In older homes, steam radiators are pretty common and steam radiator covers can be a decorator’s saving grace. If you put aside a weekend, you can construct a radiator cover that will satisfy your aesthetic taste as well as any budget. It will cost very little in MDF and other materials to put together something more pleasing to the eye than a clunky, old steam radiator.
Step 1 – Measure and Cut Top, Front and Side Pieces
Measure your radiator, and add about 3 inches to the depth, height and width of the radiator dimensions you come up with. Measure out top, front and side pieces and cut them out.
Step 2 – Measure and Cut for the Screen
Measure out the portion of the front piece you will be cutting out to fit the screen in 3 inches from the top and sides and 4 ½ inches from the bottom. Bore a hole into opposing corners of the cut lines you’ve drawn. You’ll use those holes to begin the cut with your jigsaw. Cut out the piece of MDF that will be replaced with your screen. If you like, you can do the same on your side pieces.
Step 3 – Cut the Screening Material
Measure and cut your screening material with tin snips to fit over the opening you already created on the front piece. You’ll have an easier time doing this before the cover is put together. If you cut out the side pieces for screening, do the same for them. Cut your screen so that it overlaps its frame by 2 inches. Set your screens out-of-the-way.
Step 4 – Attach the Pieces
Using nails, attach the front, side and top pieces. You can hold the pieces together with clamps to make sure they are flush along the sides and all the edges.
Step 5 – Sand and Paint/Stain
Fill any nail holes, sand the wood and paint or stain it in the finish you desire for your radiator cover. Make sure it is completely dry before you add a second coat, if necessary. Again, make sure it is dry before you move on.
Step 6 – Attach the Screen
On the inside of your cover, attach the screen you have chosen with the appropriate tools. It will more than likely be attached with staples and a staple gun.
Step 7 – Put it in Place
Put your steam radiator cover over your radiator. For a more secure fit, you can install brackets to the inside of your side pieces and fasten the other side of the brackets to the radiator. Now your rickety radiator won’t stand out in a nicely decorated room.