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Heated Shop Cement Floor

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Kurzy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 5:35pm
  Howdy,
   Just getting ideas in order for spring. Need to build a shop, thinking heated cement floor. Some of you must have one. Just need the good and the bad for starters. 

Thanks Kurzy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DiyDave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 5:45pm
Check out some this old house videos, those guys put them in just about every project they build...Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 6:35pm
hydroinic heated  floor can do with water heater and pumps if not too big. wonderful heat. put two layers of 2" foam under flr.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill_MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 7:11pm
There are some nice videos on youtube of laying out different types of systems. Neighbor has it in his farm shop, laying on warm concrete sure beats cold and damp floor and your tools and parts stay bone dry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dakota Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 7:52pm
The farm shop has a heated floor. And when I helped my niece build their house it has a heated floor. Heated floors are great they have a very stable heat. And are very nice to work on. The shop has a large door we drive a combine with a header on in when you open it it takes a while for the air temp to cone back up. So we also run a corn stove and a wood stove to bring the temp back quickly. Heated floors take a long time to change temp so if it's like my shop it's turned down until the day I'm actually going to be working in there I went with forced air propane. I wish I would have went with infrared heat. We have infrared in our aircraft hangers and recovery time is increadably fast. The floor is also warm and instlation can be done any time fairly cheep
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DanWi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 9:25pm
We have a heated floor in our shop, keep it between 50 and 55 degrees Your feet are warm and you can work on the floor under things. We keep the skidsteer in the shop all winter so it is ready to go to feed cattle or plow snow. When you are working in there a sweat shirt is warm enough and if you are doing something outside and going in and out it isn't so warm with winter clothes, If you would be working in there all day you can turn it up to short sleeve temps. Floor heat is pretty adaptable you can run it off outside boiler, gas or electric water heater or a small inside boiler. You could even set it up to take heat off a wood stove.

Edited by DanWi - 14 Dec 2019 at 9:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HaroldOmaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 11:15pm
I have a Geo thermal in floor heat + air working off 2 wells. 40 x 52. back of barn is in the ground about 3 feet.( southwest Omaha ) average daily cost $1.92 for this year. Have 2 -10x 10 doors and 1 - 12 x 14 don't keep the doors open too long when its cold, but seems to recover heat wise real quick. so far it's holding at 60 degrees. 12 x 28 tool-work room stays about 62 degrees.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2019 at 11:26pm
Can't beat a heated floor... I put down PEX before pouring the floors of my enveloping addition... the south porch, and the north and east basements all have PEX tubing in 'em.  Having insulation under the slab, and around the foundation, make all the difference in the world.

My main shop project is still amidst the site engineering, but when done, I'll actually have foam topped with 4" of compacted lime, inside which will be PEX tubing, then a 6" reinforced concrete slab that stops about a foot from all the outside walls.  This is where my PEX will come up, and once my sweeps and manifolds are up, I'll fill it with pea gravel and use just a few inches of concrete on top to 'seal' it.  Since I don't drive anything heavy that close to the wall, it'll allow me to easily break out the area if I need to get in there to work on the PEX.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jaybmiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 8:56am
Take pictures of the grid  BEFORE you pour the concrete ! Be sure to have reference points. Otherwise when some 'helper' decides to drill a hole to fasten a tire changer down YOU won't have to fix the PEX.....
Saw one install, just a 40G gas hot water heater, NO pump... worked same a 'G' engine cooling system though I'm betting a small pump works faster.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 9:43am
Jay just noted one of the two reasons why I'm putting my big shop's PEX down in the filler material BELOW the slab, but above the insulation...

First... when you drill into the concrete, if the PEX is BELOW the concrete, chances of hitting it are much less.  Second... if the concrete expands, contracts, or cracks and shifts, and the PEX is BELOW the concrete, the shifting of concrete will not shear the tubing.

And one other thought... the tubing is MUCH less expensive than it was 15 years ago... and much less expensive than the concrete.  Putting tubing down before a pour doesn't commit you to heating it with that tubing, and it doesn't LIMIT you to heating it hydronically- it simply gives you the option.  You can heat it with IR burners on the ceiling, or a forced air furnace.  Furthermore, hydronic doesn't care WHERE the heat comes from... as noted previously, you can use any old water heater, and for control and circulation, just put an old-school mercury-switch thermostat on the wall controlling a relay that powers the pump.

