Radiator Covers

I have been looking into radiator covers/boxes lately; mainly so I don't have to decorate behind the ***kin things. From what I can see the design is pretty simple, a wooden frame with some form of perforated material to let the air flow. So why the **** do they cost so much? (up to 250) I'm sure I could make something as good (if not better) for about 10 - 20 plus a few hours with a router. Am I missing something here? Has anyone else made their own?
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Martin wrote:

<snip>
That's a lot of work to do just to avoid painting behind a radiator! How hard do you think it is?!?
--
Grunff

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So don't. I never decorate behind radiators. It's much easier just to punch anyone who says "You don't decorate behind your radiators?"
--
"The road to Paradise is through Intercourse."
[email me at huge [at] huge [dot] org [dot] uk]
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Huge wrote:

Lol - why didn't I think of that?
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You're not as permanently angry as me?
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Huge wrote:

Hmmm, could be that.
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writes:

lmao ;) Been close to that myself ;))
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Jet
(doing the thumping, that is ;))
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On 24 Jan 2004, Martin wrote
-snip-

I don't think you're missing much (at least, I've also wondered why they seem so wildly overpriced). I've not made my own, but a good friend made them out of MDF; they looked fine, and seemed to do the trick.
(As for decorating behind radiators, my vote's with the other posters: cutting and dropping down for wallpaper, and using a radiator roller for painted walls does it well enough for me.)
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Harvey
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Yep - we've made several here too. Main cost is always the grill at the front. MDF ones aren't too costly but some of the brass wire versions we've made cost a bit!
Steve
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On another tact, don't radiator covers reduce the effective output of the radiator as your heating the MDF not the room?
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....but you miss the satisfaction of flushing out the radiator, painting the brackets and screwing them back over the new wall paper or paint - and wait for it.........rubbing down the radiator with wet & dry and painting it horizontally to avoid runs.
Then getting hand prints on the paint because I was impatient to put it back!
Takes all sorts........
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Regards

John

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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 17:53:41 +0000 (UTC), "Martin"

I'm planning to make some at the moment, and you are right, it is a few hours work. I'll give you a few comments from research I've done.
- Bear in mind that encasing a radiator, even if you have a fairly open grille front, will reduce the heat output by 20-30%. So before you start, if you feel that the heating in a given room is anywhere close to marginal, you may need to fit a higher output radiator. If a radiator is single panel it can be replaced with a double panel or a model with fins. However, check that the pipework is adequately sized to cope with a radiator upgrade if it's needed. You need to look into all of this before you start because even if a radiator of same height and width can be found, it will probably be deeper, and having made a cabinet, it would spoil your day to discover that there is a shortfall in the heating.
- Thermostatic radiator valves need to be positioned outside the cabinet, or the artificially high temperature inside the cabinet will result in the valve tending to close with the room temperature lower than you want. You can increase the TRV setting, but even then if the valve head is inside the cabinet the effect will be that it won't respond as effectively to room temperature change. An alternative solution is that some valve manufacturers do make versions with a remote sensor and a small capillary. You position the sensor outside the box and the valve inside in the usual place.
- Solid wood is not that good a choice for construction because of the ranges of temperature. Unless you are very accomplished with how to manage movement in wood, it will tend to shrink, expand and warp. You might be able to get away with solid wood trim pieces. A pragmatic solution is to use some form of MDF. This does not have to be plain, primed and then painted if you don't like that. Veneered MDF is available, although you probably wouldn't reach a 10-20 price target.
- Front grilles can be obtained from a variety of sources, although I suppose you could do the fretwork and cut your own. Most of the online cabinet suppliers like Jali will sell you the grille only, and places like B&Q have a selection of MDF and metal types. It's worth taking some time searching, as there are reasonable grilles and there is some rubbish.
.andy
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

If you *are* going to cover your radiators - regardless of whether you make or buy the covers - you should first assess the effect of the cover on the heat output. The cover will inevitable reduce air circulation round the rad - and reduce the heat getting into the room. If the rad is already marginal for output, it won't be enough with a cover on!
If you're decorating, you can't - IMHO - adequately paint a radiator in situ. You need to take it off and lay it flat - in which case you can decorate behind it while it's off.
If any of your radiators are old and 'orrible - and need covering up - throw them away and replace them with nice new ones. Modern finned radiators have a higher heat output, size for size, than non-finned ones - and have metal covers at the ends and top - and look far more attractive than older ones, without any need to cover them further for aesthetic reasons.
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* the "British Gas" install on my mother in laws` house done ~3 months ago only have fins, not the metal covers ends and top.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

In that case, perhaps I should have said "*some* modern radiators . . .have metal covers at the ends and top . ."
I was thinking of rads like the Stelrad Savanna range - and those sold by Screwfix - neither of which are overly expensive. I suppose you can expect BG to save a few coppers wherever they can, whilst charging top whack to the customer!
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Yes: that both time and skill cost money. You aren't making a like-for-like comparison in financial terms if you ignore the cost of your own labour and skill.
I don't have the skills needed to make a really good job of such a construction, but do think a cover would look good in my living room. So this afternoon I checked prices - say 60 seems the norm for the style / size I want. My alternative is to ask a carpenter I know to make one for me, but I'd have to take the cost of his labour into account when comparing prices.
This is, of course, is why many of us chose DIY.
Barbara
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