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Old 01-30-2004, 06:24 PM   #1
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Not directly related to flooring... but-

This is the first time I'm mentioning this out loud, but I've been thinking about it since buying our GT last December.

I was reading a very stylish home magazine called Dwell. They were talking about flooring options, and covered all the usual options: cork, bamboo. They mentioned concrete, which would weigh far too much in a trailer environment (and crack I'm sure!) They also showed a floor made with large squares of dark leather, which looked simply gorgeous. It was even in a kitchen if I remember correctly. The trick was to wax it like you would shoes, and it stays very hardened, and practically impervious to spills! SO cool.

But here's the REALLY neat idea I had - a solution to saving valuable space -- radiant floor heating. Yep!!

There's a brand new product on the market called NuHeat ( that sits between a subfloor and tile, wood, pergo, whatever - and is only the thickness of an electric blanket.

It runs off regular 110v electricity, and while I'm not familiar with it being ever used in a trailer situation, it seemed the perfect way to me to keep space open by not needing heat vents, and instead just keeping the floor toasty warm on cold nights. It's controlled with a regular thermostat, and I think it's the way we're going to go once we've gotten past working on the frame.

I'd love to hear what you guys think, as this is definately something we're going to persue this spring.

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Old 01-30-2004, 06:39 PM   #2
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Not directly related to flooring... but-

Greetings Brad!

I have had radiant floor heating in my home for a number of years and love it. I would have a few concerns with using it in an RV:

1.) The mesh mat that the heating element is contained in wasn't designed for the constant vibrations of an RV and I would be concerned about long-term damage to the conductor wires.

2.) If the mesh mat is only laid under the exposed portion of the floor, would there be sufficient BTU output to heat the coach adequately?

3.) You would need either a generator or be linked to full-hookup campbrounds to have sufficient power to operate such a system. Boondocking in cool weather without a generator would be impractical if not impossible.

I dislike gas appliances and have lived in all-electric homes for a number of years. My concession is that in the RV the water heater and furnace are most practically powered by propane. I have the 3-Way Dometic RV Refrigerator in my Overlander and it has only been operated on LP for a grand total of at most five hours in the three years since it was installed - - the refrigerator has seen in excess of 24 weeks on continuous service in the three years that it has been in the coach.

Good luck with your decision!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:45 PM   #3
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Heated Floors

My family lives in Europe, where it's cold like in the Northern US states. Some of my siblings have heated floors in their homes. I tell you, there is nothing like stepping out of the shower on to a gently heated floor. They use it in the living and dining areas as well, but for some reason not in the bedrooms. The bedrooms usually have radiators under the windowsills.
I would imagine that his kind of heat would work great in a trailer floor.
One could design a system using a propane water heater and a 12V circulating pump, which would push hot water through water lines under the flooring. A large surface, gently warmed, radiates an amazing amount of heat.
Good insulation below would be essential with this system. Good Idea, Bredlo.
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Old 01-30-2004, 07:01 PM   #4
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Thumbs down My thoughts on the Leather

I would think that the leather (especially the finish) would be extremly difficult to keep clean.

Most camping, by definition, includes dirt, gravel, mud, muck, and mire, and, of course, the occasional critter.

Looks Good, Wears Bad.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 01-30-2004, 07:04 PM   #5
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Do you have any links to this particular system? I have dealt with the hotwater type systems in the past, usually as part of boiler/solar system, but have never seen a full electric. One house I owned had electric ceiling panels, never made a whole lot of sense to me as heat rises. I think that the Airstream would be a good canidate for this type of system as it has the insulated under belly to begin with. The only dificulty I see would be providing necessary heat for the holding tanks, but the do make tank heaters that you could use in conjuction with the radiant floor heat. The only other issue would be what would happen if you did not have power available. We lost power at our house the other day for about 3 hours during an ice storm, just cranked up the heat in the Airstream and stayed nice and warm using the LP and the battery power.

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Old 01-30-2004, 07:07 PM   #6
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Hot water radiant heat is how many of the Bluebird motor homes are heated. There is not a blower. While driving down the road it is motor aid. While parked it uses a pump and a propane fired heater, they may have the electric element too. I think it is just a normal Atwood water hearer with the motor aid coil.

I would also be concerned regarding the chafing aspect with the electric mat. I know that some of the newer Airstream models use some type of 12 volt mat to heat the tanks, but I would bet it is more like a water bed heater than something that is designed to be placed on the floor and floor covering installed. In a home installation the movement of the sub floor and the floor covering would be minimal, in your trailer this will not be the case.

What if you applied the heating element to the underside of the floor deck and re-insulated with a solid styrene board to keep the heat in. I know this is the way they sometimes do it in the north. This would not have the excessive rubbing since it would be hung from the surface to be heated and the styrene board insulation would allow for a possible better insulator that is currently installed anyhow.

Just rambling
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 01-30-2004, 09:51 PM   #7
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Really cheap floor, as chic as you can stand

If you want or need a really cheap floor, paint and stencil. If you're creative, you could paint rugs on the floor! Or, do like I did in a bathroom.... I wallpapered it! Doesn't need to be wallpaper, any kind of paper works. Just be sure to poly urtane it, three or four coats is enough to protect it. Want that leather look without the expense? Buy craft paper, the brown paper kind like old fashioned grocery bags. Tear into large, irregular pieces, and pain in the color of your chaice. Let dry. Now, wad it up. Tight. Into a ball. Lay flat as you can, and glaze it, wiping most of the glaze off. It sticks in the wrinkles where you wadded the paper..... now it looks like distressed leather. Apply to floor with wheat paste (or wallpaper paste of choice) smoothing it well. Now coat with three or four coats of poly urthane, and you've got the "Look" you want.... Innovative. And cheap.

Elizabeth in Iowa
The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 01-31-2004, 06:53 AM   #8
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Heated Floors

I built my house with total electric radiant heated floors. On my lower on grade floor I buried heating cables in sand underneath the concrete slab and on the upper floors I placed the heating cables on top of 2" wood T&G decking and a layer of gypsum board and then poured a 1inch concrete gypsum slab over the cables. The idea of heated floors is to create a storage reserve to bank the heat and not to use insulative materials that will negate the heat. The Nuheat and other electric pads are designed to be placed ideally in a thinset concrete mortar setting bed with a ceramic tile finish--materials that will hold heat and radiate heat well. Cork, wood, carpet, etc. all have insulative qualities and fight the concept of radiant heat. Here are the details:

Polystyrene was mentioned in this thread. You cannot put the cables in contact with polystyrene. You would melt it. I didn't fully understand that comment. There is underfloor insulation already in an Airstream under the plywood. The cables can come in contact with the plywood floor.

Hot water heated radiant tubes have to be encased in concrete and require a boiler. I think that would be way overkill and impractical.

I'll leave it to others to answer this question for Airstreams. If you can successfully lay ceramic tile on an Airstream floor I would think the Nuheat could work. The other major question is can the Airstream handle the increased electrical load?
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:12 PM   #9
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i think this would work well in my upcoming AS remodel......not restore, but moderize and build to my taste. quite possible i will be wintering in some hardcore places.

i have built a few houses, a few products i like are radiant flooring, small boilers and blow-in insulation. i wonder if these would work well in a trailer situation? has anyone tried it?

this stuff is great, Warmboard-

and a small boiler to run the Warmboard and supply domestic hotwater

then use BIBS (Blow In Blanket System) insulation in the floor and walls and one could be pretty toasty eh? the radiant floor setup could help with freezing issues?

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