Frequently asked questions

Radiant Floor heat is an efficient way to heat your new home or building. The heat produced radiates from the floor, providing you with usable heat. In the long run it is more cost effective than other conventional types of heating, and it is initially easier to install. It is a quiet source of heat. Radiant floor heat can be environmentally friendly by using less resources to heat your area. 

Ease of use: labor savings; energy savings; environmentally friendly; faster construction; few design limitations; won’t support mold growth; provides no food source for termites or other pests.

In the short run, you can save labor hours by using the unique knobs or flowers to grab and hold your PERT, PEX. The panel’s design allows installers to keep their spacing consistent. If the installers don’t like the layout, simply pull up the PERT, PEX and start over. In the long run, “walking” the PERT, PEX into place can save up to 75% of hand and knee “tie off” time and the ergonomic problems that can follow.


Yes, they act as a vapor barrier when installed correctly. 

ASTM C1338 (Standard Test Method for Determining Fungi Resistance of Insulation Materials and Facings) testing done on expanded polystyrene has demonstrated that under laboratory conditions there was no trace of growth over a 28 day incubation period. This test was done for 5 types of fungal growth.


Radiant floor heat allows your to potentially use less resources to heat your building. The heat being produced is being used in the habitable zone of your building, and not being blown around inefficiently.

Crete-Heat panels are recyclable, and can be reprocessed into the basic polystyrene resin they are derived from.


PERT, PEX tubing can be a challenge to unwind and bend in cold weather regardless of how it is being installed. Try to keep the PERT, PEX warm before and during installation to minimize the possibility of kinks and backlash. If your PERT, PEX wants to ”pop” in a bend, it may be necessary to use an occasional plastic staple or half clamp to fasten the PERT, PEX to the Crete-Heat™ panel.


The “R” value controversy is as confusing as the IRS tax code and many insulation vendors like it that way. While there is a lot of difference between lab testing and real life, thermodynamics is what it is, regardless of what is published on a vendor’s line card. In ”slab on grade” hydronic installations, you need a thermal break under the tubing to keep the heat in the slab and prevent heat from escaping to the ground underneath. More “R” means less heat loss, but more material cost. Crete-Heat® panels have an “R” value of 10 for the two-inch and 6 for the one-inch.


Factors such as climate, water table and occupancy, among others, will influence the “R” value desirable and economically justifiable. In many cases, Crete-Heat® panels have sufficient “R” value to be placed directly on the leveled sub base.

Crete-Heat® panels have a skin to provide the toughness required to withstand the rigors of the jobsite. It also provides an adequate vapor retarder. If you anticipate heavy traffic before the pour we advise protecting the panels with plywood sheeting. Repeated removal and replacement of PERT, PEX may hamper the ability of the panels to continue to grip tubing.

Because they are treated with a fire retardant, exposed Crete-Heat® panels will self-extinguish once a source of flame is removed. After installation the concrete pour will act as a barrier and the foam panels should not contribute to a fire.


The best outdoor use for Crete-Heat® panels is snowmelt on concrete sidewalks, drive ways, or handicapped ramps.

Yes, but only if the building structure will support the weight of the concrete or lightweight concrete. Another consideration is the additional height of the combined thickness (usually 3” to 4”) of the panels and concrete.

Crete-Heat® panels have a compressive strength of 25 psi for most residential and light machinery applications. We also offer a 40 psi board to support larger, heavy machinery. 

Crete-Heat® panels are designed for use with the thermal mass “flywheel” effect of concrete. A heated mass tends to radiate warmth long after the heat source is removed, providing the most comfortable heat imaginable. Also, hydronic radiant heat is very economical because it heats the thermal mass instead of the air.


To estimate the square feet of panels needed for a job, simply take the square footage and divide by 8. This is the number of panels needed. Crete-Heat® panels are sold only in full bags. For example, if your project is 25,000 sq. ft./ 8 = 3125 panels, divide by 8 again = 390.625 bags. We would ship 391 bags, and you would have a few left for miss cuts, odd cuts and samples.


Good workmanship always pays dividends and this is no exception. The panels will lay flatter with less chance of breakage if you can keep the high and low spots within a 1” of each other. You will have less panel damage and a more even pour. Your customer will be happier because the result will be a more even heat distribution.


If wire mesh is being used on the installation Crete-Heat® panels will still hold the PERT, PEX on the base and not be tied to the mesh. This eliminates concerns about the PERT, PEX “floating” near the surface during the pour.


Crete-Heat® panels can be reprocessed into the basic polystyrene resin they are derived from.

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