Radiant floors from the Romans to Wright


Radiant heat dates to ancient times, when the Romans warmed rooms by running the flues for slave-tended, wood-burning fires under elevated marble floors, keeping toes and togas nice and toasty.

Many centuries later, in this country, Frank Lloyd Wright buried copper pipes in the concrete floors of his Usonian homes and warmed them with hot water. A few postwar subdivisions, including Levittown, followed suit. But when the pipes eventually corroded, most home­owners abandoned radiant rather than jackhammer their floors.

Today, plastic PEX tubing has replaced metal as the favored means of feeding hydronic heat into floors, making radiant more affordable than ever. And with a no-fail track record in Europe going back more than 35 years, it's also made them more reliable.
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