Which panel is right for me?
Warmboard-S and Warmboard-R offer the same superior heating qualities. Both products are made with the same thick aluminum that covers the entire panel surface, including all straight and curved channels where tubing is placed. Generally, new construction and new additions will use Warmboard-S, benefiting from its dual function as a structural subfloor. Remodeled areas of a home will typically use Warmboard-R where its lower profile is advantageous. It is also ideal for wall and ceiling installations. Many times a project will utilize both products.
How do Warmboard-S and Warmboard-R differ?
Warmboard-S is a structural radiant panel that is 1 1/8” thick, made of Douglas Fir 7 ply plywood, and is sold in full-faced tongue and groove 4' x 8' sheets. Warmboard-R is a radiant panel that is 13/16” thick, made of aspen and pine oriented strand board (OSB) and is sold in square edged 2'x 4' panels. Both products offer the same superior performance.
How much does Warmboard cost?
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, radiant heating is a premium technology and can cost roughly 3x as much as a forced hot air. Compared to other radiant systems, Warmboard is among the more expensive options, just as any luxury good costs more than a lower grade choice. However, while Warmboard has a higher product cost, it also has much lower labor and material costs. Through our extensive research, we've found that Warmboard may cost $1-$2 more per square foot than another radiant option. These costs are easily recuperated through dramatically higher energy savings, all the while enjoying much more comfortable indoor environments. And depending on a number of circumstances, we are frequently the less expensive option in the end. If you'd like to speak about this further, give us a call or tell us about your project.
How do you install Warmboard-S?
Warmboard-S is glued and nailed, or glued and screwed to the floor joists in the same manner as any standard subfloor. It should be cut with standard circular saw with a carbide saw blade. This panel can also be installed over existing slab with the use of a vapor retarder and concrete fasteners.
How do you install Warmboard-R?
Warmboard–R installs over existing plywood or OSB subfloor with a standard nail and glue method, or screw only method. This panel also can be installed over existing slab with the use of a vapor retarder and concrete fasteners.
How do Warmboard-S panels hold up during construction?
Warmboard-S panels are rated Exposure 1, as specified by the APA – The Engineered Wood Association. The APA trademark is the consumer's assurance that products, which bear its stamp, have met specific manufacturing and product performance standards.
As an APA approved product, Warmboard-S panels can handle exposure to rain, snow, and ice. In fact, the aluminum top surface of Warmboard-S acts as a 'built in' weather barrier making it even more impervious to rain and snow than standard Exposure 1 plywood. During construction, Warmboard-S panels can be walked on, bracing can be nailed off and sill plates can be nailed directly to them. In general, Warmboard-S should be treated in the same manner as any other plywood subfloor.
It should be noted that it is normal for plywood to experience minor amounts of bowing due to humidity swings (especially during shipment). However, the panels will lay flat when they are fastened down over the joists and secured with construction adhesive and common nails, ring-shank nails, or screws per the installation instructions.
Does the PEX tubing ever get damaged during construction?
PEX tubing is remarkably tough once installed in Warmboard's modular channels and it tolerates the normal wear and tear of a construction site well. However, sharp objects like loose screws and nails can puncture the tubing, which is why we recommend keeping the job site free from excess debris. As an added precaution, some professionals use temporary masonite panels or thin plywood to cover high traffic areas during construction. Experienced Warmboard installers rarely incur tubing damage.
If tubing damage does occur, it can be fixed in about 10 minutes time. More information on this topic can be found in our installation manual.
How much extra labor does Warmboard-S take when compared to standard subfloor?
We have found that Warmboard-S requires 5% to 50% more labor than installing a traditional subfloor for a first time user. This additional time primarily comes from following the panel layout and properly aligning the tubing channels. Also, in general, the more zones specified the more cutting and trimming of panels is necessary.
What type of insulation should I use underneath Warmboard?
We recommend standard fiberglass batt insulation of minimum value R-19. One important distinction is that foil backed insulation is NOT required when using Warmboard.
Should I put tubing closer together under windows?
No. While this is still common practice with other radiant systems, it is not necessary with Warmboard. Our superior conductivity means 12 inch spacing is more than adequate.
Should tubing go in before or after walls?
Installing the tubing before walls is preferred, many contractors also choose to do it after walls. Tubing after walls will lead to more custom routing however. Ultimately, it depends on your confidence in your team. If your framers are careful and job site kept clean, tubing before walls is the way to go.
What does my Warmboard purchase include?
Your Warmboard-S and Warmboard-R purchase includes all necessary panels for your project, custom plans showing panel, tubing and manifold locations, and unlimited support from our sales and technical departments.
Additional components, including tubing, manifolds, heat source and thermostats will also be required for your system. We can recommend additional resources to assist you with this part of your system.
What kind of floor coverings can I use with Warmboard?
Basically whatever you want.
What about Air Conditioning?
Air conditioning is typically done through a separately ducted system with ceiling registers. This system will provide a higher quality of air conditioning than a system that pushes cold air up through floor ducts. The ducts alone for a typical home are inexpensive to install. Once ducts are installed, the rest of the system cost will be consistent with the costs of a normal central air conditioning that is added to a forced air system.
Does Warmboard require any additional equipment than other radiant systems?
No. In fact, Warmboard regularly requires less equipment. And because of Warmboard's fast response, our systems frequently have less complicated control systems. Warmboard actually offers greater freedom with energy sources too. Our low water temps maximize the performance of high efficiency water heaters, and interface more easily with ground source heat pumps and solar.
Are Warmboard-S and Warmboard-R more efficient than forced air heating?
Typically, radiant homes are 25% more efficient than forced air homes. Warmboard's fast response and low water temperatures further amplify this.
Do Warmboard panels interfere with WiFi signals?
Depending on the home, Warmboard's thick aluminum can interfere with wireless connectivity. If this occurs, we recommend purchasing a WiFi Repeater ($20-$50) to boost the signal. However, we do want to note that we rarely, if ever, hear complaints from our clients about this.