Modern Baseboard Heater Cover

4 Materials
$60
2 Hours
Easy

know, I know. Older homes have charm. They also have lots of old, dated things that can be a challenge to update. Baseboard heaters happen to be one of those things. My baseboard heater covers in this guest room were old, rusty, and super dented. Unfortunately, replacing them can be difficult and costly. So I came up with this modern baseboard heater cover that is actually quite easy to put together!

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Length of time for project: 2-4 hours for assembly. Finish time 1-2 hours.

Cost: ~$60 (keep in mind, my baseboard heater cover is about 20′ long. The shorter the cover, the less material needed)

What you’ll need: For this 20′ beast I used #11 primed 8′ 1×2 boards and #3 8′ 1×4 boards. I attached some pieces with a kreg jig and the others with my nail gun.

What I learned: You can attach the braces to studs using pocket holes. Who knew?! Also, paint your brackets and slats before attaching. I’m so impatient that I never do anything in the correct order. But painting first would definitely be easier.


Step 1: L Brace

The first thing I did was create an L shaped brace that went over the top of my existing heater cover backing (the metal front pieces should all be removed). This bracket serves as a way to attach all the other pieces including the front slats and top cover. I placed one at each end and spaced them approximately every 4′. 

Because of that, it needs to be secure but not necessarily pretty on the top (as this will be covered). So I used a small piece of 1×2 cut to fit. The height of my L shaped bracket was 8″ and the horizontal piece was just under 3″. I created pocket holes in both directions on the smaller piece. This piece was then attached to the front vertical piece with 1.25″ pocket hole screws. Longer 2.5″ pocket hole screws were used to attach the back side of the horizontal piece to the wall and screwed into the studs.


Step 2: Attach Top Cover

Next up I attached the 1×4 boards to create the top panel or cover. These were nailed directly into the L braces they sit on top of.

Step 3: Attach Front Slats

Starting at the top to create a flush edge, attach a 1 x 2 board using a nail gun. Clamps help with this step so you can get the edge flush and still have free hands. To attach the second slat, turn one 1×2 sideways and put between the top slat and the second slat. This will create a 3/4″ gap. Clamp this in place and nail to attach. Repeat this process until all 4 boards are attached.

Step 4: Finish

Fill nail holes and any seams (you may not have seams if your heater is less than 8′ in length) with wood filler. Let this dry and sand until smooth. I also added some caulk between the baseboard heater cover top and the wall before painting. Then finish with painting any color you like! If you want a more traditional look, stick with white to match your trim. I chose black here to help it blend with the wall a bit more.

Final Baseboard Heater Cover

And week 4 of the One Room Challenge is a wrap! Check out my  post from a couple weeks back to see how I smoothed the wood paneling in this room (yes, those walls are wood paneling)! Still 4 more weeks to go (and I’m happy about that because lots of work left to do!) so make sure to check out the  ORC blog to see the other amazing projects!

Baseboard Cover Close Up

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Sarah

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3 of 18 comments
  • Doreen Kennedy
    on Jun 18, 2020

    I like your covers. People do wood covers and cabinets for forced hot water baseboard heaters all the time. They are actually very safe. We’ve been in our house for 12 years and half of our rooms don’t even have covers at all. We’ve had curtains and bed covers over them at times and we have had zero fires. We just haven’t had the time or money to finish renovating our home. I have made some wood covers for the closets just to cover the pipes that don’t have the fins on them. I also made a few wood covers to hide our ugly rusted metal covers. As long as the wood covers are not touching the fins or pipes and are vented correctly then they are perfectly safe. Think about it. Baseboard heat is a gentle heating system unlike radiator heaters. If baseboard heat got as hot as radiators, people or pets could get burned or even worse your house would burn up if something flammable was accidentally left close by.

    Also the metal back is still a must for heat conduction. I see you left your metal back on. You did a terrific job.

  • Leslie
    on Jun 19, 2020

    Very well done. i am wondering if your original base boards were the modern ones or the old steel ones that are about 8" tall. Wish you showed a picture of the before.

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