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?
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
(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.)
....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
Takes all sorts........
"SpeedyC" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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
- 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.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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.
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
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
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
This is, of course, is why many of us chose DIY.
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