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DIY radiant floor heat?

hr Member Posts: 6,106
in a shower and bathroom in the first house I built in 1985. I used a 50 foot loop (the length of a coil). It was installed in the mud bed below the tile.

If you could an insulation layer would be a big plus, to limit the transfer downward.

Maybe look into a seperation membrane with a small R value. You really should use a membrane when tiling over concrete, regardless.

I'm not sure about you "between the tile" method??

Do you mean copper in the grout joint?

As for copper in concrete, best we can tell the copper was attacked by some of the admixes used to blend the concrete. Generally in wet conditions, also.

Some failures were caused by the cinders used below the slab reacting with the copper. High sulpher fly ash, some BFS (blast furnace slag) things like that. It's the ph of the product around the copper that will eventually eat through it.

Sure would be a funky looking job with copper between the tiles.

I'd say go for it, especially if you power it with solar. not much to lose but the cost of running the circ pump.

The next owner of that home may not like the copper laced tile job :)

hot rod

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  • Jake Corbin
    Jake Corbin Member Posts: 1
    1/4\" copper radiant floor heat?

    I'm installing tile on an uninsulated concrete basement floor, and I'm leaving enough room between the tiles to install 1/4" type-L copper tubing between the tiles. My hope is that someday I'll hook this up to a solar hot water heater or a pellet stove for radiant floor heating. The length of each heating segment would only be 11 feet (times up to thirty loops). I live in Baltimore, MD.

    Before I go out and purchase the copper, I'd like to know if this is a complete waste of time/money. It seems that 1/4" copper cold be too small, that doing this on uninsulated floor won't ever get around the heat sink of the earth. On the other hand, heat rises, and whatever I put into the floor will eventually have some effect, though maybe not immediately noticable. I read about copper used for radiant floor heating, and it seems like it's failures are overrated by people trying to sell rubber pipe.

  • Al Letellier_9
    Al Letellier_9 Member Posts: 929
    radiant in slab

    First of all, heat doesn't rise. It radiates in all directions and you will be heating the ground not your floor/ 1/4" is way too small to get enough flow or temp for your floor. This is not a DIY project. hire a pro to do proper heat loss calcs and to design the system. You might be able to provide some sweat equity in the installation, but the rest is for the pros.
    And why copper?? Pex is readily available, will outlast copper in concrete and is less expensive.

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  • Terry
    Terry Member Posts: 186

    you'd be better off to install thick carpet & underlay & burn your furniture when its cold.

    does heat really rise??? or was that hot air.

    Heat actually travels towards Cold. the higher the difference in temps, the faster it travels. Gravity has nothing to do with it. do a search on "laws of thermal dynamics".

    re: copper failures being over-rated.
    how can any failure be over rated.??

    the only time I see systems like this (copper or black pipe) is when there has been an over-rated failure and they want it replaced with plastic.

    Good Luck my Friend.


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    there are a few minor techniclities .....

    you would be better off dealing with ,with foresight than hindsight. heat goes to cold dark bodies. to base your stradgey on reaction vs action will prove dissapointing in the long run.
  • Couderay
    Couderay Member Posts: 314

    I would abondon your idea as stated but for me copper is the only way to go
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Do it right

    When we do a basement floor we put down an inch of extruded syrofaom. We than staple 3/8 ID inch pex in 200 ft max, lengths, to the sytrofoam and overpour it all with at least 1.5 inch of concrete or gypsum. It is also very important to insulate the perimeter so the heat cannot escape horizontally. If using 1/4 inch copper the lenghts would have to be very short to get proper flow through them and is not practical or advised. Another way to go is to put a top of the floor product like quik trak on top of some plywood. There's better ways to learn than learning the hard way. (It hasn't stopped me on occassion though.:)) You might want to find a local contractor and pay him to advise you if you want to do it yourself. Good luck with your project. WW

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