple of Warmboard jobs now and they’ve all been really good. With this job we were originally asked to do Staple-up throughout the whole house, but there were several concerns with the floor which the original general contractor didn’t notice. The quick and easy solution was to put in Warmboard.

Once we made the switch, it went very smoothly. Probably the quickest install I’ve ever done. The people doing the subfloor were able to put it down in about a day, and then I came in and laid the tubing down.

The great thing about Warmboard is that the tubing took me only a couple of hours to lay down. It literally clips right into the grooves. I ran it to the mechanical room and had it pressurized all within a couple of hours, whereas other systems you usually have to budget the whole day.

The fact that we can install the systems very quickly compared to traditional ways is a definite benefit when using Warmboard. Speed of install is so precious here. You’re not on your knees as long, and the tools are much simpler. We don’t need zip ties, we don’t need staples, and they have that weighted roller for the tubing. It literally takes one person with an unwinder and PEX. It goes down as quick as anything else, and it’s cleaner than anything else. Not to mention it actually looks cooler because the pipe is dead straight, absolutely straight, and then it turns and the radiuses are perfect. Even the ‘Wow Factor’ you get when the customer sees the nice, new job is something you just don’t experience with Staple-up.

I’ve also noticed that the average temperature for water with Warmboard is lower than Staple-up or Onyx systems. We can do around 80 or 90 degree water temperatures with Warmboard whereas any other system you’d have to do up to 140 degrees. Everyone in the hydronics trade knows that the lower the water temperature the more efficient [the system] becomes, and Warmboard has the lowest water temperatures. It just does.

A lot of people are initially deterred by the fact that it is a more expensive product. But then you compare it to other systems that require other stuff. For instance engineering has to be done differently, we need to create bigger joists, we need a floor leveler, etc., – it just becomes a big nightmare. When you really compare it, it’s around the same price at the end of the day.

So when other customers are talking about the price I let them know that when they choose this product early on, the initial part of the job might be a little more than doing in-floor concrete or Staple-up. However, when you consider the fact that we don’t need all of those other trades to accomplish the same thing, it actually ends up being around the same price. And once I install it the customers love it. They love it and we love it.”

The Boiler Guys fulfill jobs of any capacity whether it is boiler repair, Warmboard installation, radiator replacement, in-floor radiant heating, snowmelt or any service to do with hydronic heating. The products they use are of the highest quality. The manufacturers they work with stand by them to provide the best customer service and the most effective solution for cost and energy efficiency.  The Boiler Guys’ seasoned knowledge and years of experience is there to help ensure every client makes a wise, informed decision with each project. This is Alex and his team’s mission, and it’s their vision to continue to serve for years to come. Find them at theboilerguys.com or call 1-877-836-6708.

Michael Diacon, SASKATCHEWAN

This Warmboard Works features the addition/renovation of a home in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan by the homeowner. The project included an overhaul of the old heating system to make way for a more effective, energy efficient alternative.


It was during the renovation and addition to our house that we decided to a look at updating our heating system.  One of my sisters had had in-floor heating in a couple of her houses, so I was familiar with the concept and had always enjoyed it.  After some research we decided to go with in-floor heating, partially due to efficiency; furnaces tend not to be as efficient as hot water heat, and partially due to the difference in comfort.

This prompted research into the various methods of in-floor heat: staple-up, lay-down, the one where you pour concrete over top, etc. And then I came across Warmboard.  As I continued researching I realized that Warmboard was the most efficient at distributing heat. That’s what sold me in the end.

I did the majority of the installation work myself, however I did have a couple of individuals with some experience working on construction projects. They were impressed with how easily the Warmboard-R went down, as well as how heavy and sound the Warmboard-S panels were. Everyone that either helped with the installation process or witnessed it was quite impressed with the ease of it all.

