Radiator Covers Buying & Fitting Guide
If you have older radiators in your home but can't afford a potentially costly replacement, a simple radiator cover could solve all your problems. Radiator covers are also great for creating a statement feature in your home.
They can also be the obvious answer to sprucing up an old radiator, helping to provide a focal point in your room and even additional shelving.
Read on to find out more about radiator covers and the key considerations…
What are radiator covers?
Do radiator covers block heat and reduce energy efficiency?
There is no straightforward answer to this question as yes some can trap heat. However, if installed correctly with plenty of space for heat to escape then it's unlikely you will notice much if any difference in the performance of your heating.
Obstructing a radiator with furniture of other items, however, could stop heat from being distributed evenly. Therefore, with or without a radiator cover you should ensure your radiators aren't blocked over covered by anything other than an appropriate radiator cover.
For this reason, radiator covers are designed with slots in them, whether these are long vertical or horizontal slots of cross-shaped holes they all work well to release heat into your home.
For your radiator to be efficient with a cover you should ensure there is enough space between the radiator and the cover. The radiator cover should, if possible, be wider than the radiator by at least:
- 5cm in width
- 3cm in height
- 3cm in depth
This will allow for the heat emitted from the radiator to be evenly distributed around the room despite the cover.
How to measure for a radiator cover
Get your measuring tape ready to take down the following measurements:
- The length of your radiator, including valves
- The height of your radiator
- The depth of your radiator from the wall
- Any skirting boards or window ledges near the radiator
Add these measurements to those we’ve noted above - an additional 5cm in width, 3cm in height, and another 3cm in depth. When measuring, particularly if your radiator stops near a window, make sure your cover won’t be pressed up against anything large. This may prevent it from sitting properly or fitting in place.
Why should I buy a radiator cover?
There are many reasons why people choose to use a radiator cover, ranging from safety to aesthetic reasons. We’ve picked out some of the key reasons.
One of the main reasons people choose to install a radiator cover is for safety. When turned on radiators can become extremely hot, and can cause burns or scalds making them especially dangerous for a family home. They can reduce the risk of injury by covering over any boiling surfaces.
Read more: How to Fit & Replace a Radiator
Radiators aren't always the most aesthetically pleasing of objects, leading people to explore ways of making them more appealing. If you have a large budget then replacing your radiators with stylish designer radiators is the best option, however, for smaller budgets, radiator covers are a much cheaper and easier solution.
Read more: Designer Radiator Buying Guide
As they can be bought unfinished, you can paint them in a range of colours to match your decor. Plus, there is a selection of styles available so you’re bound to find the perfect fit and design for your home.
When choosing the colour options it's important to think about your current interior but anthracite and grey radiator covers are some of the most popular choices.
Space & storage
Radiators are perhaps one of the most important items in your home but depending on their style and size they can also dramatically reduce the amount of useable space in a room. Radiator covers, however, can help to reclaim some room by providing storage or a display area, almost like a shelf. You can even find radiator cabinets, which function the same as standard radiator covers but also include handy storage drawers too.
You can think of radiator covers as additional shelving space for photos and trinkets or even somewhere to store your house keys, post, and other handy items. This makes them a clever piece of extra furniture for a hallway or living room.
Durability & protection
However sturdy and secure a radiator may be, it is still at risk of being broken if treated in the wrong way. Damage can occur during DIY, or in homes with children and pets, which could leave you with serious problems.
Piping and radiator valves are often vulnerable, so this is another reason to safeguard your radiator with a little extra protection from a radiator cover.
What are adjustable radiator covers?
Adjustable radiator covers are similar to standard covers however, they come with the ability to expand or reduce them in size by simply extending both sides with a gentle pull. This allows for easy fitting with almost any size of radiator and means you can keep your cover should you buy a larger radiator in the future.
Radiator covers come in a wide range of styles and colours, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your home. From vertical and horizontal lines to cross patterns, there are plenty of traditional or modern radiator cover designs to suit all.
These days radiator covers come in a variety of finishes from unfinished to, classic white, grey, and even anthracite.
Unfinished radiator covers come in natural MDF without any paint applied. If you want to match a particular design scheme and you are happy to spend the time painting them yourself then this is the ideal choice.
Radiator covers are not only available in a range of styles but colours too, with classic white radiator covers, perfect for blending in with any home to contemporary grey and anthracite finishes, perfect for modern decors.
How to fit a radiator cover
In most cases, radiator covers come flat packed and will need to be assembled. This will likely be a simple job of screwing the sides and the top shelf together. The front grill can in some cases be screwed in place or be attached by magnets - allowing access to the radiator for drying laundry.
Some radiator covers come with fixing brackets so they can be attached to the wall. Follow the instructions included with the cover to fix the bracket to the wall as suggested.
Many radiator covers aren’t actually fitted, they are free-standing. This allows access to the controls. This is much easier to fit - simply lift it into place - however, they won't be as secure, so ensure you check its stability before putting anything valuable on top.
If you're looking for further heating inspiration and advice take a look at the following posts - How to Paint Behind Your Radiator - Designer Radiator Buying Guide - A Step-by-Step Guide to Changing a Radiator Valve.
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