My neighbor's attached garage is an excellent example... he's got most of 30 x 36 floor less a spot for his basement stairway and kitchen/hallway doorstep.  He's got about 1000 square feet of concrete, and under it, 400ft of 1/2" pex .  The first loop goes all the way around the perimeter, about six inches in from the edge under the overhead door seals, and about eight edges from the outer walls and back yard door.  The second loop goes back and forth for two passes on 1 ft intervals at the overhead door end, and the third loop fills in the rest of the floor. They're all about 110ft total, fed with a simple manifold and a 3gpm pump.  The water heater is a 15 gallon, and temp is set on the absolute-lowest-setting.

Concentrating more heat towards the edges makes up for the fact that most of the floor's heat is lost there.  Concentrating heat under the door thresholds helps keep the doors from freezing to the ground.

The water heater is a high-efficiency unit, with it's exhaust in PVC going out the east wall.   Most building codes will require a furnace or water heater to be elevated a certain height off the floor... this is so that motor fuel vapors can't concentrate high enough to contact the burner or pilot light, and cause an explosion...

As Jay noted, thermosyphon WILL work on hydronic heating, however, the water heater's highest point MUST be below the floor, and to work effectively, there must be only one loop, and the water heater's cutoff point MUST be able to go all the way down to whatever room temperature you want to limit to.  Better control and efficiency is to run a for-purpose pump with a relay and thermostat.


Edited by DaveKamp - 15 Dec 2019 at 9:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jaybmiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 9:48am
Dave brings up a GREAT point !!!
Use SEVERAL 'zones' NOT just one !  Better to have 4, 100' runs than 1,400'. That way if one pipe gets a leak, the other 3 will keep working !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 9:56am
Originally posted by jaybmiller jaybmiller wrote:

Dave brings up a GREAT point !!!
Use SEVERAL 'zones' NOT just one !  Better to have 4, 100' runs than 1,400'. That way if one pipe gets a leak, the other 3 will keep working !!


That's one part of it, but theres other part that are important:

1) pipes don't flow water for free... they have restriction which increases with length.  When you run three short loops, the restriction is substantially less than one long loop.

2) heat loss from a tube is a function of temperature differential.  Temperature of the coolant is highest at it's first point, thus tubing will lose it's heat more at the BEGINNING of the loop, than at the end.  That means a one-loop system will distribute more heat in the earliest-fed areas, than in the latter.

3) Volume is more important to even heating than velocity or pressure, as it's the volume of water carrying the energy, not the speed or pressure of the water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plummerscarin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 9:56am
1200 sq ft. 12ft ceiling. Thermostat maintains 62 degrees. 1000 gallon summer fill will cover the heating season in east central Iowa. Actually around 750 gals used. Set the temperature and forget it. One could add auxiliary heat you want it warmer but I'm comfortable with set up. Can't wear heavy boots while working cuz it's too warm. The downside is you can't use programmable thermostat the change temps quickly. I just love this set up. Water heater also works well but I did not go that route.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NEVER green Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 11:31am

I love my in floor heat, set at 53,havent checked but have heard the ceiling temp would also be at 53 unlike forced air.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NEVER green Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 11:34am
Originally posted by plummerscarin plummerscarin wrote:

1200 sq ft. 12ft ceiling. Thermostat maintains 62 degrees. 1000 gallon summer fill will cover the heating season in east central Iowa. Actually around 750 gals used. Set the temperature and forget it. One could add auxiliary heat you want it warmer but I'm comfortable with set up. Can't wear heavy boots while working cuz it's too warm. The downside is you can't use programmable thermostat the change temps quickly. I just love this set up. Water heater also works well but I did not go that route.


What year cyclone?? Maybe looks clean?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NEVER green Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 11:43am
Originally posted by DaveKamp DaveKamp wrote:

Jay just noted one of the two reasons why I'm putting my big shop's PEX down in the filler material BELOW the slab, but above the insulation...

First... when you drill into the concrete, if the PEX is BELOW the concrete, chances of hitting it are much less.  Second... if the concrete expands, contracts, or cracks and shifts, and the PEX is BELOW the concrete, the shifting of concrete will not shear the tubing.

