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Hi neighbors! I'm also a new log on the stack. We plan to build early next year in central NY. I have been following all the great advice that I have read on this site and am doing my research....research....research. I am left with a couple questions at the moment:
1) Has anyone had any experience with steel roofs vs. shingles? I know steel is more expensive, less maintenance, better in snow country, and that shingles can be an algae risk especially in the woods.
2) Does anyone have any pro's and con's regarding radiant flooring heating systems?
Thanks for your insights!
Regards, Norb

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Norb,

You will probably get a variety of answer to these questions.

1. we looked at doing a steel roof for our place. But, the builder did not like the idea of also doing skylights near the bottom of a long pitch. the concern would be the last set of ice sliding down and popping the skylights out like bottlecaps. So, we stayed with the skylights and no steel roof.

I have also heard that since a log home moves and shifts the metal roof will loosen. So, you have to go up and tighten things down periodically. Also, make sure the pitch of the roof is enough to have the snow and ice slide off. You don't want to have folks trying to stand on a metal roof in the winter to shovel it. We have neighbors with a nice metal roof. However, they did not consider that in their design. each winter as things start to slide off their deck railing gets wiped out. Just some things to consider.

2. Radiant floor heat is different - it warms things - not the air. It gives a nice even heat. However, if you are doing this for a weekend retreat you will use one weekend a month you have to think about how long will it take to bring the house up to a comfortable temperature? With a hot air furnace it would not be long since it would fell warm quickly. The same is with hot water baseboard. Radiant heat could take all weekend and still not be up to temp and it is time to go home. How well does it work in a very large room with high ceilings and a large glass wall? That could be harder to heat than just heating the air.
Thanks, Brad. Good advice. I appreciate your time to reply. You bring up a good point about making sure that snow and ice have a clear path to avoid taking out skylights and deck railings. I expect a steep pitch to my roof so I hope it will be self-clearing. I'll also check with some roofing installers & manufacturers about your point of settling and re-tightening.
On the radiant flooring heating, I wonder if a timer-thermostat could be programmed to pre-heat the house before we arrive and start to set it back when we are ready to leave?
Regards, Norb
Hi Norb< Julie and I have chosen to install radiant heating in our home. We did a lot of research on it and then did our homework. We installed the radiant tubing and manifold system ourselves and saves thousands from what plumbers would have charged us. Our home will be our main year round residence though so lag time for heating isn't an issue with us. A good place to get info for Radiant heating is: www.randiantec.com They offer do it yourself instructions and are also very reasonable in pricing. As to our roof, we had planned for a metal roof all along, but when it came to the actual project, after talking with three different roofers, we chose an asphalt roof. It worked out best for us. Plus we won't hear the rain when it hits the roof like we would have with a metal roof. Dave
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Dave. I will follow-up on your suggested web site, too. I am envious that you did the radiant heating install yourself. Did you do it under the wood subfloor in a full basement or crawl space, or did you do it in a cement slab?
Regards, Norb
Our basement radiant tubing was laid out on top of the double-bubble insulation and tied to metal framing, then the cement was poured over it. The main floor and loft will have radiant tubing with reflector plates installed between the I Beems. Dave
Thanks, Dave. Hope to hear how you like your system after a heating season. Is it hard to run the tubing up to the loft; did you create a false inside wall to run the plumbing up? What type of water boiler did you use?
Regards, Norb
Norb,

If this is new construction your best bet on the radiant heat is to use IP based thermostats. These plug into your house computer network and are accessible through a browser. My son installed 3 of these in his house and they have been working very well. He has a normal schedule for when he is "home", "away", or "coming home". He goes to a web page and he can change a day's status and the thermostats handle the heat correctly. Off his Great Room thermostat he has a remote sensor in the kitchen and another outside under the deck. The thermostat really works off the kitchen's temp as that is more accurate.

Just to see one of the thermostat pages go to http://octagon.homeip.net:8071/ to see what the interface looks like. He can be sitting in the airport in Chicago and turn the heat up off his cell phone's browser.
Thanks, Brad. Excellent suggestion. I will look into this. It will be a new construction, so I will look into the cost of this technology. My wife, Carol, knows how I love technology! I like the idea of the ability to remote monitor the temperatures at the site when we can't be there.
Regards, Norb
There could be a whole discussion area here on control systems, web cameras, remote access, technology in general. In our house and my son's our standard is things must be IP network based. Then we can control them in the house off a laptop and you can get at them remotely with a browser also.

We have experience with
- thermostats
- lighting systems
- control switches
- temperature sensors (for radiant heat for example)
- web cameras inside and outside
- driveway snow melt system

All these are managed with a browser. I like technical things also.
Brad: I'm interested in browser control of thermostats, lighting, cameras etc. Can you provide any more information?
Brad, Can you give me some more information on the IP Thermostats? I am very interested in that. Dave
steel roofs are great if you are lazy and dont want to shovel snow off your roof but are very dangerous when you have a house fire because the heat cannot escape. they also make your house a lot hotter in the summer. I am a contractor and built my log home wanted steel roof but thought better against it. went with 30 year 3 dimensional shingles instead and no regrets.

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