Cast Iron Baseboard Radiator Cover help!

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Old 08-10-13, 01:51 AM
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Cast Iron Baseboard Radiator Cover help!

My wife and I recently purchased our new house an it is heated by mostly cast iron baseboard radiators (see attached photos). My wife absolutely hates the look of them so I was thinking of building some sort of cover for them. I was planning on using OAK for the wood, having cut-outs on the front and possible the top where I would attach a decorative aluminum screen. Obviously there has to be some way to access the piping so I was thinking instead of making the entire top lift up, I would use (2) piano hinges (one on each end) and make smaller sections that lift up. That way I could still access the pipes. I have read and read on covers for radiators and most say to put some type of reflective material behind the radiator & on the inside top of the cover. What kind of material? Like sheet metal? Also, can this material touch my baseboard because to get it behind the baseboard it will be touching the radiator and wall.

The cast iron baseboard radiator is a hair over 8" tall and is 11' long.

Any ideas or help on this would be GREATLY appreciated. Also, I have looked At replacements such as Runtal and they just cost WAY to much.

Thanks in advance!
-Greg
 
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Old 08-10-13, 06:31 AM
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I would not cover them at all... You will probably lose air circulation and heat output...

Those are beautiful to me... I think just paint them will make them look better...

Some I see that look good is the baseboards are different color then the wall.....
 
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Old 08-10-13, 07:38 AM
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Remember this: A LARGE portion of the heat output of any cast iron emitter is RADIANT heat.

Regular FIN-TUBE baseboard operates differently than cast iron. With FIN-TUBE, the majority of the heat is convective, meaning it heats the air passing through them. There is SOME radiant, but not nearly as much as cast iron.

If you cover those, you will be cutting way down on the heat output.
 
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Old 08-10-13, 02:41 PM
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I think those baseboards would look nicer if you put a fresh coat of paint on them. After you put some furniture in the room and hang curtains, the baseboards will be less noticeable.

Also, if you put quarter-round trim around the baseboards and paint it to match the wall, things will look a bit more neat and finished.
 
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Old 08-10-13, 03:39 PM
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More thoughts on painting, etc.

Like lawrosa, I think a coat of paint will help those baseboards. In our living room, the cast-iron baseboards are painted a white semi-gloss. The walls are painted a light tan, with flat paint. The quarter-round trim around the baseboards is painted white to match the baseboards.

Another room's walls are wood paneled in sort of a mahogany. The baseboards are "stained" to sort of match or complement the walls. Actually, the baseboards are not stained - more like antiquing, which was popular for old furniture dozens of years ago - a base coat is applied, and then another contrasting coat is smeared on with a rag.
 
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Old 08-11-13, 01:15 PM
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Painting.....

Good points on heat loss due to the cover...if I go with the re-painting route what kind of paint can I use? Also, what's a good way to get the paint off the baseboards? The end caps are loose and don't fit tight around the wall/baseboard what do I need to do to get a nice fit? Will the quarter round help?

Thanks again!!
-Greg
 
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Old 08-11-13, 06:39 PM
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if I go with the re-painting route what kind of paint can I use? Also, what's a good way to get the paint off the baseboards?
Maybe my ignorance is bliss: I have just used interior latex paint, and it has held up OK. I've never had occasion to remove paint from my baseboard units. In 60 years, they must have more than one coat of paint?
 
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Old 07-07-14, 10:44 AM
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this idea may work for you

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I found this idea (see image) online somewhere and I think it is a great solution to those ugly baseboard radiators. It doesn't cover the front and my plumber says it enhances convection by directing heat into the room that would have been lost heating the wall behind it.
 
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Old 07-07-14, 02:51 PM
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Looks pretty nice actually... but... just for technical accuracy...

says it enhances convection by directing heat into the room that would have been lost heating the wall behind it.
Technically, no...

Heat travels in three ways; CONVECTION, CONDUCTION, and RADIATION.

CONVECTION is by heated AIRFLOW, and just putting trim around the unit is not going to enhance the air flow through the unit (in the bottom, out the top) one bit.

CONDUCTION is heat flowing THROUGH an object by CONTACT. I don't see how a piece of trim is going to stop the heat from conducting into the wall. Unless you have no insulation inside that wall, heat that does conduct into the wall board is going to end up RADIATING into the room anyway!
 
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Old 07-07-14, 03:39 PM
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Our house has 60-year-old Crane cast-iron baseboards. They are working fine.

Between the baseboards and the walls, they installed aluminum foil, fabric or paper backed I think. What was the purpose do you suppose? I have presumed that it was to reflect radiant heat back toward the baseboard.
 
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Old 07-07-14, 04:37 PM
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What was the purpose do you suppose? I have presumed that it was to reflect radiant heat back toward the baseboard.
Perhaps so... my house had that stuff ALL over, on the outside, between the siding and the sheathing, but the foil was facing OUT!

I think their thinking was flawed though... because I believe that a RADIANT BARRIER requires an 'air gap' in order to do it's reflecting, and not CONDUCT the heat it should be reflecting away from where it's intended to go.

But we digress.....................

 
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