How to Replace a Baseboard Radiator Cover

What You'll Need
Wood shims
Reciprocating saw
Slotted screwdriver
Vacuum with hose attachment
Stud finder
Replacement radiator cover
Replacement adjustable damper and hangers
1 and 1/4 inch drywall screws

A baseboard radiator cover not only helps to protect your radiator and the heating system beneath it from damage, but it also can help blend the radiator in to the decor of your home. Because a baseboard cover is located low on the wall and is, therefore, accessible to pets, children and other potential sources of damage, it is commonly in need of repair or replacement. In these cases, replacing the baseboard radiator cover is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project that you can complete with minimal tools and experience. Read on for a brief guide on how to complete this project.

Step 1 -- Remove the Back Plate

The back plate is generally the main part of the baseboard radiator cover. Therefore, you'll need to remove it before you can replace the cover with a new one. To do this, begin by wedging wood shims behind the back plate of the baseboard cover to provide a bit of space between the cover and the wall. As soon as there is adequate room, use a reciprocal saw to cut any screws or nails that are holding the back plate in place on the wall. Use additional shims to prop up the heating element of the radiator so that it is out of the way. With that in place, you can use the slotted screwdriver to gently pry the back plate for the cover away from the wall and remove it. Be careful not to damage the wall or the heating element as you do this.

Step 2 -- Clean and Prepare the Heating Element

Locate the adjustable damper for the radiator. It is attached to hangers behind the heating element. Pull it out by hand and discard it. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean up any dust or debris that has collected around the heating element so that it will be clean when you install the new radiator cover. You can replace the hangers for the adjustable damper at this time if you wish.

Step 3 -- Mark the Wall Studs

Use the stud finder to locate the wall studs in the area of the radiator cover. Mark them with a pencil so that you know where to attach the new back plate to.

Step 4 -- Install the New Back Plate

Slide the new back plate into the space behind the heating element, and attach it in place by snapping it onto the hangers behind the heating element. To further secure it in place, use drywall screws to attach it to the wall. Make sure that the drywall screws go into the wall studs.

Finally, snap the new adjustable damper into place again on the back plate in the same location as the previous damper. Make sure that it is entirely secure before snapping the front cover onto the plate once again.