Each week I participate in an interior design “tweet chat” with a number of fabulous designers, vendors, and other trade professionals. One of my favorite vendors in the chat is Warmboard, a fabulous radiant heating company based out of Aptos, California. Not only am I jealous of their picturesque location, I am completely inspired by the 35-person company that embodies three of my favorite qualities in a product: creativity, efficiency, and integrity.
How it works
Okay, let’s be real, I am not the expert on this. If you want an in-depth explanation, visit the Warmboard website at: http://www.warmboard.com. For a brief synopsis, read on.
Warmboard is a panel of highly conductive, recycled aluminum mounted onto a new or existing subfloor with small grooves for tubes that carry warm water. The water emits heat, which is evenly spread across the floor by the conductive panels. The heat then radiates through the floor and warms your space evenly and efficiently. The secret to the product is this aluminum panel, which is 2-5 times more conductive than traditional radiant system and allows the water temperature in your system to operate a lower temperature, reducing your overall energy bill.
Warmboard comes in two versions, the original Warmboard panel (used in new construction) and the Warmboard-R panel (designed for remodels and existing structures). The original panel is a code-approved structural subfloor and radiant panel in one. The Warmboard-R is a radiant panel that can be installed onto existing slab and subfloors…it can even be installed in walls and ceilings to preserved existing floors!
What I love about it
- Manufacturing: Warmboard is made right here in Northern California. This allows the company to ensure a deep commitment to quality and the environment. Having the factory close by allows them to efficiently manage production to ensure they are making only the finest products. Plus, they employ American workers!!
- Materials: The subfloor panel and the OSB remodel panel are made from wood from sustainable forests in both the US (Oregon) and Canada. Unfortunately, the aluminum for the conductive panel is shipped from China, which is pretty much the only place to get it these days. However, the aluminum does contain a large portion of recyclable metal.
- Efficiency: The pre-designed panel system is approachable and easy to install. The highly conductive panels make for lower operating costs than other radiant systems and heat your home quickly and evenly. They also allow wider tubing spacing which reduces the cost of installation materials and labor.
- An awesome team: The Warmboard team is an eclectic bunch! From athletes, photographers, geeks, and gamers to equestrian-types, cyclists, and boaters, they all came together because they have a passion for this product and a commitment to excellent customer service. Ross, the team’s Marketing and Creative Director, puts it like this: “I think one word that really describes us is “integrity”. What do I mean by that? Well, our team won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. If Warmboard isn’t a good fit for your project, we’ll tell you. We’ll suggest ways to save you money. We tell you what kind of components you need so you’re not buying too much or too little. We really want to partner with every client to ensure their project is successful and their home is comfortable.”
Great product, right? I bet you are wondering how much it costs.
Any radiant heat system is going to cost approximately $10 – $15 per square foot. $4 – $5 of that cost is the product alone and $5 – $10 is from the additional subfloor, hardware, tubing, any structural adjustments to the house, and overall labor.
Warmboard panels cost a bit more than standard systems, $6 – $7 per square foot, but labor and parts are substantially reduced resulting in a lower installation cost. There is no need for an additional subfloor or required structural changes to the house. In the end, the final costs are fairly comparable but the end product differs in quality. Ross explained it like this: “Would you rather spend $20K on a new car that has 200 Horsepower and 35mpg OR would you spend $15K on a used car that has 120 horsepower, 20mpg and required another $5K to fix it up? Most people would take option 1.”
Personally, I am excited to find a project where I can use this awesome product and have more opportunities to interact with their friendly team. A big thank you to Ross for answering all of my questions with thoughtful and thorough answers!