Radiant floor: WarmBoard vs. EcoWarm vs. others?

Old 11-08-18, 10:18 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 272
Received 3 Upvotes on 3 Posts
Radiant floor: WarmBoard vs. EcoWarm vs. others?

Hi All,

We are renovating our first floor, including moving a bathroom and re-doing/enlarging kitchen, etc. The floors in the kitchen and dining room are being replaced, so I'll have access to the subfloor. We have decided to put radiant floor heating under the kitchen/dining room area and under the new bathroom, and it will be "powered" by our high efficiency natural gas boiler. (We have been told by several professionals that our boiler is easily powerful enough to handle everything we want it to do.)

It seems that the most efficient way to go would be with one of the radiant floor products that is installed above the subfloor, using PEX and aluminum, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with WarmBoard and EcoWarm? The two companies do not seem to like each other very much, and I'm not sure how to judge which one to go with (other than that EcoWarm is apparently less expensive, according to both companies). Are they any other brands that would be recommended instead?

I also have another related question. The radiant flooring will be under the kitchen/dining/bathroom areas, but not under the living room and family room areas. We are doing a relatively open-floor concept. I'm assuming that the radiant flooring will add a little bit of height to the floor, so that the kitchen/dining/bathroom areas will be slightly taller than the living room and family room floors. How do people handle the transition? I'm guessing its not worth raising the subfloor in all the other areas by the same amount to match. Any thoughts?

Thanks for any help and advice!
Old 11-08-18, 04:28 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 62,091
Received 3,423 Upvotes on 3,069 Posts
Thread moved to boiler/hot water heating forum.
Old 11-09-18, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: USA near Boston, MA
Posts: 1,980
Received 322 Upvotes on 276 Posts
Check out the Wirsbo and Quik-Trak products at SupplyHouse.com. There is also lots of good information there about radiant floor design and applications.

Adding radiant above the subfloor will increase the height 1/2 inch. Depending on the material you use for flooring you might be able to match the height of adjacent non-heated areas (i.e. 1/2 inch for radiant plus 1/4 inch engineered wood floor next to full 3/4 inch wood flooring.) Tile height will be harder to match because you need a cement backer board under the tile. You could add subfloor in other areas to match heights. Or you could put the radiant between the joists below the subfloor. Or why not put radiant throughout. In all cases you have to insulate below the subfloor.
Old 06-03-20, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
What did you end up installing? How are you liking your new heated floors? We're also doing a renovation and trying to decide between Warmboard and Ecowarm. Quotes I am getting is about $5/sqft for Ecowarm and $10/sqft for Warmboard.
Old 06-04-20, 06:27 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 272
Received 3 Upvotes on 3 Posts
We actually ended up not doing radiant floor heating at all. My architect, builder, HVAC guy, and plumber all convinced me that it would not be cost effective in my situation.

Basically, we have a very air-tight house after doing the NJ energy program a few years ago and have a high efficiency gas boiler (to the point where it was costing me the same amount to heat my 3500 sq. foot house as it was costing my inlaws to heat their 2100 sq. foot house).

My architect, builder, etc. said that the radiant floor heating would feel good but wouldn't be any more efficient than what I already have (especially because our crawl space - which runs under almost our entire house - has walls foam sprayed so our floors are not actually cold at all). The other factor was the overall high cost to install the radiant floor heating and to raise the non-radiant floor heating parts to the same level so there would not be a 0.5" difference in height.

The last part was that my builder warned me that hardwood floor installation cost would go up because the floor installers would need to be very careful where they nailed the floor in to avoid hitting the hot water pex pipes (normally, they just nail the floor in very quickly).

Last note - I trusted (and still do trust) my builder implicitly. We finished our renovation early last September, and we are still in touch with each other just checking how each other is doing every so often. Not business related. My kids really warmed up to him, he actually had tears in his eyes on the last day of renovations, etc. I truly believe he had our best interests at heart when he recommended we NOT go with radiant floor heating. He may have been wrong (although I don't think so), but he was using his 30 years' of house-building/renovating to give me his very best advice.

If you have an air-leaky home or maybe not a high-efficiency boiler or non-foamed sprayed walls, then radiant flooring may be great for you. In our situation, it wasn't right.

Hope this helps!

(Based on all the research I had done...and taking into account my research is now well more than a year old - I probably would have gone with the cheaper option because I really didn't see much difference between them.)
michaelm111 voted this post useful.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: