Why do you want to cover up your radiators? Because they are ugly. So why not change the radiators? That way you could continue to hang up your washing on them! Well, that's what I did in my own home. The cast iron “Liberty” radiators (below at the right) are only a little more expensive than covers, although there is also the cost of installation not to mention disruption. If I have talked you into changing your radiators, feel free to get in touch and ask about the cost, for we can supply them. The polished ones, like this "Daisy" design, cost a fortune. But we can also provide a partial polish that looks great but is half the price.
Alright, so maybe you don't want your front room to look like a laundry and a radiator cover will give you a shelf on which to display your porcelein pig collection.
But a radiator cabinet will absorb heat from the radiator, keeping it from getting into the room. Heat that you have paid for. Radiator covers do not improve the efficiency of your radiators. Many manufacturers make the ludicrous claim that the cabinet helps to convect the heat, pulling in cold air from ground level and expelling hot into the room from the top. This is patent nonsense.*
The price of beauty
As I understand it, you don't like the look of your radiators and are willing to spend good money to hide them.
You are also willing to put lumps of MDF around your radiators, letting it absorb the heat that you are paying gas bills to generate. The deduction is elementary: you are prepared to buy beauty. You are a true aesthete. Art for art's sake should be your motto. So why is it that you, sensitive artistic soul, even consider the common or garden radiator covers? Oh, yes, if you buy one from B&Q or the Argos catalogue it will be cheap. Some even find the mass-produced monotonously identical look reasssuring. But wait. You wish to hide your radiators because they are not attractive. Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful, as William Morris once said. Radiators are useful. Our radiator covers are not useful but they are beautiful. The mass-produced radiator cover is neither useful nor beautiful.
So don't have it in your house!
Cost and delivery?
Let's cut to the chase. How much will it cost you? Expect to pay £290-310 for a single cover (the price will come down a tenner each if you take more than one), including measuring, staining, varnishing, delivery, fitting, painting radiator and VAT. Fit it yourself and save £50 for each cabinet. You will probably have to fit it yourself if you live too far outside Glasgow -- we don't like to travel. But we can organise delivery to you, even in deepest England. For delivery add a one-off cost of £50 whether taking one cover or three. The price for a painted MDF cover will cost £30 more than a timber-veneered version and you have to supply (or pay for) the paint if it isn't white, believe it or not. To get a good paint finish on MDF requires many coats and hours of work.
When we fit you radiator cover, we scribe it to the wall. That is to say, we cut out the shape of your skirting boards on the cover and we plane the back edge of the shelf so that it follows your wall, even if the wall is quite uneven. The end result is a snug fit with only small gaps around the edges. But we also paint your radiator. Not just paint it to match the colour of the radiator cabinet, we also add some graining effects.
Here you see a radiator that has already had an undercoat of emulsion. The next coat, here in shellac, is adding to the colour and creating streaks to mimic grain. Finally, there will be a coat of polyurethane varnish with colour added to match the colour even more closely.
Our radiator cabinets are absolutely made to measure (the shelf will be about 80-90mm above the radiator, however high or low it has been mounted on the wall). They are not simply adjustable or come in several sizes, they are made to fit your radiator exactly. We can accommodate tight corners, odd sizes, nearness of window sills and door facings, access for thermostats or electrical sockets. For those who worry about heat loss, we can lag the underside of the shelf (which absorbs some of the heat) or insert brass or chrome grilles in the shelf to let out the heat trapped under the shelf more readily. Because they are handmade and completely bespoke, our covers are not cheap. And, what's more, even the design is bespoke.
Yes. We offer bespoke designs. Until recently we have not charged for designing something to go with your furniture
or the period of your house. However, this has proven to be business folly. The "Japanese" radiator cover, the "Art Deco" cabinet, and this one here have all been abandoned by the fickle customer. When we say we offer bespoke designs, we really mean that you can either come up with your own crazy design or fiddle about with some of our own minor details, such as the cut-outs in the slats. You can have no cut-outs or hearts or variations on hearts. You could have squares but we would rather you took circles; you can also have diamonds but you really should just stick to hearts. I started to make up a set of drawings of the cut-out variations we offer and, if I live to be very old, I may finish this project.
Mostly we use upside down hearts or "tulips". On the rare occasion the repertoire is enlarged, the reason is usually that someone has furniture or staircase spindles with cutouts that we are trying to match. You'll see more if you go to the gallery page. Meanwhile, it is worth pointing out that the height of the skirtings and the shape of the mouldings are made to mimick your own home's skirtingboards. Notice that the two radiator covers at the top of this page are very similar, but the size of the skirtings are quite different.
Where to find us
A radiator cover is on show, from the 1st of March 2009, at the Antiques Warehouse, 719 South Street, Glasgow G14 0BX. The Warehouse is in the old Kodak Processing Factory, not far from the Clyde Tunnel and the new Glasgow Harbour Development.