And one other thought... the tubing is MUCH less expensive than it was 15 years ago... and much less expensive than the concrete.  Putting tubing down before a pour doesn't commit you to heating it with that tubing, and it doesn't LIMIT you to heating it hydronically- it simply gives you the option.  You can heat it with IR burners on the ceiling, or a forced air furnace.  Furthermore, hydronic doesn't care WHERE the heat comes from... as noted previously, you can use any old water heater, and for control and circulation, just put an old-school mercury-switch thermostat on the wall controlling a relay that powers the pump.

My neighbor's attached garage is an excellent example... he's got most of 30 x 36 floor less a spot for his basement stairway and kitchen/hallway doorstep.  He's got about 1000 square feet of concrete, and under it, 400ft of 1/2" pex .  The first loop goes all the way around the perimeter, about six inches in from the edge under the overhead door seals, and about eight edges from the outer walls and back yard door.  The second loop goes back and forth for two passes on 1 ft intervals at the overhead door end, and the third loop fills in the rest of the floor. They're all about 110ft total, fed with a simple manifold and a 3gpm pump.  The water heater is a 15 gallon, and temp is set on the absolute-lowest-setting.

Concentrating more heat towards the edges makes up for the fact that most of the floor's heat is lost there.  Concentrating heat under the door thresholds helps keep the doors from freezing to the ground.

The water heater is a high-efficiency unit, with it's exhaust in PVC going out the east wall.   Most building codes will require a furnace or water heater to be elevated a certain height off the floor... this is so that motor fuel vapors can't concentrate high enough to contact the burner or pilot light, and cause an explosion...

As Jay noted, thermosyphon WILL work on hydronic heating, however, the water heater's highest point MUST be below the floor, and to work effectively, there must be only one loop, and the water heater's cutoff point MUST be able to go all the way down to whatever room temperature you want to limit to.  Better control and efficiency is to run a for-purpose pump with a relay and thermostat.



   As a cement finisher I love the idea of the tubes in sand, there is nothing worse then finishing cement on top of foam insulation. I also like the idea of the rebar not touching the tubes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plummerscarin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 1:29pm
N.G. It is a 68 with a 390. I had a repaint done in the 80's and now it needs floors.
My tubing is half inch pex using six loops not over 300 ft. using a single pump and single zone. As stated the hottest water leaves the boiler and begins the circuit on the perimeter of the building. The first two runs are 6 inches apart and the others are 12 inches apart.
I had two buildings done this way. The contractor for the first building did not want the tubing stapled to the foam therefore the installation was difficult cuz it was tied to wire. And I suspect the tubing is in the concrete not near the bottom. The second one I used a different contractor who was fine with it stapled to the foam and it stayed.
I have never heard of anyone putting it in sand.

Edited by plummerscarin - 15 Dec 2019 at 1:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DonBC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 6:28pm
You can get thermostats designed for in-floor heating. They use a floor temperature sensor in conjunction with the room sensor so that the floor doesn't overheat before the room temperature is satisfied. I just completed designs for a child care facility that wanted warm floors. Because there are  several rooms there are 31 loops any where from 125' to 310'. The majority average about 250'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DonBC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 6:32pm
i forgot to add that you want the loops under air pressure during the concrete pour in the event that a loop gets damaged during the pour. A lot easier to find and fix than later after the concrete has set.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plummerscarin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 7:18pm
Originally posted by DonBC DonBC wrote:

i forgot to add that you want the loops under air pressure during the concrete pour in the event that a loop gets damaged during the pour. A lot easier to find and fix than later after the concrete has set.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DanWi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2019 at 10:47pm
When we did ours we attached the tubing to the wire mesh and then we poured concrete over the top. I dont remember what it was but it seemed like when we did it there was some kind of recommendation for how long each run should be.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DougG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2019 at 12:06pm
Since this is the subject, I have tubes in my shop floor but it was installed 30 years ago- just a countinous piping 3 ft apart -30-50ft shop, 1 hook up in and 1 out - I have a Hardy wood furnace to heat it and the house but darn it eats the wood , finally unhooked the shop- so my question and thoughts are now is this- was thinking of hooking up a 40 gallon electric hot water heater in the system as a helper to heat the water, the pump on the wood furnace would be the pump as it is hooked to the thermostat already , would run the water into the water heater from the wood furnace then it goes to the floor and return to the wood furnace , the furnace temp is set at 150, the water heater would be set at the lowest setting- will need check valves on in and out to the water heater - why wouldn't this work ? Just looking for opinions and advise , thanks

