Saturday, April 12, 2008

all work and no... work..

Dan and I have both been spending so much time at work that we haven't had much time or energy left to work on the house.. In fact, I started this post 2 weeks ago and just now have a chance to finish it while Dan's off at work! yes, on a Saturday :(

Dan got the floor plans finished to get the heating plan designed, but now we have a decision to make.. On the 3rd floor - our someday master bedroom suite - we're going to carpet the floor, so were planning on installing radiators for heat. There are some fancy new-fangled ones that will work right off the same pex lines as the radiant in-floor heat, so that seemed like our best bet. As it turns out, we can put hydronic radiant under carpet but we'd have to figure out how to get it in there. The 2nd floor (which is where we're living) has finished ceilings, and the 3rd floor has a perfectly intact oak strip subfloor which we're definitely not tearing up. The ceilings in just about every room on the 2nd floor have an awful skip-trowel texture on them, and there would be no love lost in losing them. Plus, from what we were able to pull out from the edges above, the insulation between the floors probably still has some rats nests, which if we could, would be great to get out. The problem is, we're living here! tearing down the ceiling will be a giant mess, and if we'd realized that we'd need to do it before we moved in, it wouldn't've been so bad. Now, however, a shower of rat poop is a little harder to deal with.

We'll put in-floor radiant in the bathroom regardless of how we heat the bedroom and office. There's a 6" step down anyway, since it was originally a covered porch, and we have plenty of room to put warmboard down on top of the existing floor and still have headroom left for tile.

Our heating alternatives for the bedroom and office are:
  1. A radiator in each room, probably at the baseboard.

  2. Staple-up tubing from underneath, which would require tearing out the ceiling underneath. This is how we're heating the middle floor, but we have nice, exposed access for that. Plus, there would be more the heat would have to go through to get to the room because of the existing wood subfoor

  3. A warmboard-type subfloor laid above the existing subfloor, which would cause us to lose about 2" in height in the room
I'm a little unsure how effective radiant under a carpet would be anyway, so I'm investigating that first (if anyone has any experience with that, I'd LOVE to hear it!). We'd be limited to a fairly thin pad, because that is an extremely insulating layer, which we'd want to minimize. And I think we'd be a little limited in what kind of carpet we could use. So even after the actual work is done, regardless of if we put it in from above or below, the tradeoff would be thin carpet and invisible heat with no loss in floorspace, or thick, dig-your-toes-in carpet with radiators in the rooms.

It's a beautiful warm day, which makes it even harder to think about heating systems.. but it does mean I can open all the windows and get some fresh air circulating. And the reality of living in a house with exposed studs and indoor/outdoor carpet and throw rugs covering every possible inch of floor my bare feet will never touch, is that even after the thorough spring cleaning it's just about to get, it'll still look like it needs to be cleaned. Maybe instead I'll spend the day on our lovely patio snapping my fingers trying to have the house magically be done.

No comments: