Monday, October 4, 2010

Heating Up

 It's damp outside, there's a chill in the air, and heat comes to mind. I can already imagine that faint smell of the dust burning off the baseboards (no, I don't move the furniture and vacuum the elements of the baseboard heaters). One thing I want at home is radiant heat, which we installed as part of this project.

The hallways seemed narrow, but needed to be heated. For brief moments, I wondered if we really needed to heat those small areas, but after spending some cold days there, there was no doubt the halls needed heating. Baseboards seemed clunky and I just envisioned them getting trashed in no time, with things being moved in and out and trying to maneuver those tight spaces. We went with the option of underfloor heating, running PEX tubing (polyethylene), over the sub floor and under the tile, throughout the halls and in the basement.


Installation starts out with prepping the sub floor with moisture barriers and wire mesh. They are rolled out to cover the sub floor surface, similar to the way carpeting is laid out. Next came the rolls of PEX tubing. This starts out as a neatly rolled coil and ends up looking like a big mess of spaghetti as you work with it. As it is being unraveled, the tubing is placed over the grid in loopy snakelike patterns and is secured to the grid with tie wraps, so the tubing will lay flat in the placement pattern.


After, a layer of cement is poured, in order to provide a level surface to install the floor on. From there, floor installation proceeds as usual. I don't know the technical aspects of feeding this into the heating unit (this is where a plumber's expertise comes in), but some sort of a fluid is cycled through the tubes, which are then connected to the boiler. The result is an evenly heated area, without signs of any heaters in sight.

For me, the benefits are no baseboards getting in your way, having a nice toasty feel wherever you are, since the heat is laid under the entire area (rather than a heater running along one wall of the room), and no scent of burning dust. Now if only I get this installed at home...


  1. that's pretty awesome. I've love to see how it looks now (if it's all decorated and cute looking)

  2. The work is finished, but I still haven't figured out what I want to do with that space. I'll dig out pictures :)