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Thermal mass options?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm considering a hydronic radiant floor in a garage conversion. I know there is concrete and gypcrete but is there a cheaper alternative that I can install more easily myself? Crushed rock, bricks etc?

Just a dumb idea that'll end up costing more?
post #2 of 4

ave successfully installed hydronic slab heat in commercial settings.

Successful systems also using asphalt & interlock brick, although the brick systems were around pools & ski-lifts (minimal vehicle traffic). Asphalt is the cheapest overall. Of course you can’t build a building directly on asphalt or brick. You still need wall foundations. Slab-on-grade (on concrete) is typical for garages, so concrete can thus save you money.

Hydronic floor-heat systems are not for the penny-pincher. Success depends on careful preparation & anal attention to detail, especially during the pour, else you'll just be doing it again. Non toxic glycol costs a fortune. Toxic glycol must be handled properly & emergency storage for 100% volume must be maintained. If you don’t use glycol and your system freezes, it may be ruined.


With brick & asphalt systems, you save the cost of the re-enforcing steel required in concrete. With brick, you need bedding sand both beneath & above the heat coils.


If you are in an area where frost penetration is an issue, then the perimeters require extra heat desity. Underlying Styrofoam insulation greatly improves efficiency, but costs extra $$.


post #3 of 4
Look at the Radiant Company site. They are good about supplying helpful information.They have all sorts of guides available for download.

I much prefer Pex A or B tubing with an oxygen barrier and PPRC pipe to the copper and steel they show. There are great differences in costs between companies so do your homework on the net.

İn my opinion you have to use glycol - let it freeze and you have lost your investment.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I'll continue to research and will be sure to not cut corners! :)
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