Hydronic Heat - Floor Panels or Concrete Cuttin
I'm planning a remodeling project which will include converting existing attached garage into living space and adding an attached garage and additional living space. Since this is a grade level area I'd really like to add hydronic floor heating. My question is, would it be cheaper to add floor panels over the existing slab or have the floor cut and install pex tubing and repour the floor. I don't want to pour on top of the existing floor because of ceiling height restrictions. The area that would need to be cut would be about 800 sq ft.
I got a preliminary estimate for panels from WarmZone to the tune of $4300 (matierials only). I would do the installation. With flooring material (tile) this would add about about 1" of height to the floor.
The existing garage (about half the square footage of the living area part of the project) would need concrete poured anyway (1") due to a cracked floor and to level it with the existing floor. Also, I have to have some floor cut to accept a new drain line for an additional bathroom.
I'm unfamiliar with the costs involved in cutting concrete so any guidance would be helpful.
Re: Hydronic Heat - Floor Panels or Concrete Cuttin
Perhaps your best bet is to get one or two radiant heating contractors to come over & give you an estimate of what the job would cost & how they would go about it---that way you would get a better idea of the best way to go about this.
It seems crazy to try & break up 800 sq.ft. of concrete floor, but you didn't mention how thick is the concrete (could be anywhere from 2" to 12", or how high is the ceiling height now.
Most people feel cramped if the ceiling is lower than 7 1/2 to 8'.
The cost of radiant floor installation is least expensive if you install the PEX yourself & avoid expensive panels---you should also do a heat loss calc at Slant/Fin below if you haven't done so already to determine how much PEX you have to install---no run should be over 300' long.
Hydronic in-floor radiant works best when you have enough room to install 3" (or at least 1") of reflective polystyrene rigid insulatiion as a base & barrier insulation to overcome radiational freezing temps---then embed the pex in 4" of concrete/gypcrete over the rigid insulation.
However, if you present concrete floor is too thick this method isn't practical & other options can be pursued.
Get additional feedback from experienced radiant contractors to consider all options.
Don't ignore other things like hydronic baseboard, or a combination of baseboard & radiant.
Great book at most libraries is John Siegenthaler's "Modern Hydronic Heating", 2nd ed. that has a lot of easy to read info on radiant floor heat installs.
Also Google "radiant hydronic garage heat" (without the quotation marks).
Also Google "radiant floor heat forums".
If you register at PM magazine (no charge), they have a lot of articles on this subject---enter "radiant floor heat" (without quotes) in their search box.
I have no business relation with any of the links below, they are submitted only for informational purposes.
Last edited by JacktheShack; 06-22-2008 at 12:41 PM.