When I started designing my new shop I thought of all the shops I’ve hated working in and what I wanted to avoid: poor electrical outlets, terrible lighting, inefficient heating (always having cold feet), inefficient cooling (bugs everywhere in the summer because all the doors had to be open)… More than anything, I wanted a comfortable environment, no matter the season or time of year, someplace I could work enjoyably into my 70s and—if I’m lucky—beyond. That’s why I chose to install a radiant floor.
I’ll never recover the investment I made in the radiant slab, at least not economically. As one friend suggested, I could have installed a propane heater, turned the thermostat to 70, and never spent nearly as much on propane as I did on that radiant slab!
But having spent three years working in my new shop, I think every dime I spent was well worth it. I never get overheated because the primary heat radiates up from the floor, heating my feet first, rather than from the ceiling and heating my head first!
It doesn’t cost a fortune to heat the slab—I set the thermostat to 60 degrees and my electrical bill goes up about $65.00/month from December through March. I generate mountains of wood and sawdust waste in my shop—especially milling logs and turning bowls, which is one reason I installed a woodstove—to burn up the waste and the mistakes. But I use the woodstove to bump the temperature up, which takes only a few minutes. Trust me, it’s a heavenly place.