Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Subfloor (warmboard) install starting

It's been several days since we were out to the site, so we made a short trip out there this evening. Rapid progress has been made. The beams and joists are fully installed, and the beam\joist inspection went well. I like the results:

The crew has now begun installing the Warmboard subfloor panels. Paul has never used this system before, and so there's been some understandable apprehension about how well it would all work out. So far so good though:

The panels have been started at the southwest corner of the house; this seems appropriate since that is the most important room in the house (i.e., my office) and so it is must be perfect.

Warmboard supplies a little tool that is used to keep the tubing slots aligned from one panel to the next. Otherwise as far as I can tell the panels are simply nailed down like any other subfloor panel. I was a little upset to see some dirt on the panels though...will need to talk to Paul about making sure the crew wears protective booties to keep them clean (kidding, kidding :). There are multiple types of panels (straights, curves, doubles, etc) and part of the Warmboard package involves creating a panel layout design which suits your house and zoning requirements. Here's the first floor layout:

I've omitted the key\legend which explains which panel types correspond to the colored circles. It does looks a bit complicated at first, but after some study it all starts to make sense. There's a second view which shows the crew how to route the tubing:

The above layout shows the four primary zones on the ground floor, the garage is the fifth zone, then there are three more zones upstairs. Way cool, eh?

Paul and I had discussed a lot about the right time to install the PEX tubing into the grooves. It can be done as soon as the subfloor is installed, or it can be much later, i.e. after all of the walls and roof are on, heck you could wait until after the drywall is in! There are pros and cons each way, depending on how protective you want to be of the tubing (stuff happens on a job site, let's be honest). The HVAC contractor (Mitchell Mechanical) who will be installing the tubing preferred to get it in immediately after the subfloor is in, so that's the way Paul is going to go. Sometimes a crew will install thin sheets of masonite over the tubing to protect it, but Mitchell advised against this since the masonite tends to let folks forget that the tubing is there. In any event, while a puncture or cut in a tube is not something to be desired, it can definitely be repaired. Anyway, the tubing is tentatively scheduled to be installed on Monday.

Driving back we saw a couple of deer crossing the road; I got the camera out in time to snap a shot of the second one before they disappeared:

I commented to my wife that it would be good to have Bambi available for dinner in case times get tough, and got smacked for it. Jeez, I'm just saying it's better that than to starve, right? :-) There is a lot of wildlife up here in the woods; I've heard more than one person say something like "we're just filthy with deer up here". The road above is pretty representative of the whole area too.

Btw, in my last post there was a picture that showed a beam that had been rough-installed with supports only at the far ends...talking with Paul, it turns out this is an intentional way of trying to get some of the "crown" out of the beam: installing the beam crown-up, then supporting it only at the ends, then putting a little bit of weight on it. Which seems simple enough now, but I would never have guessed that that was what was going on.... :)


  1. Good stuff. So, what were the cons of installing the tubing later? It seems like that would be the safer route. In any case, I assume there would be a test of the system BEFORE the flooring is installed.

    Okay, you have deer too! Quit bragging! :)

    It must be exciting to see the house be built a bit at a time. Way cool.

  2. Installing the tubing later can be difficult (IMO) if any of the grooves cross beneath stud-walls. Can you imagine having to feed a couple hundred feet of stiff, awkward tubing under a stud wall? From that perspective, it's simply much easier to install the tubing now, before any walls go up. But yes, definitely they pressure-test the system before final flooring is installed.

    Not sure if the deer are anything to brag means we can't have a garden unless we put a 10' high fence around it. I suspect the deer novelty will quickly wear off.