Solid hardwood floors over heating tubes?

I have been told by a few hardwood (bamboo and oak) floor suppliers that laying these 5/8" thick floors over the hydronic heating tubes is ok. The oak floor planks are in one piece whereas the 5/8" bamboo flooring has three layers with the middle one perpendicular to the other two.
Just a few days ago I had a contact with another supplier who said that only bamboo veneer over a softwood is suitable for laying over hydronic heating.
Comments appreciated.
RF
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Hello, I'm in the process of laying a 1/2" engineered plank (three layer, oak) floor over a concrete pad with radiant tubes installed. According to the manufacturer, it is fine as long as the floor remains under 85 degrees F. With concrete you have to use a vapor barrier, and I'm installing it as a floating floor.
Hope this helps, Larry

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RedFox wrote:

Best surface temperature for wood is 80-85F. This is done by controlling the temperature and flow rate of the water in the tubes under the wood floor. All hydronic piping under wood floors should be on their own zones (ie. not sharing water with radiators) as the temperature requirements for under-wood heating and radiators is VASTLY different.
Are you just installing the heating system now? If so, make sure you have a 'slab sensor' embedded in the gypsum/concrete layer under the area where the wood is to be installed so it can measre the temperature of the slab and send a signal back to the control valve/mixer to keep the water temperature at the correct value. The area under the wood MUST be separated from other areas where you may be using stone or ceramic flooring.
Suggest that you go to the manufacturer of your heating tubing's web site for some background information on the electronic controls they offer to manage each heating zone.
Most wood flooring manufacturers recommend 4" or narrower strips when radiant heated, but I have seen great installations with 12" wide reclaimed hardwood.
Temperature control is the key. Don't expect to use under-wood hydronic as your primary heat source if you have an old drafty house in Minnesota as the water temperature will have to be too high. On the other hand, if that same house uses cast-iron radiators as the primary source and you just want to take the chill off the floors then you are ok.
If your house is built using ICF or SIP panels, then you can heat it exclusively with under-wood radiant - depending on the exact details of your home design, location, number of and quality of windows, etc.... YMMV.
Strict attention to detail is what makes or breaks a hydronic under-wood installation. You need a really experienced hydronic contractor who has been around and done many wood installations for this
See also: http://www.nofma.org/installation5.htm
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Thanks Larry and John for the very useful info.
The lower floor will be over a crawl space and there will be about 9" of fiberglass insulation (R19) and a reflector sheet below the heating tubes. The upper floor will have no floor insulation, so there will be some heat flow from the lower floor. The house is in the early stages of construction and will be tight, draftwise and it's near the west coast. There will be occasional light frost in the winter and very few windows face north, and when they do, they are very small. . Windows will be wood with double glazing. The wood strips will be about 4" wide. The hydronics were designed by a New England company - Radiantec I believe. The whole system will be divided into zones with independent automatic controls on each. I am not planning baseboard radiators for the lower floors but if I need to put carpet on the upper floors, I'll use baseboard (water) heating and they would be separate zones with their own controls. This decision is still in the melting pot.
The walls will be 6" thick SIPs.
Thanks again and enjoy the weekend.
RF
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RedFox wrote:

You may want to do a Google search on Radiantec and see if there have been any consumer complaints. I seem to recollect reading that there may have been some for some of the DIY companies but I cannot recall which one(s).
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Has advice... http://www.broadleaftimber.com/floors/technicalinfo/ftechnicalinfo.html
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Thank you CW - there's quite a bit of good advice there.
RF
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