Radiant Heat Cont’d. | In Slab Tubing

By Todd Fratzel on Air Conditioning

In my previous post, Radiant Heat New Construction, I wrote about using radiant heat in homes. In the basement slab of my new home I have radiant heat and I thought I’d share some pictures of the tubing and insulation layout.

As you can see in the photos the PEX tubing is layed out on top of an insulating mat called InsulTarp. The beauty of this insulation product is that it can be rolled out on the sub-grade, taped together and fitted around slab penetrations easily. Traditionally people put down rigid Styrofoam board which was difficult to lay out especially on un-even ground.

Once the Insul-Tarp is put down, the PEX tubing is “stapled” to the insulation with a special tool. The staples are plastic hooks that have barbs similar to fish hooks that hook onto the insulation. Each section of PEX tubing is run out to half it’s length and then worked back to the header location.

After all the PEX is installed a layer of welded wire fabric (reinforcing) is placed on top of the PEX tubes. The reinforcing serves two purposes, one is to reinforce the slab but the other benefit is to hold down the tubes in the wet concrete.

Many contractors may even allow you to lay out the PEX yourself as a way to save some money. The procedure is really quite easy with some simple instructions.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Paul says:

    Hey Tim, Are you going to heat your slab with a boiler or with solar? I am considering putting in some solar panels for Domestic Hot Water next spring. I figure 80 sf of collector area and 120 gal heat storage should work for us.

  2. Todd says:


    I’m using a 97% efficient gas boiler to heat my domestic hot water and radiant system that is in the basement slab, 1st Floor, and 2nd floor baths, I have regular baseboard heat in the 2nd floor bedrooms.


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