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To Heat or Not To Heat, That is the Question

To Heat or Not To Heat, That is the Question

One of the biggest trends today in Residential construction is something we don’t see but definitely makes us feel good, radiant heating. From our Bathrooms to Kitchens to the Entire Home is has become the most requested type of primary and secondary heating today.

Radiant heating systems are nothing new, they have been around for thousands of years, they were even used it to heat the Roman Coliseum back in the gladiator days. Today most radiant systems are using either electric resistance or hot water to create the heat transferred to the radiating mass. This mass is either your floor tile, panels, sheetrock, even your wood flooring. The heat is then transferred to other objects including people which gives a more comfortable control of the room environment as opposed to hot air which warms the air and baseboards/radiators warm the air and objects but as with hot air cause a lot of air movement in the rooms. Radiant systems can be designed and used in floors, walls and even ceilings to heat living spaces.

In bathrooms and kitchens we usually install electric cabling or water tubes under the tiles to create a nice warm floor. Hot water systems have a larger heat mass in the tubes that enable them to be used as primary heat or secondary (there is another heat source in the space) heat systems. Hot water systems do require that you have a hot water source (eg. Boiler, hot water heater) and if placed in a mud floor raise the floor level a lot and in most cases cost more initially. Electric systems are sometimes easier to install, thinner, can be quicker responding and if the heating area is large enough can be primary but most times it is used as a secondary system. Most electric systems come with programmable thermostats that allow the user to precisely tailor their warming needs in order keep costs low. One company’s electric thermostat will actually calculate you electric costs based on KWH you enter. Their system can also be placed in wet areas, shower seats, walls, etc.

It is important to use a professional that understands each system, how to design them properly and guide the homeowner to what is best for them. Today most consumers are finding when planning your new kitchen, bath, basement or even new home, using radiant heat that this hidden aspect of their new project ended up being their favorite piece for years to come. Happy Heating.

Why Radiant Heat? Some of the benefits of Radiant Heat are:

1. Invisible, No radiators, no grills, no baseboards

2. Doesn’t dry the air

3. Feels good on your body.

4. Costs less to run.

5. Healthier living

6. Less air movement, cleaner environment

7. Less heating noise, almost silent

8. Better for allergy sufferes

9. Warm feet mean a warm body

10. Your pets will love it, too!

Losing Your Marbles Over Tile

Losing Your Marbles Over Tile

I think a marble look whether Crema Marfil or Carrera or others is a great timeless look. The real question here is not how it is maintained but are you and whoever else will be using this room be able to be a bit more careful. Marble scratches easily and can stain if abused (something with heavy dyes not cleaned up immediately). It also can stay beautiful for a long time, is not a fragile as it’s made out to be and can be re-polished easily (e.g. Casinos, restaurants). Today there are some really great porcelain tiles that when installed you cannot tell the difference but this will also require creative designing and possible use of real marbles for the bull noses, pencils and other edge finishes because most porcelain tiles will not have exposable edges. This being said, if you can find the look you want in a good porcelain tile I would probably recommend this first but don’t be afraid of using Marbles in a lower traffic space.

Wood or Wood Tile for Your Floor?

Wood or Wood Tile for Your Floor?

One of the things that really help us decide on that question is “How much traffic is in your home?” Sometimes a wood floor can really give a really good continuity between rooms and a nice warm feel to the Kitchen but when there are younger kids or your home is “the place to hang” I usually recommend something more durable like tile. There is a lot of great wood looking tiles today and if the installer does a “random” pattern you can really get the best of both worlds. If you decide to go with an unfinished wood floor I always recommend a few things: 1. Pre-finishing under the cabinets 2. Adding drainage holes behind the Dishwasher and any water source (Ref. Icemaker, Sink…) 3. Adding inexpensive leak detection sensors ($15 @ Home Depot). And last you can always use a Hand-scrapped floor to hide future scuffs.