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Baseboard molding to hide heating pipes

Baseboard molding to hide heating pipes


Old 10-11-05, 11:27 AM
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Baseboard molding to hide heating pipes

We've recently added a zone of heat for the entire 2nd floor of our house, in the form of wall mounted panel radiators. To help in concealing the pipes, I cut a 2 1/2" strip of sheetrock from the bottom of the walls and replaced it with a strip of 1/8" paneling I had around. The pipes are mounted in that space with insulation behind the brackets to minimize noise from expansion/contraction. That makes the pipes slightly recessed into the wall, and at most the brackets protrude 1/2" from the plane of the wall.

My plan is to put a spacer above and below the pipes. The top one will be against the sheetrock, and 5/8" thick. The bottom one will be right at the floor, against the strip of paneling, and 1 1/8" thick. Over those I'll attach a 1/4" thick, 3" wide board to be the baseboard. That will effectively make my baseboard 7/8" thick, so I'll top it off with some fairly tall molding (1 1/2" maybe) so it doesn't seem as thick. I might combine the molding and the top spacer into one piece. I have access to a molder-planer. I plan to stain it all to match the existing pine window and door molding.

For making it match, it would be easiest to use pine for the 3" wide board, but I'm not sure if 1/4" pine would hold up well to the occasional bump or knock, or to the temperature changes of the heating pipes. I could use 1/4" plywood, but I don't want it to look like plywood.

Would 1/4" pine be strong enough? If not, what kind of plywood can I use that won't look like plywood, and that can be made to match the existing pine reasonably well? Or is there another non-plywood option?

Any other suggestions?

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Old 10-12-05, 05:59 PM
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If I understand correctly the gap that the 1/4" covers is only an 1 1/4" wide. I/4" pine or plywood should be plenty strong when secured firmly top and bottom.

Except as a child I have never had steam heat and have absolutely no knowledge as to how it will affect the wood or the heat transfer.
Old 10-13-05, 10:18 AM
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Thanks Mark!

The dimensions I gave for the spacer strips were for how far they'd stick out from the wall (or the piece of 1/8" paneling, in the case of the bottom one). I'll make them as wide (tall?) as I can without touching the pipes or hanging below the bottom of the drywall. I could probably cut an angle on the top one so the outside face extends lower, and the 1/4" has more support. But I'll probably end up with about a 2" gap for the 1/4" to cover.

A picture is worth a thousand words... (not to scale)

Last night I cut a scrap of the old baseboard molding down to 1/4" thick, and I think it will be plenty strong. In fact I think I might do the same with all of the old baseboard, and reuse it instead of buying more lumber. I can get 1/4" thick by 3 1/4" wide out of it.

I think I should assemble the 1/4" to the top spacer with glue before I nail it to the wall. It'll make it easier to get it flush so the molding on top sits right.

Oh, the heat is forced hot water, not steam. I guess I'll go with the assumption that the pine will be ok with the temperature swings. It's not like I'm using green wood or anything.


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