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This article discusses the best choices for poured acrylic or epoxy finish flooring to use over a concrete floor slab intended to provide direct solar heat gain and heat storage.
We discuss: Ceramic tile over radiant heat floor slab. Flooring materials for passive solar floor slab designs where direct solar gain and passive solar heat storage are desired. Solar Age Magazine Articles on Renewable Energy, Energy Savings, Construction Practices
Accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Our page top photograph shows a gray-color finish applied to a poured concrete floor in a New York home. Photo courtesy Ralph Arlyck, Timed Exposures.
What Poured Finish Flooring to Use Over a Thermal Mass Passive Solar Concrete Floor Slab
The question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.
What Poured Finish Flooring Products are Available to Use Over a Passive Solar Thermal Mass Concrete Floor Slab?
Question:I plan to build a passive solar home with poured acrylic floors over a thermal mass concrete slab.
I understand tha these finishes can be installed for as little as $2 a square foot [in the 1980's].
How will they affect the solar performance of our passive thermal mass concrete floor slab?
- Gerald Griffith, Columbia PA
Our photograph (above left) shows a modest (limited sunlight) passive solar interior floor, constructed over a poured concrete slab in a Minnesota Cabin on Lake Superior. The designers intended to use a radiant-heated insulated concrete floor slab, but unfortunately the builder installed the radiant tubing improperly and the heat was not usable.
See RADIANT HEAT FLOOR MISTAKES). The insulated concrete floor continues to function as a limited passive solar slab, offering thermal mass that steadies building temperatures even in very cold Minnesota weather.
In the 1980's poured acrylic flooring products were difficult to find but available. Poured acrylic or poured epoxy finish flooring products come in two parts: an acrylic (or epoxy) matrix and a catalyst (hardener).
You can vary the pattern and color of the poured finish floor covering by adding colorants and chips to the material.
The abilities of the surface to absorb and conduct heat both affect how much heat enters the thermal mass passive solar floor slab. Because the acrylic (or epoxy) finish flooring bonds chemically to the concrete floor, heat should flow into the slab better than it would through adhesive-bonded resilient flooring and better than it does through adhesive-bonded ceramic tiles in our photograph of the Minnesota floor above.
The darker the color of your pour-on finish flooring, the more heat will be asbsorbed. Light flooring materials absorb less solar radiation (heat) and are thus less efficient (as much as 40 percent less for pastel colors).
Examples of Pour-on Finishes for Thermal Mass Concrete Slabs
Take a look at these contemporary pour-on finishes that work well on concrete slabs.
At left the radiant slab poured concrete floor is shown with the final and satisfactory polished finish. The floor had a milky quality on the first pass but the installers were able to solve the problem and get it looking right. Photo courtesy Ralph Arlyck, Timed Exposures.
Fabrikote concrete coatings - http://www.fabrikem.com [difficult to sort out among product choices]
Flex Bon, epoxy seamless poured flooring. This product has been produced in various forms since 1962. Flex Bon® Seamless Floors, Locust & Linden Streets,
McKees Rocks, PA 15136, (888) 331-3860 - http://www.flexbonflooring.com/
Flex Bon Express consists of a two-part, pigmented epoxy base coat that cures overnight to an extremely hard and glossy finish. Vinyl flakes are also supplied with the kit, and may be broadcast into the uncured base coat to create a decorative terrazzo effect.
Martens epoxy Flooring Products, include epoxy floors, acrylic floors, and urethane coatings. Martens Inc., 1685 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY 14618, TEL: 585-241-6000, FAX: 585-241-6002, http://martenscorp.com/
Resin Poured Flooring, seamless polyurethane, acrylic, or epoxy flooring products, Resin Flooring North East Ltd, 28 Herons Cour, Gilesgate,
Durham, DH1 2HD, UK, Tel: 07720685438. The company provides resin flooring products including epoxy, polyurethane, and acrylic floors. Two types of poured resin flooring are available epoxy and polyurethane.