Edited by DougG - 16 Dec 2019 at 12:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tadams(OH) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2019 at 1:58pm
WhenI put up my garage & shop, building size is 28' X 56' with 9' ceiling I used a 50 gallon electric hot water heater to heat it and it worked great, when I added the house I put raidiant floor heat in the basement and we love it set at 68 degrees it keeps the main floor warm and the furance for the main floor doesn't run till it get below freezing outside. We love it, working in the shop your feet don't get as tired on a heated floor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bradley6874 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2019 at 2:11pm
Doug it would work as a back up but not a helper the 150 boiler temperature won’t let the water. Heater come on now if the fire goes out the water will cool of and the water heater will come on and help keep from freezing   Ps we are building house now it gets radiant through out but also getting a hot water coil in with the ac system radiant is slow and steady but if ya need to warm up the house quick turn the stat up on the ac and get it warm quick

Edited by bradley6874 - 16 Dec 2019 at 2:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2019 at 11:09pm
Another thing one can do... if the floor isn't subjected to extreme focused pressure...

We have a building off the corner of the garage that was originally an ice house, and it was originally located down the hill, not far from the milkhouse.  It was moved closer to the house and used as a pony stable oh... probably 4 decades prior to us buying this farm.

She wanted it to be turned into a garden shed... and half of it, as a hen-house for our layers.

I tilled up the dirt floor, leveled it, and compacted it with plate compactor.  Then I put 2" foam down, then 2" of lime, with one PEX circuit in it... then a little more lime, then we brought in barrow-loads of used paver brickes.  My kids placed the bricks close, then I brought in bags of premix mortar, dry, and dumped it out on the brick, then swept it around with a broom, 'till it was full to the bricks.  Then I got the garden hose and misted it down really good, and walked away for a few days.  That resulted in a nice, solid brick floor.

on the wall, is a 500w engine heater, with a 2gpm electric pump, and about two-quarts' worth of 4" PVC as a reservoir/expansion tank.  The whole thing runs off a relay and an ordinary thermostat set to 40F.  With insulation in the walls, and vaulted ceiling (only 12ft to the peak) and south-facing windows, the shed/henhouse would stay ABOVE 20F on a -20 night.  We never had problems with our birds freezing... and with the water trough being a constant-feed/overflow with heat-tape in the drain, they always had fresh water 24/7.

Time to clean it out and prepare it for a new flock, though.  Last four birds finally aged out a year ago this time... been too busy to start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dusty MI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2019 at 7:41am
I like to use radiant heat. The one that is a 4" tube that hangs 10 or 12 ft. above the floor and runs the length of my shop.
I don't use my shop every day, so I turn the heat down when I'm not using it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DougG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2019 at 7:42am
Whats the brand Dusty ? What does it use for energy ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TimNearFortWorth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2019 at 9:12am
We ran radiant on NatGas in WY, large wellhead shop full of forgings with pallet racks 3 & 4 high. When boys pulled in at 4-5:00 AM with Power Strokes via the overhead doors originally set up to drive tractor trailers through, recovery time was truly impressive as all that iron on the shelf held that heat. Pulling equipment down off racks it was always warm to the touch.
20-30 minutes later, could hear the burners going off as shop was back to 50+, this when we were well below zero in January.
Floor was tolerable for working and we rarely had a jacket on during the day.
Was not cheap to install but payback was worth it vs. the efficiency of forced air used previously.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kurzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2019 at 7:11am
  Howdy All,
  O Boy lots of great ideas! What different ways to go. That's what i wanted to hear. Hopefully by spring will have some plan.

Thanks Kurzy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kurzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2019 at 7:36am
  Howdy,
 After reading again and again all posts I come up with 1 question. By putting the pex tubing under the slab or down so deep in the cement don't you loose or slow heating?

Thanks Kurzy
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