Monday, 12 October 2015

From Stables To House: #2 Underfloor Heating

Good Day Everyone,

I never thought that something as nondescript as underfloor heating would ever get me excited - but boy was I wrong! To say that I was very excited would be an understatement. Perhaps it's because summers in the UK never actually get that warm... you can forget about hot! Also, having spent the last four+ years living in temperatures of 30+ degrees C, the thought of actually getting some warmth into my bones was just too much for me to remain calm about ;o).

Hubby and I are always cold. You'd think that having been born and raised in the UK, we'd be accustomed to the climate, but no. You will always find us in front of the fire or sat with our backs to the radiator whenever we are in the UK. Growing up, my bedroom was the only bedroom in the house that, as well as a central heating radiator, also had a gas fire. As a child I was always cold, even in summer. In fact, me feeling cold all of the time was seen as being completely at odds with the rest of my family (who feel warm very easily), so much so that my mum actually took me to see the doctor about it when I was a teenager. She felt it just wasn't normal to feel this cold, all of the time - but it was. This is just the way my body is. My mum has always said that having a hubby who feels the cold as much as I do, was a real blessing for me because now there are no arguments in our house about the heating, unlike when I was a child ;o).

When I used to work (pre severe arthritis) there was a joke in the office that I had the world's most traveled hot water bottle because I used to take her (yes, my hot water bottle is a pink and fluffy 'her') on every overnight trip, and I traveled quite a lot with work. Not only that, but I also used to and still do, take her on every holiday even if it's to a hot climate like Australia or Dubai because often I find that I can never get the air conditioning in hotel rooms warm enough. The thought of feeling cold is just too much for me.

Needless to say that it came as no surprise that hubby and I opted for underfloor heating in this renovation. The idea of walking on warmth pleases me more than I can explain! Not only that, but it also meant that we would not have to have radiators on the ground floor which gives us so much more freedom on where to place furniture, and what we can do with that unoccupied wall space.
Underfloor heating pipes
Now, there is no way that I can write this blog post without giving a massive shout out to my amazing hubby because he laid all of the underfloor heating himself, having never done it before (with a little help from Andy, our carpenter). Hubby spent many nights researching, reading and watching YouTube videos all about underfloor heating.
Insulation being laid
The ground in our house was prepared with a concrete base that incorporated a damp proof membrane. Hubby then started by laying 100mm thick foil faced rigid insulation board all over the ground floor which buildings control came out to check, as this is a requirement in the UK, in order to meet energy saving regulations. 
Ground floor insulated
Over the insulation board, visqueen sheeting (the black sheet you can see in the photo below) was laid to create a waterproof membrane. Hubby then spent days on his hands and knees laying the water pipes in accordance with the design provided by the underfloor heating supplier. Basically, he was creating continuous loops of pipe with no joints, that started and finished at the underfloor heating manifold. Hubby laid over half a kilometer of pipe which was pinned down into the insulation by white barbed pegs.
No underfloor heating pipes under the kitchen island
Hubby created different zones with the underfloor heating pipes so that we could pick and choose which areas of the house had the heating on at any given time. There were specific areas such as the kitchen cupboards, kitchen island and the corner where the wood burning stove would be going in the living room where he didn't lay any pipes as those spaces don't need to be heated. The pipes were then pressure tested with water to ensure there were no leaks. 
Screed being poured with laser leveled tripods
The day before the screeding mix was poured over the pipes, workmen came to place metal tripods all over the ground floor. These tripods were set up to a pre-specified level that the screed would be poured to, and they had been laser leveled to ensure that we would get an even and leveled floor throughout. The screed is a liquid mix which covers the water pipes and sets to form a solid floor that we can then lay floorboards or tiles upon.
Lorry with screed mix
Screeding day was very exciting, particular for hubby who loves all the machines and gadgets involved, and because he'd literally worked his socks off getting the floor to this point. The screed came in a large lorry which was then poured into a machine with a sieve in it to sift out all the big pieces. The liquid screed was then pumped from the machine via a large pipe, into our house's ground floor. You can see it in action in the vlog below.

Once the screed had been poured and leveled it gave the floor a glass like, reflective finish. The screed was then left to set for 48 hours before we could walk on it. As it dried, the floor lost it's shiny finish and became a lot more matte. Over the course of those two days I had a bad arthritic flare so hubby stepped in with the vlogging and shows you the finished floor in the above vlog.
The floor just after the screed was poured
I hope you enjoyed this update. I can't imagine underfloor heating is something that most of you reading this would be particularly excited about but it was exciting for us ;o).

For mini progress updates, don't forget to follow me here on Facebook. The rest of my social media links can be found to the right of this blog post, when viewing on a desktop :o).

Love Sheen xxx

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