Given the choice, many of us would plump for under-floor heating. It doesn’t take up precious wall space, provides an even heat and does away with the need for often unsightly radiators. But costs and practicalities often stop us from having it all our own way, so compromises have to be made. Keeping the radiators in place is one such compromise. After all, staying warm trumps shoe storage space every time. For most of us at least.
While some of us don’t mind the standard white radiators that you see in most homes, others seek out stand-out vintage or retro models from salvage yards, or even invest in expensive modernist radiators that are coiled like springs. But increasing numbers of homeowners are realising that the common radiator can be spruced up by the addition of a custom-made enclosure or box. This means that the metallic body of the radiator is hidden away, the heat can still circulate and you usually even get a handy shelf, window seat or worktop into the bargain.
The beauty of having a joiner or carpenter make a custom box or cover for your radiators is that you can pick the style you want, from modern to decorative. You will also be sure that the cover will fit well, allow heat to circulate and look fantastic into the bargain.
When thinking about hiring a tradesman for a job such as this you should always first work out exactly what it is you want doing. You should also think about the economies of scale. The first custom-made item can be quite expensive, but if you want three very similar items then the cost is unlikely to be three-times the cost of the first item. Getting to your home, measuring up and sourcing the materials are all a part of the job and remain fairly standard no matter how much work a tradesman does. Also, it makes sense to get several matching radiator covers made to give your home a complete and cohesive look.
If you are looking to keep costs down then your tradesman should be able to buy some components, such as latticed fronts for radiator covers, at DIY outlets. These can then be fitted to size and painted as you wish, slotting into the front of a custom-sized box if you have radiators that are not a standard size.
The design and cost of radiator covers can be as conservative or as outlandish as you wish or your budget will allow. Most radiator covers have a latticed, wired or simply cut-out front to them, but there is nothing stopping you and your tradesman coming up with more artistic solutions, from period design to child-friendly characters.
Prices will start from around £200 for each radiator, but this will rise depending on how much custom work you want done and the size of the radiator. The per-unit cost should decrease if you are having more than one radiator cover made and installed.