16 Mar 2010, Posted by Shawn in Live Work,Suppliers, 5 Comments, Short-URL:http://portlandbuilt.com/pblk1
The Live/Work project gets one step closer to finish work as the Gypcrete crew installs over the top of the second floor radiant tubing. Gypcrete is a lightweight concrete designed to provide a thermal mass for radiant systems; it also has several other advantages such as noise insulation and fire prevention. Installation is really fast – a big truck outside mixes the slurry in a hopper while a couple of guys spread it around with a long hose and oversized trowel.
There are a number of ways to finish the floor on top of Gypcrete. In the main living area, we’ll be using oversized tile. In the bedroom, it’s a floating bamboo floor. Because of the radiant system, you’re slightly limited in your finish options, but a little planning can get around most issues. (For those of you interested in going this route, the #1 limitation is with radiant heat and solid hardwood – be sure to check that the manufacturer will warrant installation of hardwoods over a radiant system)
The choice of tile for the main living space was a last-moment bit of inspiration. We were initially looking to put in a floating bamboo floor, but decided against it for a few reasons. First, wood takes a beating. As I’ve experienced with my own house, hardwood doesn’t perform well with dogs, kids, and Portland’s long, wet winters. Dirt and grime take their toll, and it’s tough to keep the floor looking great, especially if you don’t have a house designed to mitigate dirt entering the living space (covered porches are a great idea here).
The second benefit of tile is that it’s a great surface for radiant heat. It holds the heat, releasing it slowly over the day. It’s just a pleasant sensation walking on warm tile. And, as an added bonus, you don’t have any of the expansion/contraction issues that can cause problems with hardwood installed over radiant.
Take a look over at the gallery to see more images from the install, as well as some great shots from the last few months.