Warmboard Information from the Sales Operation Manager.
Warmboard, Inc. makes a unique product in the radiant heat industry. They produce aluminum plated subflooring. Instead of installing the subfloor, and then fitting the hydronic system above or below the subfloor, Warmboard is the subfloor.
Essentially, this is a product that has a low thermal mass, but high conductivity. You add this instead subfloor instead of plywood floors for a radiant heat system.
The flooring is plywood with grooves cut into the subfloor. Then thick aluminum along with a protective paint is placed over the grooves as well as the plywood. The final step involves placing PEX aluminum PEX tubing into the floor.
Now the floor is ready for any surface you want to place directly above.
As I was searching for more information on Warmboard, Inc, I decided to go right to the source and call the company direct. Immediately, I was connected to Casey Kunselman, Sales Operation Manager for Warmboard, Inc. I canít tell you how refreshing it was to have my questions answered with one simple phone call.
Below is a summary of the conversation I had with the Casey Kunselman.
David Tiefenthaler - What if I decided to use Warmboard. Would I still need a regular furnace?
Casey Kunselman - Not necessarily - It depends upon what you desire. It depends upon your heating needs. Warmboard can definitely heat the entire structure, so you donít have to have a furnace for heating forced air. Warmboard is a whole-home heating solution, no furnace is needed. You will need a boiler, which will also handle domestic hot water.
DT - What about Air Conditioning? Usually central air connects to the duct work with the furnace.
CK - You can use systems where the air drops down from above. These are actually more efficient because cold air falls. For A/C we recommend a small duct high-velocity system such as Unico.
DT - What is the total cost when using this radiant heating system?
CK - A typical forced air furnace heating solution costs about $5 to $6 per square foot, complete, installed. With Warmboard, or any radiant solution, the total cost, including all materials and labor, is between $10-$15 per square foot installed. Warmboard itself is about half that.
DT - Do you have to insulate below?
CK - Yes - Itís always best to insulate below the floor. We recommend a minimum of R19.
DT - What about heating up a basement? Should you raise up for Warmboard, or use radiant heat in the concrete?
CK - No, use Portland Cement for the basement - Not Gypsum. With Gypsum there is air whipped into the substance. This isnít nearly as good as a conductor as Portland Cement. You can still use the Warmboard system as the subfloor above, and also install hydronic radiant heat in the basement. We actually recommend putting concrete heat in the basement slab as long as you use Portland Cement.
DT - I am always worried about puncturing the heating system, such as I drive a nail through the tubing on accident. Is it easy to fix?
CK - Yes one way is to correct the mistake from below. That way you donít have to tamper with the floor up above. Once the leak is located you can fix that section of tubing. There is not a lot of water that run through these systems. It wouldnít be like their was water gushing all over. It wouldnít be like there was water gushing all over. There are .9 gallons of water per 100 lineal ft of tubing. We recommend pressurizing the system with air during construction to keep an eye on any tubing damage before the finish floor goes down.
DT - What type of tubing do you recommend?
CK - We always recommend PEX aluminum PEX tubing. Please see attached installation guide on page three.
DT - How do you control the heat?
CK - You can have any number of heating zones. All you need would be a thermostat to control each area. Each room can be controlled separately.
During our conversation Casey also asked me a few questions about why I was interested in Warmboard and how I came to learn about it.
CK - How did you find out about our product?
DT - A general internet search. I remember specifically watching a video of the inventor of Warmboard, Terry Alsberg, speaking about his product at a builders expo.
CK - Yes. Iíve watched that video too. Why are you interested in this product?
DT - Heating concrete didnít seem like a great idea for an entire home? I didnít understand the concept of using a large thermal mass. Concrete would be slow to heat up. It would seem like a flawed system.
CK - Yes. Aluminum is a much better conductor. Letís say someone has a blowtorch. Would you block the heat with a sheet of aluminum or a slab of concrete? Now that is why we use aluminum. It is a better conductor of heat. It has a faster response time and can deliver the heat much easier.
Watch this system being installed below, or for more information, visit the Warmboard website.
- Warmboard Pricing
- Warmboard Uses
- Warmboard and Bamboo Flooring
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