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Community and Q&A

Concrete slab

Buffalo4321 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I have a 1,000 sq ft concrete slab with copper tubing inside. Live in cold climate. To complicate matters, the interior walls are are poured concrete. I’m thinking of switching to baseboard heat with 1″ rigid foam onto of the slab then plywood on top of the foam and then flooring.

Not sure if the concrete walls will be a problem with this approach ?

I would consider having the old radiant heat copper tubes tested, but I’ve heard that since it was built in 1950 they may not last another 50 or so years.

Any thoughts?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I would abandon the copper tubing if I were you. Its lifespan is limited.

    If your interior partitions are made of concrete, then the partitions will act as thermal bridges. The partitions will conduct heat from your interior space to your slab. The best way to insulate this type of slab is with vertical rigid foam at the perimeter of the slab (that is, at the exterior). I would bury the insulation at least 2 feet. Of course, you'll have to protect the exterior insulation from physical abuse and UV rays.

  2. Buffalo4321 | | #2

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    How would I protect the exterior foam?

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Q. "How would I protect the exterior foam?"

    A. You can choose one of eleven different materials. To read the list, check out How to Insulate a Basement Wall. Scroll down to the section with the heading, "If I insulate on the outside, how should I protect the above-grade foam?" to read the list of materials you can use.

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