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RE: Radiant Floors

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Gerard wrote:

Can anyone recommend a good website where I could learn about radiant
floors? I have a project coming up that will use this and I'd like to
familiarize myself with how it impacts the structure. I know they are
common for slabs on-grade, but my client wants wood framed floors with
topping radiant slab over the sheathing - this seemed odd to me but he
tells me it's common.
This is for a 3 story townhouse structure. I would take it that
specifying the proper thickness, moisture barriers, and concrete mix are

Anyway, if there's a place on the web I could learn about it, I'd
appreciate the address.

Santa Clara, CA

Gerard Madden, SE, PE
California Licensed Structural and Civil Engineer

Madden Engineering
540 Monroe Street
Santa Clara, CA 95050
T: 408.564.5515
F: 408.564.5530
E:  <mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)> gmadden(--nospam--at)
W:  <>


These type of floors are very common in the Rocky Mountain regions where I
have some previous design experience.  Radiant floors are used in the S.O.G.
as well as in the wood floors above.  No recommendations for websites, but
you may try, or other architectural related sites.  We have
typically specified a 1.5" lightweight concrete topping (sand, no
aggregates) and the hydronic or radiant heating tubes are run through the
middle of this 1.5" thick topping.  The 1.5" seems to be common, as the
contractor will place 2x4's flat over the 3/4" subflooring.  This gives them
a screed plane within the hydronic floor.  Most of the specifics in the
details were handled by the architect and mechanical engineer.  I recall
only designing the floor systems for this additional loading, and veryifying
that my sill details were adequate to prevent the topping from getting into
regions where it's not supposed to be.  I would also review the
architectural details as this is where the vapor barrier, flashing and
performance items were typically shown.  Your architect is probably the best
source of education on this subject as well as the mechanical engineer who
designs the tubing system, etc.  Hope this is helpful.  Let me know if you
run into a dead end street looking for more information and I'll dig through
my archive drawings if needed.


Bill S. Marczewski, PE

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