How to Install a Baseboard Heater Cover

A baseboard heater on a wood floor.
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Baseboard heater cover
Reciprocating saw
Drill or a screwdriver
Safety goggles

As baseboard heaters live up to their name by providing heat to the home along the wall, it should come as no surprise that the heater itself can get very hot and potentially cause an injury. This is an important reason to install a baseboard heater cover. Baseboard heater covers serve two purposes. They offer protection against friends, family, and pets from coming in direct contact with the heater element and accidentally being burned. They also offer an easy way to update an old or damaged baseboard cover with something new, modern, or more stylish to blend with a room’s décor.

Step 1 – Measuring

Before purchasing a baseboard heater cover, you must measure the existing cover. The measurements are necessary to ensure you purchase the correct size to replace the current cover.

Step 2 – Height and Length

Using a tape measure, take the measurements of the baseboard cover from the top of the cover to the bottom of the cover, and then measure from the wall to the outside of the heating unit cover. Finally, measure from the floor to the top of the baseboard heater cover. Once you have these measurements noted, remove the baseboard heater end caps, if applicable, and measure the length of the cover starting at one end of the cover and measuring to the other end of the cover.

Step 3 – Purchasing

Once you have all the measurements, you’re ready to purchase a new baseboard heater cover. These come in a variety of styles, patterns, and materials to suit most every decorative taste. The cover will usually either slide or snap onto the existing backplate installed on the wall behind the actual heating element.

Step 4 – Installation

Keep in mind that the new baseboard cover may not be compatible with the existing back plate that is holding the current cover in place. This is something you will need to discuss with the salesperson regarding the different manufacturer’s specifications for installation.

If the existing backplate is not compatible with the new cover, it will need to be removed before the new back plate can be installed. Depending on how much space is available between the wall and the back of the plate, the screws holding the plate can usually be eliminated by using a small reciprocating saw that will easily cut through the metal nails or screws.

Once the screws are taken care of, if the current cover has metal hangers placed along the inside of the cover for support, these need to be manually removed as well as the damper located at the top of the cover. Once these pieces are out of the way, you can gently remove the back plate from behind the element.

While the element is exposed, it's a good time to take advantage of vacuuming the element to remove dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair.

Step 5 – Securing the Cover

Place the new back plate behind the heating element and install the metal support hangers. Screw the new back plate to the wall. Be sure to place the screws into the studs for a firm hold. Attach the damper and then slide the new baseboard heater cover into place, snapping the cover to the hangers for security.

Place the end caps on either end of the cover to secure the front panel in place, and the baseboard heater cover installation is complete.

Step 6 – Safety

The installation of a heater baseboard cover is relatively simple to do and requires minimal tools and time. For safety reasons, when handling the metal parts of the cover, be aware of rough or sharp edges that could cause a cut or scratch and use safety measures when working with a saw such as wearing goggles to prevent foreign particles from getting into your eyes.