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Major renovation -

LilT Member Posts: 8
I am doing a major renovation to my home and there will be wood flooring throughout the house (except bathroom). My plumber suggested putting radiant heat throughout the house but the wood flooring I like does not support radiant and he told me the next best thing would be panel radiators (in his opinion). He told me to pick out the style I like and to buy the material and he will install.

I have done some research, and I came across this brand, Myson Inc. Do they make quality radiators? Their pricing seems to be right around where I want to spend. Also, they seem to sell directly to the end users. Runtal was my 1st choice but it is too pricey for me.


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,569
    More info

    What type of flooring are you looking at?

    What climate are you in? Describe the home and how it is insulated.

    Do you have an existing boiler? What type?

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8

    What type of flooring are you looking at? - Brazilian Cherry

    What climate are you in? I live in New York City (cold winters)

    Describe the home and how it is insulated. - I am going to reinsulate the entire house using R-19 insulation or better. I am looking into getting spray foam insulation.

    Do you have an existing boiler? What type? My boiler is fairly new because my old one died not too long ago and I am going to keep it. It is a Slantfin Lynx LX-120, modulating and condensing.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Hydronic Myths and Hardwood flooring....

    I have about 250,000 square feet of jobs with radiant floors and hardwood installed with no problems. Who told you the HW floors are not compatible with hydronic RFH?

    There is one rumor floating around that the hardwood floor can not exceed 85 degrees F. Not sure what the expected result would be if the floor did go above 85 degrees F, but I have seen numerous jobs that the HW floors were in the suns path, and the floor surface was around 140 degrees F... And there wasn't even any RFH beneath it.

    Actually, that myth started when someone from the HW industry misinterpreted the maximum recommended floor temperature of 85 degrees F. That mx temp has to do with human comfort, or discomfort rather than the ability of a material to be able to resist heat. Obviously, HW floors, and wood in general can take a lot more heat than people would think.

    Whenever there is a problem (warping, cupping, panelization) everyone points the finger of blame at the RFH system, when in reality, the HW flooring contractor didn't do his job right, nor did the GC do his job right.

    Based on real world experience, the key to applying hardwood flooring over RFH is as follows.

    1. Make certain that the wood is fully and completely acclimated to the ambient humidity for the area where it is being applied. This means waiting until all internal sources of moisture have stabilized (long after painting, and sheet rocking) before placing the hardwood on edge to allow it to get acclimated, and turning it over a couple of times to be sure.

    2. If being applied over gyp crete or any other cementitious material, the substrate must also be acclimated, and have given up as much humidity as possible BEFORE the HW is applied.

    3. Place a minimum of R 19 insulation below the RFH heat source to insure the lowest, slowest temperature of operation possible.

    4. Have humidity controls in place (dehumidification as well) to maintain a stabile environment that will lessen wood changes.

    5. Avoid the use of green wood (Kiln dried, sealed on all 6 sides is preferred) .

    6. Avoid the use of soft woods (pine in particular) because of its inherent instability.

    Following these basic guidelines, you can have a nice hardwood floor AND radiant floors.

    IF, and that is a big IF, there is absolutely no way your HW flooring guy will do it over RFH, consider radiant ceilings in those areas.

    Panel radiators are nice, but large surface areas (ceiling or floors) will deliver a higher quality of comfort (mostly radiant as opposed to partial radiant, partial convective) which has a greater affect on the Mean Radiant Temperature, which is the primary factor that affects human comfort. I have all three means in my house, and I can tell the difference when going from room to room.

    Who's wood says they are not compatible with RFH?

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8
    HW Floors

    My flooring guy told me that the wood I selected will not be under any warranty with radiant heat. He said he has some that are radiant rated and it is mostly engineered wood. The additional cost between the wood I selected and the one he suggests is the factor.

    On a side note, what is the best way to put radiant under hardwood floors? My plumber said the best way is to insulation on the subfloor, then lay the tubing, then light weight cement then the flooring. Is this accurate?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    You flooring guy

    sounds like he could probably use an update on current radiant heating technology.  Low mass dry floor systems from Uponor, WarmBoard, and the like are faster to install and generally work better than a wet pour.  Insulation goes underneath the subfloor with the heating system sandwiched between it and the hardwood.

