Hello. I hope this is not sacriligeous but we moved from the west coast where we almost purchased an eichler to the east coast and purchased a Gelbin. (He once worked with Frank Lloyd Wright as an engineer and then went on to design his own modern homes.) The house is very similar. It has radiant heat. T&G flat roof (new experience with the snow), walls of thin glass and so on. My question is this - the previous owners had one sometimes two layers of carpet on the radiant floor. I know that the origianl concrete floor had a thin decorative layer of concrete on it. I have heard mentioned in other eichler chat rooms an Ardex floor? What is this? Is this the best way to go? Another option is tiling. Is it hard to do the 12x12 tiles if the floor isn't level? Can you level the floor out without effecting the radiant heat? I need input and knowledge as I think I am going to find less contractors who know modern housing here than the west coast. Thanks.
Experienced tilers can make your floor level - they do it all the time. I think they use thinset, or something like it, to level out the floor and then they lay the tile. We had our entire home done wiht 12x12 ceramic tile and love it. The floor was not level (nothing made of natural materials is...) but the guys did a wonderful job of leveling it and all the tiles meet one another well.
The one thing that we would have done differently had we known, would have been to use extra-thin grout lines. Ours are traditional width- about 3/8" I think and they look fine, but it is more in keeping with the modern asthetic to use really thin lines so that they "disappear" to the eye. A contractor neighbor of ours did 20x20 limestone (HIGH maintenance) with nearly invisible grout lines in his kitchen, and it looks fabulous. This kind of installation takes someone who really knows what they are doing, since even the smallest mistake can result in cracking tile and grout. Lastly, one distinct advantage you have is that you are on slab. Slab is a much better subfloor for tile than wood is.
I cannot answer your Ardex question.
there has been a ton of discussion on this board regarding flooring and radiant heat. Please use the search function on this board to review those old threads.
nothing beats a hard surface glued to your slab.