Carla Like It Is

DIY Steps To Build Your Own Radiator Cover

Kayd Roy17 Comments
What a day!  Alex finished up building our radiator cover/ bench (minus paint)! Hooray!!!
  Check out the inspiration and Alex's first steps in this post.  I'm really excited to share this DIY project because it is a great way to add something unique and useful to older homes with radiant heat. 

 Again, here is what the space looked like before, it was the perfect spot to build a radiator cover and make a nice window seat.
Here's a picture of Alex's design. Note the 2 shaded rectangles. This is where he will cut openings and place decorative sheet metal to allow heat to transfer into the room.
Just to warn you, this is a pretty long DIY post detailing how Alex built the cover.  Also, we haven't finished painting it so we don't have official 'afters' yet (sorry, it's already been a long day filled with lots of F-bombs courtesy of my hardworking hubby). But don't worry I'll get on that this week!
So let's get to it!

To start, Alex had to pull off the floorboard trim to make room for the cover since it would sit flush to the walls.
Check out the lovely exposed lathe and plaster from 1924.
Alex attached 2x4 sections to the main wall using a strip of MDF board as a height guide, in order to create a frame for the back and sides of the bench.
Here's a look at one of the back and side 2x4's drilled into their level places.
Then Alex measured and cut a section of MDF board for the front facing part of the cover. We spent just $25 for the large sheet of MDF board that we needed for this project.

Also- there are 4 total 2x4 braces to support weight in the back of the bench (you can see 2 of them here). There are additional 2 up front as well.
Once he had the front piece cut to size, it was time to cut out the openings where the decorative sheet metal would be placed.  We spent $30 on one 3x34' piece of sheet metal.
Alex measured where the openings would be to a slightly smaller dimension than the actual pieces of sheet metal. He then used a large drill bit to make pilot holes in the corners for the jigsaw.
Here's a look once he cut out both openings for the cover.
Next he had to cut and measure the decorative sheet metal pieces to fit the openings.
Once he had his guide lines drawn he used tin snips to cut the decorative sheet metal.
Alex used a staple gun to 'pin' the sheet metal in place.
Then used small nails to secure the sheet metal to the MDF board.
The next step was adding trim over the openings.  We spent roughly $10 on the few pieces of trim we needed.  Alex used his miter saw to cut the trim to frame over each opening.
Then he nailed the trim in place around the openings.
After cutting 8 pieces of trim and framing them to the front of the bench/cover here is how it looked!  Awesome right?!?  Sadie was sure excited about it!
Then it was time to install the front cover board.
Alex slid it snugly into place flush with each wall.
He then drilled a pilot hole that would be used to anchor in the front board to the 2x4 sections he had previously secured to the floor to frame in the bottom section.
Here he is slowly screwing in the front board to the 2x4 behind it (He lost his Phillips driver bit so he had to go about it the old fashioned way....)
Next we went outside to cut more MDF for the top part of the bench (sorry I missed the picture of this, but just measuring and sawing).
Then we plopped it on top!
Here is a closer look as Alex slides it into place.
 The top sheet of MDF was then secured to the front and rear framing blocks using just 2 standard wood screws. This allows for access to the radiator should service be necessary and to bleed them in the fall.   
PS- we learned a lot about bleeding radiators through this project thanks to our blog friends- Hammers and High Fives for you guys!!! We're always learning here!
Alex then used a few nails to secure the cover trim to the front board. 
The last piece he had to add was a section of quarter-round at the bottom.  He measured and cut the trim, then used the PowerGrab to secure it in place.
 Yay! Sticking in that last trim section!
 Then he battened the hatches with a couple more finishing nails.
Here is the final product (sans paint) after building!  Total price on this DIY project $65.
I'm so excited, it looks beautiful in place, like it was already meant to be there.
I will get moving on painting this bad boy, and can't wait to break out my blue painters tape!  Then I get to buy and/or make some decorative pillows and cushions for this bench!  Yes! More DIY projects ahead!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, it was pretty cold here in MN (even snow)! But we made the best of it and got a lot done! Hope to see you tomorrow for an inspiring post about decor, you won't believe all the ideas!

*Update 4/23/11: The Radiator Cover is now painted, check it out here!

The Lettered Cottage