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Possibility of radiant basement ceiling?

Jim R.
Jim R. Member Posts: 58
I have an asbestos acoustical spray on my basement ceiling. Underneath is a 1950's equivalent of a blueboard plaster base. It doesn't need to be removed unless it's disturbed. For my basement renovation the contractor suggested applying metal lath and two coats of plaster over the asbestos. He was already proposing plaster for the walls (doesn't like drywall in basements) and since the ceiling is a bit wavy he thinks plaster will be more cost effective and do a better job of sealing the asbestos.

If I go that route, would it be worth using radiant tubes through the plaster for heat? How thick would the plaster need to be for 3/8" tubes? I'm thinking the metal lath would spread the heat throughout and the asbestos above would hold the heat in the ceiling.

I'm located in the Philly suburbs and I think this may be unusual in my area. I'd need to find someone experienced in radiant ceilings. I don't want leaks or cracking plaster down the road. Otherwise it's baseboard heat throughout. We have a gas boiler so we'd need to step down to the correct temps. Just wondering if this even makes sense and what issues I might run into.



  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    no problem with it if done correctly '
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    My radiant ceiling is done that way. From the 50's. Mount tubing to metal lathe, brown coat the tubes then finish coat. I have 3/8" copper tubing.
  • MikeG
    MikeG Member Posts: 169
    My dad did platering for over 40 years. Grew up with it. Did a lot of asbestos sprayed ceilings. I would caution you on any type of disturbance no matter what direction you go. You have to anchor something, lath, furring strips etc. It will make dust. If it was mine I would use furring strips, thin aluminum plates, 3/8" or 1/2" pex and lightweight drywall. Can you afford the thickness and weight? Personally by the time you add lath, pex, and plaster you may be at the same thickness with more weight and time. I don't know how much you have to have over the tubing. The only insulation you have either way is what is above the ceiling. I have a radiant ceiling in a utility room, floor too. 3/4" plywood strips on joists, thin Al plates, 1/2" Pex AL, light weight drywall. Works great.

    Gordy, over the years working with my Dad on and off, he's retired now. We repaired a few ceiling s and walls from the 1950's that had copper tied to metal lath with plaster. I still cannot believe how long these have lasted. Most issues were corrosion related from the metal lath and copper at the ties, or the random nail through a tube.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited October 2015
    Mine is a Celotex type of plaster board. The tubing is attached to the ceiling joists with copper pipe straps. So no dissimilar metals.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    Nothing wrong with radiant walls. Actually higher BTU output than ceilings for same approach temperature. Keeps you away from the ACM issue, and provides excellent radiant comfort. Go wains coat height and avid nail hits. Basements typically have relatively low heating loads.

    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.