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Radiant Floor Panels

hot_rod Member Posts: 22,105
I like the light weight and easy cutting. I like the continous aluminum layer. I like the foam layer for some r value and "soft' feel.

I expect performance to be as good or better then the others. Probably more along the lines of Warmboard with wall to wall aluminum.

hot rod
Bob "hot rod" Rohr
trainer for Caleffi NA
Living the hydronic dream


  • L'town radiant
    L'town radiant Member Posts: 36

    I'm familiar with a few of the manufactured radiant floor panels such as quik-track and warmboard. Could you guys help me out and fill me in on who else is out there with similar products?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Tom Kane
    Tom Kane Member Posts: 56
    another manufacturer is

    Rehau's Raupanel http://na.rehau.com/files/RAUPANEL_Sales_Support_Tool.pdf
  • scott markle_2
    scott markle_2 Member Posts: 611
    aluminum plates

    here is a link to an interesting experiment, that address questions of best placment of aluminum plates.


    From this it looks like the plates on top is the best way to go, aka. warmboard, roth, raupanel vs. quick track, climate panel
  • Andrew Hagen_2
    Andrew Hagen_2 Member Posts: 236
    Sheet Metal Plates

    One item worth noting is that he used the thin sheet metal plates that have poor contact with the tube. My guess is that in the "plate under sleeper" test, the plate was actually preventing the tube from coming into contact with the finished floor. In the "plate under finished floor" test, I believe the increased temperature was due to the plate holding the tube in contact with the finished floor.

    I question the amount of heat spreading that these sheet metal plates do. I view them more as tube holders.
  • scott markle_2
    scott markle_2 Member Posts: 611

    Andrew, you may be right. I have a hard time accepting these conclusions my self. One difference is the thickness of the plywood spacer 3/4" inch in this experiment as opposed to 1/2" for quick track. The plates are .019 thick. I don't think quick track is much thicker, and he does use silicon. Included is a link to the home built forming jig he uses to make these plates. This guy seems smart and his websight has some very interesting links worth taking a look at. I'm not sure how well these home built plates would hold the tubing in place during installation.


    As far as anyone knows has there been any independent lab testing comparing the actual outputs different products?
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790

    I know of no testing that independently rates all of the available products.

    I have seen and felt this with extruded aluminum Thermofin-U, and there is a difference between above and below the sleeper. In fact, Thermofin-U was designed for the above the sleeper method. However, it also increases thermal striping, and in my experience hardwood guys get pretty nervous about having heated aluminum strips directly beneath the hardwood. Granted, part of it was that the plates are .050" thick. Quik Trak should work better than the sheet metal plate method because of the silicone bond, but silicone really isn't a great conductor. Contact with the tube is critical.

    I think Warmboard and Thermofin-U & C are the best methods for dry radiant floor installation. The Roth panel is interesting, particularly for retrofit over existing concrete.
  • Michael_6
    Michael_6 Member Posts: 50

    The testing for the info in the graphs was done by Virginia Tech
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    I'll buy

    what that brochure says. The output numbers for extruded plates match what I have for 1/2" Thermofin @ 8" oc. Raupanel is 6" wide. Thinfin is 3-1/2" wide. The wild card is that the cost difference is considerable between Raupanel and Thermofin. Also, put Thermofin-U on top of the sleepers, and the numbers are nearly the same as Raupanel, which intuitively makes sense. Raupanel has the edge for ease of installation, but I have heard some talk on The Wall of expansion noise issues. They do seem to decrease with time.

    From what I can tell, Rehau is a very thorough company. They do also sell the Thinfin extruded plates for below the floor applications.
  • Glenn Sossin_2
    Glenn Sossin_2 Member Posts: 592
    Another option ? Plates above the floor

    Although I know of no formal testing/output data, I have had several customers now electing to add a 2nd layer of 3/4 plywood to the sub floor, cut a groove with a router, and put in the lightwieght aluminum plates with wood ontop.

    The customers that have done this indicate they feel the floors can run with much lower temperatures than quik-trak or joist plate heating. It makes sense, since the heat source is closer to the surface. It also has the benefit of reducted head loss since you can use 1/2" tubing if you want.

    Sometimes, this course of action is the result of trying to match up floor heights with an adjacent mud job. The 2nd layer of plwood at 3/4" plus 3/4 planking adds 11/2". The adjacent mudjob with 11/4" of mud + 3/8" tile come pretty close to each other.