    You need a good radiant contractor (or a manufacturers' rep) to put a proper design together and then let them talk to your floor guy.
  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429
    That's funny!

    Last night the last thing I did on the computer was write to a HO stressing the importance of acclimating her new wood flooring. Her new wood floors are going in about two weeks from now.I urged her to buy it now and get it in the house.

    Her and I have a common friend who is a great finish carpenter. I shared with her a few nightmares with him involving wood continuing to grow even though the tree was cut down:)

    I was sitting in the newly remodeled airport bar in Juneau last month. The new wood floors had these strange slots cut in randomly. I knew exactly what those were as I've seen some huge buckles in wood floors.

    ME is dead on right!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,103
    before we throw anyone under the bus

    a heatload calc should be done. With that you will be able to determine if the floor space you have available can cover the heating load, with radiant floors alone.

    The installer may have suggested panels due to the load not just the flooring?

    www.launstein.com has excellent wood flooring with radiant info.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Your hardwood flooring guy...

    is NOT dealing with the right people, or he has been burned and is unwilling to play along. Here's a company that specializes in hardwood flooring applications over RFH systems.


    They have an actual lab where they test this stuff so they speak from experience.

    HW flooring contractors are really afraid of RFH systems, and probably rightfully so, because improperly applied, it WILL turn into a disaster. I've seen floors warp and cup because they were not properly acclimated prior to application. I've seen the panelize to the point of having the effective appearance of one completely missing board.

    One item I failed to mention is that with hardwood floors, it is recommended that either a higher tube density (8" OC versus 12" OC) be used, so that the approach temperature can be kept as low as possible. That, or the application of a high efficiency floor system, like Warmboard is strongly suggested, as Bob suggested.

    Also, be sure to do as much energy conservation as you can before installing the system. This will insure the lowest floor operating temperature as you can get which equates to energy and wood conservation.

    As for application of RFH, the only correct answer is "It depends"... If you are dealing with a poured concrete floor, then your contractor is correct. Insulation, then tube, then cementitious material. Generally speaking, this can be problematic from the stand point of increased elevations due to insulation, crete, finished flooring etc. you will also need sleepers placed on the sub floor to give a place to nail the flooring down, if you go conventional floor.

    If it is a framed floor, you could use extruded aluminum het transfer plates, 8" OC on the bottom side of the floors sub floor, then hardwood. Insulate the cavity as well as you can to avoid downward flow of heat. This method has less potentials for creating height problems.

    Ideally, if you have the space and money, place Warmboard on top of joists, then hardwood directly over that. Insulation is still required below the WB.

    As was also noted, there are some other "engineered" RFH systems (Uponor Climate Panels and others) but they use a smaller bore of tube, which requires a higher parasitic cost of operation to overcome the inherent pressure drop.

    Done right, ti will work silently and efficiently, with no problems.

    Done wrong, it will be noisy, will have lots of wood movement issues (warping, cupping, panelization and attempting to crawl away) and there will be a whole lot of unhappy people all pointing the finger of blame at the other... with the HW flooring contractor standing there saying "SEE, I TOLD you so..."

    Although initially more expensive, doing right the first time is MUCH less expensive than doing it again, and again and again...

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8

    How does a product like warmboard compare to cement in terms of price?  
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Raiant Ceiling

    ME mentioned it earlier but it never got followed up on. A radiant ceiling will be just as, if not more comfortable than floors. You can use any type of hardwood you want, you can put down area rugs without interfering with the floors BTU output. Your floor height will not change and your comfort will be superb. You also don't have to worry about nails from the hardwood going through your tubing. Defiantly something to think about.  

  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Unfair comparison...

    You are new to the board here, and probably didn't notice it, but due to national exposure, we try not and speak in specific dollar amounts. What it costs me here in COlorado for a given service/product is NOT what you will pay for the same product/service in teh Big Apple. Hence, we don't discuss actual costs. In general, WB will be more expensive per square foot than will a cementitious product, but they don't perform NEARLY as well as WB. Also, when looking, say for example, at the costs of doing a 2" over pour on a framed floor, the cementitious product IS going to require possible structural reinforcement, a second sole plate, and the labor necessary to do that. Unfortunately, when people examine the alleged cost per square foot, those additional items required with the use of cementitious products gets lost in the conversation, so it makes the WB look much more expensive than it really is.