Poured Resin Flooring is perfectly flat and available in a wide range of colours with gloss or matt finishes. Poured Resin Floors can be tailored to be your own unique flooring surface. Poured resins have been utilised for many years in industrial applications but with advances in resin technology this can now be extended to domestic, leisure and retail premesis. Poured resin flooring looks sensational in open plan areas, warehouse conversions and domestic situations to name a few.
Poured Resin Flooring comes in a liquid form which can be installed on numerous substrates and awkward shaped details or spaces. A seal coat can be applied to this system using polymer beads suspended in resin to create an anti slip flooring surface.
Designers, specifiers and architects people dedicated to creating the extraordinary are using Poured Resin Flooring on a regular basis across a wide range of projects due to its durability, aesthetics, fast installation and cost effectivness compared to more traditional flooring materials.
Silpro Corporation provides coatings for poured concrete floors that may be suitable where the finish color and texture are in the concrete itself (see Slipro Masonry Lusta). SILPRO Corporation, 2 New England Way, Ayer, MA 01432-1514, Telephone: 978-772-4444, Toll free: 800-343-1501
Facsimile: 978-772-7456, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.silpro.com
Super-Fleck Acrylic Chips, used in garages and basements on concrete (or other surface materials) combine with a top coating such as an epoxy floor finish. http://www.topsecretcoatings.com/chips.asp
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Solar Age Magazine was the official publication of the American Solar Energy Society. The contemporary solar energy magazine associated with the Society is Solar Today. "Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. We advance education, research and policy. Leading for more than 50 years.
ASES leads national efforts to increase the use of solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies in the U.S. We publish the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, organize and present the ASES National Solar Conference and lead the ASES National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the world."
Steve Bliss's Building Advisor at buildingadvisor.com helps homeowners & contractors plan & complete successful building & remodeling projects: buying land, site work, building design, cost estimating, materials & components, & project management through complete construction. Email: email@example.com
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines. He worked in the building trades as a carpenter and design/build contractor for more than ten years and holds a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Ralph Arlyck, Timed Exposures, Tivoli, NY. Mr. Arlyck is a documentary film maker and producer/director of Timed Exposures, an independent film production company, Timed Exposures has produced more than a dozen critically-acclaimed documentaries which span a broad spectrum of subjects. These films have been broadcast widely in the United States and Europe, and have won top prizes at American and international festivals. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. He is also a contributor to InspectApedia.com in several technical areas such as plumbing and appliances (dryer vents). Contact Mr. Cranor at 804-747-7747 or by Email: email@example.com
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume I, the Passive Solar Handbook Introduction to Passive Solar Concepts, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v1.pdf
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume II, the Passive Solar Handbook Comprehensive Planning Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v2.pdf [This is a large PDF file that can take a while to load]
Passive Solar Handbook Volume III, the Passive Solar Handbook Programming Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v3.pdf
"Passive Solar Home Design", U.S. Department of Energy, describes using a home's windows, walls, and floors to collect and store solar energy for winter heating and also rejecting solar heat in warm weather.
"Solar Water Heaters", U.S. Department of Energy article on solar domestic water heaters to generate domestic hot water in buildings, explains how solar water heaters work. Solar heat for swimming pools is also discussed.
"Heat-Transfer Fluids for Solar Water Heating Systems", U.S. DOE, describes the types of fluids selected to transfer heat between the solar collector and the hot water in storage tanks in a building. These include air, water, water with glycol antifreeze mixtures (needed when using solar hot water systems in freezing climates), hydrocarbon oils, and refrigerants or silicones for heat transfer.
"Solar Water Heating System Freeze Protection", U.S. DOE,using antifreeze mixture in solar water heaters (or other freeze-resistant heat transfer fluids), as well as piping to permit draining the solar collector and piping system.
"Solar Air Heating" U.S. DOE also referred to as "Ventilation Preheating" in which solar systems use air for absorbing and transferring solar energy or heat to a building
"Solar Liquid Heating" U.S. DOE, systems using liquid (typically water) in flat plate solar collectors to collect solar energy in the form of heat for transfer into a building for space heating or hot water heating. The term "solar liquid" is used for accuracy, rather than "solar water" because the water may contain an antifreeze or other chemicals.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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