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Warmboard Versa Staple Up
Many people are confused over the choice between Warmboard™ and a staple up radiant heating system. This article should help to set you straight.
A Warmboard™ system combines a structural subfloor with a complex radiant panel into one straightforward radiant heating system. It’s basically a strong, broad, weather-resistant, 4′ X 8′ sheet of plywood, with a series of channels cut into the top plane and a thick sheet of high-grade aluminum, which is permanently bonded to each panel. The aluminum is highly conductive. In fact, it’s about 30% more conductive than most common alloys, but it also cools down quickly.
Warmboard™ replaces the normal structural subfloor. It can be cut, nailed or screwed directly to your floor joists just like any conventional subfloor.
Most Warmboard™ systems function with water ranging in temperature between 90º and 110º, however if you are considering a wool carpet, or another high resistant floor covering, you can easily raise your water temperatures and still operate your heating system efficiently.
Warmboard™ also have two important properties – they have high conductivity and low thermal mass, which means they will heat us quickly and retain heat quite well, but not quite as long as radiant systems imbedded in concrete.
In comparison, a staple up radiant heat system is the most unobtrusive radiant heat to install in an existing home. It will not add any additional floor height or disrupt your existing floor coverings as it is installed underneath the current subfloor between the floor joists.
This system is perfect when you want to add a radiant heat system without replacing your floors or floor coverings. For example, if your basement is unfinished you could easily staple up radiant heat tubing between your ceiling, or floor joists.
A staple-up system is not as responsive as the aluminum base method, but is more responsive than the thermal mass method – basically because under-floor radiant heat needs to heat up the wood subfloor and floor covering above. To radiate more heat into your home, you may want to consider installing heat transfer plates.
Heat transfer plates will ensure that your heat lasts much longer. They are a better heat conductor than wood, so your home would not only heat up more quickly, the heat would also last longer if transfer plates were used.
Overall both systems have their advantages. As far as labor goes, a Warmboard™ panel system would save you time and labor – they are much easier to install, but depending on where you plan to install your radiant heat system, both Warmboard™ and under-floor radiant heat systems are a clean and cost effective way to go.