    As it pertains to thermal efficiency using as low a water temperature as possible, WB blows ALL other systems away. So, in the long run, considering the actual net cost of operation over the life of the building, WB will cost less money from first costs to last costs, including operational costs, but will have the outward appearance of being more expensive per square foot due to people not understanding everything that is necessary to bring the cementitious systems to full and complete installation.

    Contact Warmboard at www.warmboard.com


    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8

    The plumber wants to put radiant down using light wet cement. He prefers it over the panel radiators but my concern is the HW floor and costs so he then suggested the radiators.

    I'm not sure how much warmboard costs but if it's cheaper than cement maybe I can go that route and spend the difference on better hw flooring.
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8

    Assuming I end up going with panel radiators, is Myson a good brand to trust?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    I've installed hundreds and the only real issue I've had is freight damage by clueless trucking companies.
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 839
    ultra fin

    this is an interesting system http://www.ultra-fin.com/products.php
  • R Mannino
    R Mannino Member Posts: 440

    are just as many HVAC contractors that are clueless as transportation firms.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,569
    This Post...

    This post took on a life of it's own today! Thank you Mark for doing the "heavy work".

    Hot Rod makes a good point on doing a heat loss calc to be sure you won't have to run the floor "smoking hot"

    I have not personally used warm board with wood so I cannot comment.

    I prefer an underfloor application with joist tracts for applications where excessive solar gain may be an issue( the low mass is advantageous).

    Gypcrete works quite well for most applications provided you allow it to cure prior to installation.

    Don't forget to use outdoor reset control on the boiler.

    I personally believe 99% of radiant hardwood flooring failures are a result the wood being to green to begin with. Moisture meters are inexpensive, cheap insurance.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    clueless -- absolutely

    and I'm really glad I don't have to depend on them.  I do have to depend on trucking companies, and you'd think they'd eventually grow tired of paying out claims.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    De Nada...

    Just helping to educate ;-)


    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    flooring warranty

    The relative humidity at the site must not go below

    40% and cannot exceed 50%.

    That should work out just great for buildings with precision climate controls (like data centers and museums.)

    Forget about the southwest...
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8
    edited July 2012

    Back to panel radiators - Can anyone recommend some nice looking chrome TRVs? Specifically, ones that can be found in the states to end users. I found some online but most of the websites are in the UK

    I like the Drayton TRV4 in particular
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    Radiant ceiling

    I installed radiant in my ceiling in my bathroom . On it's own zone . Works great , but one thing I miss is the warmth of a radiant floor in the bathroom !

    Once you live in a home with radiant floor heat , everything else is a letdown ! 
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Had to look those up - far more choices over on the other side of the pond (where TRVs are the norm rather than the exception) http://www.screwfix.com/c/heating-plumbing/trvs/cat831012  I've never seen Drayton here but it looks like they're owned by Invensys - might be worth asking them.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Looking at their website

    They appear to be nice looking rads, They make a chrome trv so why not stay with their entire system.

    If in doubt, bring one in and look at it or have someone with a mechanical background look at it for you.

    I was impressed with what I saw and am going to get some prices myself.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    warmth of a radiant floor in the bathroom

    I have radiant heat in my entire downstairs.

    Design temperature around here is 14F. Since I have outdoor reset, the supply temperature to the slab is 75F until the outdoor temperature goes below 50F. From there until the outdoor temperature is 6F, the supply temperature increases to 120F, where it levels off. The surface temperature of the bathroom floor surely does not exceed the supply temperature, so it is hardly ever warm.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    I was talking about

    Levittown , NY . Where actual floor temps were more like 120 degrees . 180 degrees if your boiler was replaced and no mix was piped in !  Still miss it every cold day ....... 
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,245
    like radiant ceiling

    RobG makes good points. Also R19 in NYC has low load most of the time. So panels are adequate as well.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    actual floor temps were more like 120 degrees

    How would you run a slab so hot? I would imagine terrible temperature swings.

