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Unread 11-05-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
Fretz Renovations
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O-pex tubing embedded in mud bed?

This question relates to a method I'm dreaming up for a hydronically heated tile floor. I would like to share my thoughts and have others kick in theirs.
By the way, the water will be heated by burning off my wood scraps, paper cardboard etc. in a new potbelly with a copper coil wrapped around. Constant flow valve, temp/pressure gauge,Aquatrol, extrol,prv,Taco pump, etc. all figured in. A short,straight, direct new lined chimney too-prevents build up of unwanted soot.

I just reinforced the entire T&G subfloor and floor joists with screws -concrete-insulation-foam-cross bracing etc. This job is on an old home I own. I've made a scale drawing plan. I would like to screw large 1 1/4x 3/4" strips of AZEK every 8" and heat radius pieces for the turns. I'm planning (my desire is to) on pouring a nylon fiber reinforced mud bed over the entire thing, unscrew and remove the strips after the set. Next, install loops of O2 Barrier PEX (1/2"). After the pex is installed somewhat loosely I would like to set tile. The question is, should I fear the thinset getting into the pex troughs? What is standard procedure here? I could mesh tape the troughs and skim.

Any help and advice here is greatly appreciated. THANKS EVERYBODY! LET'S BEAT THESE HEATING COSTS AND BURN THOSE PHONEBOOKS AND JUNKMAIL WE KEEP GETTIN. Paul
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Unread 11-05-2009, 11:21 PM   #2
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Welcome Paul,

Well, it sure sounds like you're making a fairly routine hydronic installation a lot more difficult. There are tested and proven industry standards available for installing tile over hydronic heat. Not saying whatever you're suggesting won't work, but just wondering why a guy would go to all that trouble. Ditra Install Handbook is one source, TCNA Handbook is another.

Essentially the PEX is either attached to plywood, then concrete or gypsum is placed over the whole thing.

Sounds like you're a Pro? How about putting a little more info in your Profile for us, maybe where you're located at least.
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Unread 11-06-2009, 07:33 AM   #3
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Welcome aboard, Paul.

Yep, sounds like a lot of work, and unless you've already started, I would suggest Bekotek, a foam Schluter product specifically designed for this application. http://www.schluter.com
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Unread 11-06-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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Paul, does your water heating system include a properly sized pressure relief valve? You are designing a "boiler" even if you do not intend to boil the water. Improperly designed boilers are extremely dangerous if overpressure conditions are not considered in the design.

A fireplace can burn your house down. A boiler can spread your house over the entire neighborhood. No joke.
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Unread 11-06-2009, 08:45 AM   #5
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Welcome, Paul.

What Dana said.

Installing the pex tubing, covering with deck mud to the tops, installing a reinforced mud bed on top of that and then Ditra would be my first choice of methods.

In addition to what Injineer Bob said about sharing parts of your house with your neighbors, you'll wanna be cautious of the water temperature you're sending into those pex tubes. Ones I've used are not rated for very high temperatures.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-06-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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I was curious, but I couldn't find Bekotek by just looking for it in the seach box on the site. I finally fell upon it by going to Google and searching for Bekotek, and it found the Bekotec link.

http://www.schluter.com/9_1_schluter_bekotec.aspx

I still had trouble looking it up, even using the correct spelling on the Schluter site...seems searching for it just pulls up German language pages...which are not of much use to me. And to find it in the menu you would have to know bekotec would be under modular screed systems (which is not so intuitive for me ). So it seems Google saves the say again.
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Unread 11-06-2009, 06:53 PM   #7
Fretz Renovations
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Recycle!

I'm using onsite materials that are in my way! There is zero expense here.

Safety is of key importance and nothing has been overlooked.

Thanks for telling me it is possible to do. I have time and materials and will not even need a gallon of gas to pick anything up!

I'll post more pictures to help you understand.

Thanks everyone....spend,spend,spend?
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Unread 11-06-2009, 07:11 PM   #8
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More vision

As promised
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Unread 11-06-2009, 09:29 PM   #9
dhagin
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PEX fully encased in a reinforced mortar bed is about as inexpensive as you can get. Mortar is just sand and cement. Need to have a floor structure that will support that load too, figure about 30 #/sqft (or more) for a 2" reinforced mortar bed, thinset and tile. Maximum joist deflection for ceramic/porcelain is L/360, for natural stone it's L/720. Over all that I'd put an anti-fracture or uncoupling membrane to isolate the movement of the heated mortar bed from the tile layer. Bekotec would be easier, reduce mortar & weight, and would further isolate the mortar bed from the structure, but you'll have to spend more to get it.

IMO, the weak link in your proposal above is the loose laid PEX and trying to tile over it. For tile, you don't want voids under it, so fully encasing the PEX with minimum 3/4" mortar over the PEX is needed for most systems. I'd say eliminate the PVC, fully encase the PEX in reinforced mortar, cover w/membrane, thinset and tile and enjoy it for decades to come.

PS, PB stoves & house in 1st photo sure looks like PA
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Unread 11-07-2009, 02:52 PM   #10
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Smile Now that's some helpful input!

Thank You Dana,
I'll be workin on it again soon. I must tear out a bathroom and resupport another area. R/R a door to open outwardly due to height clearances with the mud bed. Plus complete the design layout due to two separate levels of the floor space. I gotta come up ("down") with something here.

After completion, It'll be awhile until I actually tie the o-pex into anything. The area of the home has been and is currently heated with a wall mounted natural gas heater. I must say, it's very efficient since it's an unvented unit. But you just can't beat gettin heat from junk mail and newspaper! I even hooked up a solar powered blower the the third floor system. If I don't want it to smolder away I just turn on the 12v blower for a minute. Just stirrin the PB getser goin though.

There have been no problems with the current system overheating any of the radiators or water jackets. Even with three stoves burnin at once! The plumbing just gets nice and toasty. Not over 110F.

Also, I hardwired our home with smoke and heat detectors w/ battery back up. They're all interconnected (over 12 units).

Thanks Again everyone and remember to take care of your knees and back!
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Unread 11-07-2009, 06:16 PM   #11
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nice remodel paul sorry i cant help with the radiant heat tho.
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