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RE: radiant floors yes, hard floors (???) (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: Hilltop55 on 11.23.2011 at 06:37 pm in Flooring Forum

We live in AK and have had pex-type hydronic infloor heat in our home for 16+ years. The tubing has gypcrete poured over it to a depth of 1.5". We have tile, vinyl, marble composite, and floating genuine wood plank flooring. We are now in the process of designing our new and last home. I'll tell you my experience from our current home and then what we're planning for the next one.

Vinyl: I know you aren't considering it, but for those who might think about it, we did have bad shrinkage problems in one area where the water in one loop went way to high due to a temporary equipment failure. I won't do vinyl again, anywhere. You should think about the possibility of equipment malfunctions as part of your process; you can't guarantee the ideal temp will be maintained in such an event.

Ceramic tile and marble composite tile: Tile is one of the best types of flooring for heat transfer. It's the one type of flooring where you can feel the heat (in a good way). Our kids tended to use the back entry floor as a drying rack for their snowsuits and gloves; just lay them out on the floor and they're dry in an hour. It is a hard surface and people tend to see it as "cold" even though it's the warmest floor in our home. The downside: All our grout joints have cracked because of floor movement. I don't know whether this is worse in infloor heat, but our back entry is only eight feet across with adjoining hall and bathroom being narrower, 1/4" joints with sanded grout, cracked badly in both areas. The master bath has the composite marble; that room is about 17 feet across with 1/8" joints, unsanded grout, and there is a single grout line that cracked all the way across the room. Apparently that grout line fell in the lowest "bounce" point. Incidentally, these two rooms were installed by different tile guys, so I don't think it was a case of inferior work. I'll do tile again, but I will make sure the floors in those areas are heavily reinforced to prevent movement, and I'll store extra grout for later fixes. I'll almost certainly put a tile product in my kitchen and entry areas.

Hardwood: We have floating 7/8" hardwood planks, clipped together (Junckers brand). We acclimated the flooring as directed before installing it. The manufacturer recommended a felt-type layer under the flooring. Because of the gypcrete having a slight cupping from wall to wall, the floor squeaked at first. My husband took it back up and put down more of the felt lining in some spots that were lower, and that cured the squeaks (although a few spots are still creaky, especially in winter). The biggest problem is the shrinkage between planks. They're tongue-and-groove, but they aren't snap-together and the metal clips aren't enough to hold them taut together. We have a friend who put down wood strips between the tubing runs and nailed down oak tongue-and-groove flooring, having gone through the preliminary step of lengthy acclimation period beforehand. He is also disappointed that there are gaps in his floor also. I will plan on using engineered hardwood flooring but never use plank strips again, even snap-together type. I'd go with a thinner product next time too.

We do have rugs over areas of the wood floor, but rugs are insulating and therefore not to be overdone without sacrificing efficiency.

A friend of ours with infloor heat used a glue-together plastic laminate flooring, and that was very successful. Because of that, I would imagine something with a plywood type backing would perform better than just hardwood strips.

Yet another friend of ours installed a bamboo snap-together flooring from Costco over radiant infloor heat. It failed badly, each plank bowing and cupping. The manufacturer had approved it for floor heat, so they stood behind it and refunded the money. They replaced it with another type of engineered hardwood and it is working well.

I didn't mention that we have carpet in a few areas, and that is the most insulating of all the materials (a bad thing for floor heat) even though we used the type of pad that was recommended. I won't be using carpet next time.

As to the question of the floor feeling warm, we don't notice it being particularly warm to our feet except in the tile areas (delightful but hard). When we visit friends without infloor heat, though, the difference in comfort is VERY noticeable. We feel generally colder in their homes and especially our feet feel colder. After having infloor heat, I'd never have anything else.

As an aside, I did talk to a flooring specialist the other day and she said cork floors are usually approved for infloor heat and perform about the same as wood flooring.

I'm sorry this is so long, but maybe some of the info will be helpful. A number of friends have gone with infloor after being in our home, so no matter what type of floor covering you use you will probably enjoy the effect of the heat.

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clipped on: 03.28.2014 at 05:46 pm    last updated on: 03.28.2014 at 05:46 pm

Simmer question

posted by: dcwesley on 11.24.2007 at 07:34 pm in Appliances Forum

In researching the gas rangetop for our remodel I find, of course, that dirrernt models have differnt ratings for the simmer btu. How do I know how low we really need? (Our currnet cooktop is electric.) We cook white sauces, day long soups, etc.

A couple of models list their simmer burner as 140 degree. How does tht compare to a btu rating?

NOTES:

good stuff
clipped on: 03.17.2014 at 01:19 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2014 at 01:19 pm

When planning a kitchen - words of wisdom

posted by: loves2cook4six on 01.08.2010 at 12:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

I know they've been said before but just to re-iterate:

Plan in zones rather than work triangles: Baking, prepping, cooking, cleanup

Think about how you cook your favorite most often used recipes. What pots, how much prep, what utensils, any pantry goods? Now think where you will store that stuff. Will it be easily accessible or will you need to walk across the kitchen and around the island to get to the pantry, potatoes, etc? Will you need to walk with a heavy pot from your prep area to your oven to braise a stew?

Think about cleanup: Is the DW easily accessible to the eating area(s). What about storage containers for left overs? How far is the fridge to put away the leftovers. How accessible is the storage for every day dishes and flatware both to the table and to the DW's. Where will the trash be?

You shouldn't finish your kitchen and then start deciding where you will put things away. That should be part of the design process.

I want to stress this because lately I have been seeing so many GORGEOUS kitchens that don't function at all well (you may recall my friends kitchen :( ).

You can have BOTH so why settle for less. Yes, it's true that sometimes you will need to compromise and decide what is more important, form or function but that still makes you think about where things will be.

NOTES:

good stuff - see the followups
clipped on: 02.08.2014 at 04:19 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2014 at 04:19 pm

RE: cooktop on island? (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: ashebooks on 07.07.2010 at 04:39 pm in Kitchens Forum

An island cooktop will never give you 1st rate ventillation unless you spend a fortune on the overhead hood. A primary island sink will only be practical if the island includes the dishwasher and undercounter dish storage, or you will spend your time draging things back a forth to the sink and dishwaster and china storage. A secondary prep sink on an island is great to have.

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clipped on: 02.08.2014 at 04:05 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2014 at 04:05 pm

RE: Recommendations for 'Shower-Friendly' Bathtubs (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: formosalily on 05.28.2007 at 08:29 am in Bathrooms Forum

Thanks for clarification, live_wire_oak. Kohler 5' "Tea-for-Tow" is the most roomy soaking tub I can find but it doesn't say if it comes with integral tile flange (the 5.5' does has the integral tile flange option). Can I safely assume that any tubs which fit into a standard 5' alcove will come with integral tile flange? Or is it not necessarily true?

Here is a link that might be useful: KOHLER Tea-for-Two 5 ft bath

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clipped on: 10.31.2007 at 08:47 pm    last updated on: 10.31.2007 at 08:47 pm

RE: Drop in tub as a shower combo? Size of surround? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: organic_donna on 06.20.2007 at 07:49 am in Bathrooms Forum

I am also getting a drop in soaking tub and using it as a shower. It does not come with a tile flange. I called the manufacterer, Porcher, and they said I could purchase a universal tile flange kit. I am not a pro so maybe someone else will add something.
Donna

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clipped on: 10.31.2007 at 08:35 pm    last updated on: 10.31.2007 at 08:35 pm