    It looks to me as though design temperature in New York City would be 15F, compared with my 14F here in New Jersey. Not much difference. Is it so very much colder in Levittown, NY?

    How can I get by with 75F water in the slab if you need more than 120F? Do those houses leak like a sieve? It has never gotten cold enough here since 1976 to require 120F water in the slab. I have needed 112F water on a design day.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    These homes were built

    in the late 40s / early 50s . The only temp control for the slab in most of these homes was a 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch pipe from the top of the boiler to the inlet of the circ . 120 degrees was a guess but with this kind of setup it might be higher ! But if you ask anyone who grew up in a Levitt home with radiant , everyone loved their heat . 
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    These homes were built in the late 40s / early 50s

    Mine was built in 1950 It is called a Cape Cod.

    The boiler was a GE. The main temperature control was an aquastat where you could set the differential and one of the temperatures. The original owner had it set too hot and with the differential as low as it would go. He was satisfied. I was not. It cycled on and off by that aquastat. On45 to 90 seconds, off for about 120 to 150 seconds. I call that rapid cycling.

    The supply to the floor was less than the aquastat setting. The boiler, the circulator, and the slab were all in parallel. The pipe to the boiler had a globe valve in it. If that valve was full off, the circulator circulated the water through the slab, but no heat was delivered. If the valve were full open, maximum heat was delivered and that was too much. The asphalt tiles came unglued from the concrete slab below. I closed the valve somewhat to reduce the floor temperature, and to help the tiles stay down. I also lowered the aquastat to 10F differential in the range from 130F to 140F. That probably lead to condensing, but that boiler was tough and it could take it. But I had severe temperature swings.

    When I replaced it with a mod-con with outdoor reset, I took it on myself to understand it, so I adjusted the reset curve to be just barely enough to heat the house. No temperature swings to complain about. The house runs from 68 to 70F with the thermostat at 69F. It almost never gets down to 68F. I do no setback in the slab zone.

    The other temperature control is a regular thermostat.
  • LilT
    LilT Member Posts: 8
    Decision made

    Sat down with all my sub-contractors and made a decision.

    I am going to get light weight mud and put it throughout the house (architect and framer said structure is not an issue) and put radiant rated hardwood floors on top. I took into account the ECOboard and Warmboard prices for radiant, mud for radiant and the cost for panel radiators and I choose the one smack in the middle. I hope I don't regret my decision. My plumber is going to space the tuning 9" apart.

    I want to thank everyone for all the help
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Tips to help you avoid regretting your decision later...

    1. When doing light weight CONCRETE (not Gypcrete) you MUST place a slip liner sheet down on the subfloor (assuming framed floor) and then staple the tubing on top of that.

    2. You must place control joints in places to give the cement a place to relieve its growth stress, otherwise the concrete will crack where you don't want it to.

    3. Tubing should be put down at 8" OC to keep sleepers in proper alignment. 9" OC will throw the sleeper centers off.

    4. As previously explained, after all moisture sources have been depleted, acclimate the wood to stabilize prior to putting it down. Also make darned sure the concrete substrate is completely dry to the background moisture content.

    5. Do not allow the hydronic contractor to run tubing at right angles to the sleepers. Have him do his home running between the manifold and the areas being served by diving below the floor.

    6. Do not allow the flooring contractor to place craft paper on the floor before it is nailed down. This will avoid inadvertent tube hits which may not leak initially, but will leak later when the staples rust off.

    7. DO make certain that the supply water temperatures are reset by an outdoor reset control, and keep the water as low as possible.

    8. Avoid placing thick insulative rugs over the top of the wood floor.

    9. Consider purchasing 1/4 sawn wood, which is the most stable, if you can afford it.

    10. Insulation below the hardwood floors sub floor is REQUIRED, and is not optional.

    11. If at all possible, keeping the loops under 200' long, and within 10% of longest to shortest lengths will insure minimal temperature differential between supply and return.

    12. Do not let the hardwood people use extremely long nails that might penetrate the sub floor and hit the tubing that is home running between the grid and the manifold.

    I may have missed something, and am sure that my fellow Wallies will chime in.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
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