Is it safe to put a board on top of a radiator to create a shelf?

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My son has moved into an apartment in an older home that doesn't have rad covers.

  12 answers
  • Peg Peg on Jul 22, 2017
    Personally I wouldn't do it. It could be a fire hazard. You can go to your local hardware store and buy a sheet of metal and have it cut to the size you need.
  • Hank Wyllie Hank Wyllie on Jul 23, 2017
    Seems risky to me but depends on how far above the heater the shelf is. I agree with Peg but depends on whether it is a fan heater or not. I would recommend at least 100mm gap either way.
  • One24836309 One24836309 on Jul 23, 2017
    Yes, it's fine. I have had wood shelf boards on some of our raditors for years. I use a thick wood cutting board on a tall kitchen radiator. Our radiators get very hot and have never scorched the wood.
  • One24836309 One24836309 on Jul 23, 2017
    A bit more information, the ignition point of wood is over 500°
    Radiators usually get around 120° to 130°
    • Ncw25515292 Ncw25515292 on Jul 23, 2017
      Thanks! I know I've seen the Property Brothers on HGTV do it, but I didn't know if they put a layer of reflective material on the bottom of the wood first. Good to know!!
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jul 23, 2017
    I would just make sure its not too close :)
  • Kim Kim on Jul 23, 2017
    Yes, if it's a traditional radiator.
  • Patricia Patricia on Jul 23, 2017
    have him install brackets and lay the shelf on that so it's not touching the radiator
  • Ncw25515292 Ncw25515292 on Jul 23, 2017
    Thank you to everyone who answered for taking the time to try to help me. Bless!!
  • Walter Walter on Jul 23, 2017
    Yes, of course you can put a wood shelf on a radiator. As mentioned above, it takes many hundreds of degrees more heat to burn wood than is generated by a radiator. If putting a reflective material underneath makes for feel better, go right ahead.
    What you need to worry about is what you put ON the shelf! A fish bowl is out. Same with plants. They would cook in the heat coming up around the shelf.
    Taper candles would sag but candles poured into a container might be okay.
    Metal objects would be hot to the touch. Rubber would degrade. Some plastic objects might become deformed over time. Books might be okay and stone would be fine. Glass too. But everything would be hot to touch.
  • Emily Emily on Jul 23, 2017
    I'm looking at one as I type. This was originally a top to a dresser or something and I must say it is bent, but not enough for anything to roll off. I have a bookcase on top of it.


  • Cher Frank Cher Frank on Jan 23, 2018
    Yo need to put the shelf on brackets mounted just above the radiator so as to leave some room for the heat to circulate. I only know this because my first apt also had the old rads.
  • Mike Mike on Jun 18, 2019

    All make sense but I'm left wondering as I want to rest a block wood worktop on one end of a radiator that is just the right height at 35". The radiator is recently fitted and has firm brackets. The other end of the worktop would have legs. A wall support could be added along the length to take some of the weight.

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