Most remarkable though, is the follow-up from the company. Warmboard has been in touch with me many times over the course of the project. Right from the beginning when I first sent the query in, through the completion of the project, down to an email a few days ago asking for feedback and input. The company looks after you every step of the way.

I turned the heat on in March, so we’re just ending a full year of heating. It’s been wonderful to walk from one area to another and feel nice, comfortable warmth. Even my wife has commented how evenly heated it is, and the lack of cold spots. I’ve also noticed that when I don’t have all of the loops on, as I walk from one area to another I can actually feel the difference walking from a warm area into a cool one. Not just the heat on the floor, but the actual space itself feels much cooler. I’m very impressed with how well it keeps the whole house warm.


Michael Diacon is a journeyman electrician with 30 years experience, currently working for SaskPolyTech training 2nd, 3rd and 4th-year apprentices as well as running an electrical contracting company, 4D Electric, with his daughter and son-in-law.

306.631.4867
WWmdiacon7 [at] icloud.com

Jason Mancuso, CALGARY

This installment takes us to Calgary, where homeowner Jason Mancuso discusses his experience with different radiant heat methods, and why he chose Warmboard for inclusion in his 5,100 square foot custom home.

Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary

We knew from the very beginning that we would be using in-floor heating in our home. Living in a radiant floor heated house is not new to me so I was familiar with the upfront costs, as well as the long-term benefits. I had built a couple of homes with my dad, tried a few other methods, and then we sort of stumbled upon Warmboard.

I liked the different approach that Warmboard took. We have experience with placing pipe underneath the house, and we’ve also put it into Styrofoam and then poured lightweight concrete over-top. By contrast, Warmboard is a different method, and even before using it I could see that it was a lot easier for installation. It took a lot less prep as far as the framing is concerned, and it doesn’t change anything about the construction process.

The whole installation process is very natural. There wasn’t much prep-work needed. You already have to lay down a tongue and groove subfloor, so nothing really changes from the construction side until you put the piping in. After speaking with the contractors and different framing crews they confirmed that the procedure of building the house was the same as they were used to. There’s no interruption, no waiting for things to get done so that a contractor can come in. Everything flowed the way that it should. That was probably the best part about Warmboard, that it was very natural to the building process.

The only thing I would maybe do differently, through no fault of the product, is that through construction you get a lot of dirt and debris into the channel-way. By the time you’re ready to lay the pipe down you will have to spend some time vacuuming and cleaning to make sure the channels are nice and smooth. A bit of that was because we were building through the winter months, which obviously tend to be muddier and dirtier. Next time I will consider laying some ¼” sheeting over top immediately after it’s put down to protect it and minimize the dirt that gets in the grooves. It’s not really a fault in the product; it’s just a factor of when we built and how building procedures go.

We’ve been in the house for about 6-7 months now, so we’ve been able to experience the heat, especially right now in the colder winter months. We’re starting to get some –20ºC (–4ºF) days and the Warmboard has been great.

My parent’s house, where I grew up, had the pipes laid underneath the floor into concrete on the basement level, and in my parent’s temporary home, it was done with lightweight concrete over-top. In both cases, the response time was slow – between 1-2 hours. If you tweak the temperature you’re not going to feel it for a long while.

Now that we have Warmboard, you tweak the temperature and within 20-30 minutes you’re definitely feeling the house really increase in temperature. It’s much more responsive, much quicker, which in turn means you can turn it up a degree or two, warm it up, and turn it right back down again. You don’t have to leave it on for two hours, which keeps energy costs down.

I would recommend it; I might even use it in a future project. It’s not necessarily a product I’d use in a home I just plan on reselling. But as far as my own home, it’s probably one of the best features of the house. The house is very consistent, very clean, no dust floating around because there is no forced air. I would recommend to anyone building their own home to definitely use hydronic heat, and then furthermore to use Warmboard. It’s just a great way to heat your home, especially in our parts of the world where we get six plus months of subzero temperatures. And it definitely does keep your heating bill down, I can tell you that much.