Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab
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freeport13
I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

If anyone can help me before I purchase I would appreciate it tons!! I am currently looking at a home in upstate New York that is sitting on a slab. I like the home but I do not have a clue regarding what to look for and I am sure it needs help. Currently the home is heated with electric baseboard, how could I update that? I want to address the floor and its ability to keep my feet warm, is that possible? What is the best floor covering? I will stop there, again thank you 4 your help.

Auburn
New York

dj1
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

First let me say this: know what you are buying BEFORE you sign the documents.

Hire an inspector, let him inspect the property, and then go from there.

Trustworthy local contractors can answer all your questions after that.

ordjen
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

In most areas of the country, electric is an expensive way to heat, especially resistance heating. Later generation heat pumps are relatively efficient, but now you are talking about significant upfront expenses.

Speaking as one who lived for 30 years in the Chicago area in a home with the main level on a slab, it was cold when it was really cold out. That slab just conducts the cold inward. Mine was built in 1970. Later homes had more care taken with thermal breaks and insulation under the slab.

The simplest solution is to look for another home, unless there are redeeming qualities to the home.

MtMan54
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

Hi, Jack the house up off the slab and slip an insulated floor under it. Then buy a wood stove. Thanks

ordjen
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

I assume that the last post was tongue in cheek, but crazier things have been done. I remember about 20 years ago, many Florida slab homes were condemed after hurricane flooding. The living quarters were just a couple feet above sea level. One enterprising contractor found a way to jack up the slab as a whole and build carport structures on the ground level, thus meeting the building codes. As I recall, he had a series of holes drilled into the slab into which a jacking towers fit. He was able to distribute the lifting force and lift the slab and house intact.

I don't suggest this for the concerned house, but it is interesting what can be done when the figures compute.

dj1
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab
ordjen wrote:

I assume that the last post was tongue in cheek, but crazier things have been done. I remember about 20 years ago, many Florida slab homes were condemed after hurricane flooding. The living quarters were just a couple feet above sea level. One enterprising contractor found a way to jack up the slab as a whole and build carport structures on the ground level, thus meeting the building codes. As I recall, he had a series of holes drilled into the slab into which a jacking towers fit. He was able to distribute the lifting force and lift the slab and house intact.

I don't suggest this for the concerned house, but it is interesting what can be done when the figures compute.

I think that this is what they are trying to do in NJ shore, after Sandy.

Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

An uninsulated slab will conduct heat to the exterior and feel cold nearly all the time. We design and install many retrofit radiant floors here in Minneapolis and use several surface mounted pre-insulated radiant heating panel systems to make old slabs perform like new ones.

We start by specifying perimeter insulation to cover the edges of the slab--where the bulk of the heat is lost--and down to the frost line in most cases.

There are many fine old homes with uninsulated slabs--we consult with many Frank Lloyd Wrigtht home owners--and making them comfortable is challenging but far from impossible. Where we can't properly insulate or radiate the floor, usually due to structural limitation presented by doors etc., we use insulating floor coverings and look to wall-hung radiators, radiant ceilings and walls.

Fencepost
Re: I need some PROFESSIONAL help with Home on top of slab

If you can bear to have your floors 1 or 1+1/2" higher, you can lay radiant heating pipes (PEX) and overlay with a lightweight concrete. It can even be stamped and stained, if you want the concrete to be the finished surface. To improve efficiency, you could put an insulating layer -- perhaps that thin, mylar-faced "bubble wrap"-type stuff -- under it all. The concrete mix must be engineered for this purpose; you will not get good results with a bag of general-purpose redi-mix from the big box store.

The pipes will circulate hot water from a boiler. I think this would be called an in-floor hydronic heating system.

A few adjustments will be required for this method: doors may need to be trimmed or raised; cabinets will need to be removed and reinstalled at the proper height, and toilet flanges will need to be extended. If your local building inspector isn't familiar with this process, you may have an uphill battle convincing him/her that it's safe, viable, and meets building codes.

P.S. -- I'm not a PROFESSIONAL in that trade, so please forgive my AMATEUR advice. :cool:

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