What is a radiator cover?
A radiator cover is an attachment which can increase aesthetics of the heat exchanger. It is typically used with older models like steel column radiators. Using a radiator cover usually does not influence heating efficiency. In many cases it can be used as an extension for the windowsill. This way the element gains a new functionality.
For this reason a radiator cover is an increasingly popular solution used by many homeowners to match the device with an interior design. It also allows to spare money that would have been spent for a new decorative radiator.
Hiding an ugly element is not the only function of a radiator cover. If designed well, it can become an additional shelf, as well as a protection for little children’s hands. If you want to install a radiator cover in a children’s room, it is best to choose a colourful one, for instance with favourite animals or cartoon characters.
Is a radiator cover worth it?
Most of heating devices experts probably would say that using a radiator cover is a waste of energy. On the other hand, supporters of such solution claim that it has many advantages. Before you decide which is best for you, it is good to learn arguments from both sides. It will help you decide whether you need a radiator cover or not.
Radiator cover - advantages
Using a radiator cover has many advantages. The most important and crucial benefit of covering your radiator is increasing its aesthetic value. It is the main reason why many homeowners decide to employ such elements in their apartments. A radiator cover is a decorative element that can be suited to your home design.
Manufacturers offer a lot of solutions and if your requirements do not meet the standards, you can always customise the project. In this situation, you can choose what material the radiator cover should be made of and adapt the appearance of the structure to your own preferences.
You can reduce the cost of a radiator cover by crafting it yourself. It is not as difficult as it seems and designing such a project is very satisfying. Whether you make it or purchase it, a radiator cover is usually very easy to install.
An additional advantage of covering your radiator is the double functionality of the element. Apart from being a decoration, the cover might also become a storage unit. You can also choose a cover that resembles a dresser. You might make a bedside table in a bedroom, and if the radiator stands by the window - a seat or a bench. If there are children in the house, the radiator cover is also a protection against burning their hands. Such a solution is often used in kindergartens.
A radiator cover is a far cheaper and much simpler solution than a complete replacement of your radiator. Renovating the installation might be time-consuming. Also, new decorative radiators are much more expensive than ordinary devices.
Radiator cover - disadvantages
The biggest disadvantage of using a radiator cover is decreasing the device heating efficiency. Regardless of the design of the decorative element, using it always means decreasing the heating power.
The screen blocks out the device, therefore it is more difficult for the heat to reach the room. It might be the cause of decreasing the temperature in the room. For this reason you might have to turn up the heating, which might lead to an increase in heating bills that anyone would prefer to avoid.
A similar situation might occur if your heater has a thermostat. The temperature behind the cover is higher than in the room - which causes the thermostat to cut off the warm water inside the device. Having that in mind, remember about proper ventilation when designing a radiator cover. Under no circumstance cover the radiator completely.
What radiator cover is the best?
Manufacturers offer a lot of various solutions. Choose one that matches your own needs and the design of your room. There are many types of covers - the most common materials are:
- Wood - it is one of the best looking materials. Covers in form of a seat or a bench are typically made of wood. Wooden radiator covers might be much more expensive than other materials.
- PCV - this material is one of the cheapest. Its main advantages are the light weight and flexibility when it comes to cutting patterns. There are many manufacturers producing boards made of this material - you can purchase one in a chosen pattern.
- MDF - radiator covers made of MDF boards are quite durable. Manufacturers offer a lot of shapes and designs.
- Glass - this material is very aesthetic, however it might be very prone to damage. It is also quite heavy.
- Metal - the most commonly used metals are steel and aluminium. A metal radiator cover is very durable and conducts heat well. Keep in mind that this type does not protect from burns.
Each type of material used for a radiator cover should be resistant to high temperatures. On no account use materials that are easy to burn or that have been painted with a substance emanating fumes.
Radiator covers have various types of construction. A hanging model is the most popular - it is attached either directly to the heater or to the wall behind it. This type is also easiest to clean. There are also covers standing on the floor, in form of a chest or a shelf. They are more expensive, however also more elegant. You can also tailor them to fit other furniture pieces in the room.
DIY radiator cover
There are many products of this type available on the market. You can choose from various sizes and different prices. Regardless, you might consider making such an element by yourself. It not very difficult, you just need to remember about a good design that will not disturb the functioning of the device.
Before doing anything, you should think of the suitable material. If you use plywood for a radiator cover, you can cut interesting shapes in the front wall. If the heater is located under a window, you might consider making a cover out of vertical boards. You could also place the boards horizontally, using a strong construction to hold them.
If your budget is low, a good idea is to use boards from old pallets. It is not only cheap but also eco-friendly. Painting the boards in light shades adds to the elegance of the whole construction and fits modern styles.
An interesting solution involves using an openwork board, for instance made of PCV and attaching it to a wooden construction made of wooden boards. Painted in the same colour as the board, such radiator cover is a very aesthetically pleasing decoration.
Keep in mind that if you are not so sure that you are able to craft such an element, making a cover by yourself is not worth it. It might end up in a huge disappointment. Moreover, a poorly designed element might disrupt functionality of your radiator. If you have a particular, custom project in mind, pay someone to make it for you. This way you will avoid disappointment and make sure that your radiator cover is elegant.
A radiator cover is a good solution if you want to hide a not very attractive heater. The element might change the look of your interior, increasing its aesthetic value. Before choosing such a decoration for your home, you should consider all its advantages and disadvantages. A good design is crucial in this case, as it minimizes the risk of losing the functionality of the device.
Radiator cover - FAQ
📍 How to build a radiator cover?
There are many DIY ideas on how to build a radiator cover - one of them involves using an openwork board and attaching it to a wooden construction. You can use the web to search for more radiator cover ideas. Use them only when you are absolutely sure that you are able to do it.
📍 How to make a radiator cover that is eco-friendly?
A good budget and eco-friendly radiator cover idea is using boards from an old pallet. You can attach them either vertically or horizontally, using a special construction to hold the boards.
📍 How to cover a radiator?
The best idea is to buy a cover from a manufacturer. There are many types of covers available. If you have some crafting skills, you might make a cover yourself.