    It also makes for a very evenly heated and strong floor. These pics will show a typical above the floor plate installation.
  • scott markle_2
    scott markle_2 Member Posts: 611

    Glen, thats a nice looking install, Who makes those plates and how thick are they? Seems like a lot of work with the router.
    how does the pex wrangling compare to quick trak. obviously the 1/2" pipe is more difficult to deal with but it also seems like it might be hard to keep things in place while putting the tube down, any tips on sequence etc. While I can imagine this might perform better than quick trak, it seems like any savings in materials would be absorbed by the extra labor. Would you agree?
  • Andrew Hagen_2
    Andrew Hagen_2 Member Posts: 236
    Above or Below

    The same can be done with extruded plates, and yes the labor is the killer on above the subfloor installations. Unfortunately the materials can also be a killer. Plywood is not cheap.

    For these reasons, I would always install the radiant system below the subfloor unless access was restricted. Ther performance is still excellent, and it avoids many of the construction difficulties associated with adding the thickness of the radiant panel to the subfloor.
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Andrew, what is ........

    ........the finished floor going to be in pics 0007 & 0008?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"

    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Andrew Hagen_2
    Andrew Hagen_2 Member Posts: 236
    Finished floor

    He installed hardwood over that u-fin. As I remember, he used concrete Fix-It-All to mud in the return bends. The radiant floor was installed by the homeowner. He did an excellent job. The return bends are .050" thicker than the sleepers to give a level base for the hardwood. he used ring-shank nails through the fin and put construction adhesive between the fins before laying down the sleepers. In my experience, the construction adhesive is unnecessary, but I dont think it hurt anything. The ring shank nails worked fine.

  • I don't buy what this brochure says AT ALL.

    There is no possible way MDF board with foil (thermalboard) can outperform gypsum, roth, and warmboard. No way under the sun, and I don't really care how charitable you want to be, that is very obviously BS.

    Furthermore, there is NO WAY quik trak also outperforms warmboard. I know for a fact this is not true, as I have both types of projects out there, and while their charts may not be perfect, our indoor feedback systems get water temperatures to roughly the lowest they can be.. and warmboard whups quik trak like a red headed stepchild, period.

    Raupanel is an EXCELLENT product, no doubt. But that study is complete bull.
  • Glenn Sossin_2
    Glenn Sossin_2 Member Posts: 592
    Plates above the floor

    I've had several contractors opt to install the plates above the floor in a 2nd layer of plywood. Again, part of the motive is to build the floor up when it butts against another higher surface like a tile mud job.

    As far as labor, I've had 3 jobs for, one against. The plates we sell come from Embassy industries. They snap very tightly around the pex which makes for an better draw off of the heat energy passing through. I think it works better than climate panel or quick trak just because of the larger transmission surface area being directly under the finished flooring, and because we can use a larger size pex, either 1/2 or 3/8, thereby reducing head loss, and potentially fewer manifold connections because of longer loop lengths.

    When I use in the heat loss / design programs, I treat it as a thin concrete slab. So far works perfectly fine.

  • L'town radiant
    L'town radiant Member Posts: 36
    Warm Board

    From what I understand Warmboard requires that PEX-AL-PEX tubing must be used for thier panels. Yet I see pictures in thier literature that shows normal PEX being used. Does anyone know what the story is here?

  • they used to have approved PEX products, with silicon.

    Now, they only recommend PEX-AL-PEX, with no silicone.
  • Jack Waller
    Jack Waller Member Posts: 31
    Andrew Hagen's pics

    Andrew it looks to me like the pex is well protected except maybe tin could be added over the 90 degree bend points. What would stop a person from installing carpet right over the plywood. Is having the metal under the plywood much of a negative other than slowing the speed of response. I would like to add floor radiant on an existing mainfloor with no access underneath.

  • Andrew Hagen_2
    Andrew Hagen_2 Member Posts: 236

    Carpet is generally not that radiant-friendly to start with because of its insulating qualities, though it can work if the heat load does not exceed what the floor can supply. I would recommend installing a thin sheet of plywood or maybe OSB to make sure the tube runs dont become visible in the carpet as it wears.

    The return bends get filled in with mortar to prevent any expansion noise caused by the pex moving on the wood. Greating 180° bends in the aluminum is quite difficult.

    Having the plates beneath the plywood sleepers does slow the response. However it also helps to reduce thermal striping that becomes more prevalent when the aluminum is directly beneath the finished floor.

  • you're also adding an R 1.0 over your heating element you don't need, which has a real impact on water temperatures too. That's the difference between a wood floor and an R2 carpet and pad combo.. which could mean different things depending on heat load.

    We just do tighter on centers with thermofin U to reduce heat striping concerns. But I have to say, to use a high output plate and then put it under the wood.. that seems pretty counterproductive. I'd just as soon use a lightweight on top of the wood... roughly, it would be a wash from a water temperature perspective.
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