The design of the radiator cover can have a huge impact on the
effectiveness of the radiator. I ran across a site that had showed
the different cross sections of radiator covers and their relative
efficiency. I'll see if I can find it...hang on.
Damn, sorry it took so long. Here it is:
From that illustration you can see that the enclosure can have a
tremendous effect on the heating capacity of a radiator - something
like a 40% swing in effective capacity. When the old timers sized a
system's radiators, they could fine tune comfort levels in particular
rooms by painting the radiators a different color (metallic paints put
out the least amount of heat, white, black and terra cotta put out the
most), or building a radiator enclosure with a particular design which
would increase or decrease the heating capacity of that radiator.
That was fast for me.
Does the same apply to baseboard radiant heating? I would assume it does
since the concept is still the same. Therefore, I made my own covers out of
finish grade pine (no knots) and stained and polyed them to match my oak
floors. I tried two different designs on separate rooms. One, I routed
grooves to emulate the grill appearance on top of the main board while
leaving an inch along the bottom. The other, I left the top intact, such as
a shelf, also leaving an inch on the bottom and another inch along the top
of the face.
I heard of the aluminum foil concept behind it for better results after I've
completed them which I will install this summer.