How to Hide Radiator Pipes: 6 Creative Options
Covering radiator pipes will make a huge difference in the look of your radiators. Whether you've invested in a beautiful new radiator or are simply looking to upgrade your existing radiator, many of the methods for covering pipework are relatively inexpensive and simple to install.
In this quick guide, we discuss not only how to cover the vertical valve pipes, but also how to deal with pipework that has been run on the surface of a wall, such as along the skirting boards, rather than being incorporated into the wall or floor void.
When you spend time and money on radiators, it's important to finish with the right details, and with these handy products and DIY ideas at your disposal, you'll be able to create a sleeker finish to any room heated by a radiator.
1. When installing a radiator, use pipe sleeves.
Radiator pipe sleeves are the most elegant and sophisticated method of covering radiator pipes. Pipe collars are mostly made of metal and come in a variety of styles and finishes.
They are simply slipped over the top of the radiator pipes to be installed; however, these can only be installed while the valves are not yet attached. If retrofitting, draining the central heating system and removing the valves may be a tedious task, but for some, the level of attention to detail is worth the time and expense.
Installing pipe sleeves when installing new valves and/or replacing radiators is your best bet. It is possible to purchase valves with matching sleeves, especially if the finish is unusual, but pipe sleeves are also available in a variety of popular finishes, including chrome and brass.
Pipe sleeves are also frequently equipped with small collars that are worn around the base. These are useful for concealing gaps where flooring has been cut around radiator pipes, and they can also help reduce draughts.
2. Look into Snap-on Radiator Pipe Covers.
If you like the idea of a radiator pipe sleeve for covering your radiator pipes but don't want to remove the valves to install them, these ingenious snap-on solutions are for you.
Snap-on pipe covers are made of a film-like material that wraps easily around a radiator pipe. In general, they come in a more limited color palette, with chrome, white, and dark grey being the most common. They are, however, surprisingly effective, and the best ones appear to be metal covers until you get close.
It's worth noting that there will be a small seam on the back of the pipe, but the collar will have a larger gap to wrap around the pipe. Heat may cause the finish to fade over time, requiring replacement every couple of years or so; however, snap-on radiator pipe covers are inexpensive and certainly worthwhile in this regard.
3. Select a rebuffed skirting board for horizontal pipes.
If you have radiator pipes that run along a wall rather than through a floor or wall void (which may or may not exist), there are options for covering radiator pipes in this case.
The most modern option would be rebated skirting boards, which have a small gap cut into the back that is large enough to fit pipes or wire and allow them to run along the wall unseen.
However, for this to work smoothly, forethought and planning would be required, and it would primarily apply to new plumbing where new skirting board was also installed. This makes rebated skirting boards an excellent choice for renovations where completely moving pipes may be prohibitively expensive or difficult, but re-arranging the pipework to fit behind the skirting is possible.
4. Trunking Box in Pipework
Trunking is never an ideal solution, whether for electrics or plumbing; however, some decent-looking trunking that can be used to box in radiator pipes horizontally along a wall can be found.
Trunking will appear larger and wider than traditional skirting, but it may be a more appealing option than exposed radiator pipes. You could even consider facing this trunking with skirting board to match the rest of the room.
The classic unfinished radiator look consists of a chrome or white radiator valve with copper piping — not a look that works regardless of how industrial or raw your interior design scheme is.
Painting radiator pipes is a quick fix that will help conceal them in your room. You can do this in the same way that you paint radiators, and as long as you use one of the best heat-resistant radiator paints, it's a quick job that will last.
While it may appear obvious to paint them to match your valve, consider painting them the same color as your skirting instead, as this will help them blend in better.
6. Make Use of a Radiator Cover
In the worst-case scenario, a radiator cover that covers not only your radiator pipes but also your entire radiator may be your best option.
You may be hesitant to do so for fear of reducing your radiator's efficiency, particularly during the colder months; however, there is some evidence to suggest that using a radiator cover correctly and installing a heat-reflective board behind the radiator may even help your radiator heat your space faster.
Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, a radiator cover is a brilliant way to transform an unsightly element of your home into a focal point, and there are many different designs and styles you could try, whether off-the-shelf or DIYed.
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