How to Box in Pipes in Awkward Places

$60
6 Hours
Medium

Here's how to box pipes, with a step by step guide produced by me and my carpenter father. Technically, we created an l-shaped pipe boxing for waste water pipes, then covered with plylining and skirting board. But this also applied to any boxing in awkward pipes.


You can follow along with my YouTube video here.

Let's first talk about this unique room, because you probably don't have this set up.


Here, we're inside our UPVC porch installation DIY which ties the bungalow to the linked garage (now a utility). By creating this sheltered space, it's more private when we leave the house and take our washing to the utility.


However, we did have exposed block pavers and pipework, which made it feel less comfy. So, let's fix it by boxing in pipes!


Tools We Used

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  • Ear defenders
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask if cutting through manufactured wood, like MDF *gifted
  • Safety boots
  • SDS Hammer drill *gifted
  • Combi drill
  • Jigsaw *gifted
  • Worx mitre saw for pipe boxing skirting *gifted
  • Concrete screws
How to Box in Pipework

Now, before I head straight into installing studding to the masonry for framework, you may find this how to cover heating pipes with PVC pipe boxing an easier fix.


This tutorial also applies to


  • Boxing in a toilet waste pipe
  • Boxed radiator pipes

Installing Studding

However, for this how to box pipes in method, we had a lot to cover. More like an L shape design, as you can see in the image above, we had upright rights snuggly in the corner.


First, I held a length of CLS (structural timber) to the left side of the pipes, and up towards the ceiling. *Note, if it's too long, it will need cutting down now.


Once cut, draw where any other pipes are, leaving about ½ an inch above, below and to the side. Then chop out with a hand saw.


Boxed Pipes Tip

Sometimes you'll have to install it in sections - we'll cover that later!

Adding Another Frame to Wall

Now, below, I'm pre-drilling a series of holes towards the edge of a 2nd structural length. Note, this was ripped down to a slimmer width to compensate for pipes in the way.


We then how to work out the even depth from the wall and draw along it for reference before drilling.


This then would make the ply lining on the wall even and not screwed on at an angle.

Screwing Framework for Box Pipes on Wall

To screw our studding to the wall, we lined up the narrower piece to our pencil lines.


Then, starting in the middle, drilled through the hole using an SDS hammer drill and straight through the masonry.


Then screwed to the brickwork with a Spax screw (AKA, concrete screws), that don't require rawl plugs. These are mine and my Dad's favourites!


Important Screwdriver Setting

Make sure when screwing concrete screws to masonry, that your torq setting is on "1", otherwise you can break your wrist. 2 is for wood only.

Choosing the right length of Concrete Screw

Don't just buy the same length of screw I share above - this length isn't what we used and it's there just for an example.


Measure the depth of your wood and add 1" to 1 & ½" and that should be the length of your screw.

Repeat With the 2nd Frame

Once we had the first upright frame level, we worked on the 2nd one.


How to Box pipes in a Corner Tips:
  • It's important that when fitting, you're not screwing near electrical sockets
  • And, if you have to alter the depth for boxing in corners, that the wood protrudes at the same depth, so the ply lining or cladding is plumb
Screwing on Material For Boxing in Pipes

Because our boxed pipes are in a rustic porch space, we didn't feel we needed to use conteboard or laminated MDF for a more pristine finish.


The best way to box in pipes when it comes to the end finish, really is up to you. For example, when it comes to boxed pipes in bathroom, you might want to use something moisture-resistant MDF*, or plastic.


But above, we screwed on a cut down sheet of plywood to the framework that I'll be painting later to blend in with the walls.


*Note, it's not guaranteed and any MDF is not my favourite material.

Continuing Box Pipes on Wall

Once we'd hidden our first set of pipework towards the ceiling, it was time to cover the rest.


To create our L-shaped boxed pipes, we held our next sheet of plywood against the first. Again, we'd already cut this down to the right height.


Then made a pencil mark on the first of the height AND held an offcut studding on it and made a mark underneath that.

Drawing the Height For Reference

Then, we lined up that same offcut at the top back of the larger sheet of ply and drew on the wall where it was.


Due it to being shorter, we then moved it along, drew above and repeated until we got towards the end.


Tip:


  • Don't rush this. It needs to be fairly accurate.
  • Also, you may prefer to use a spirit level. We didn't as it looked good to us.
  • And, we'll be adding skirting board towards the bottom, which will make up for any slight gaps on the floor
Marking For The Last Stud

Once we got to the end, and we knew this plywood was the length we wanted, I held another piece upright and drew along it.


It's also a good idea to make a pencil mark on the floor. You can never have enough reference points, so you can remove the spars and refer to them later.

Screwing Another Spar

Now that all our pencil marks are on the wall, etc, I screwed another structural stud against the first long upright.


Note, it's VITAL you set it back to allow for the thickness of your boxed pipe cladding.


We also had to cut notches out again.

Adding The Top Horizontal Stud

For the top stud, we then rested a long piece on the fixed one I just screwed on, while also propped up on an unfixed one, far left.


Also, by this point, make sure the stud is running to the same height as your long pencil mark!

Then I could repeat the same mounting stud to the wall process:


  • Predrill through the spar with a wood drill bit
  • Use a hammer drill through those holes to drill through the masonry
  • Change your combi drill to setting 1 and a torx bit to drive in concrete screws

Don't forget, combi drill to setting 1 (that switch that usually only offers 1 or 2) is ONLY for masonry.

Boxing Around Awkward Pipes

Everyone's pipework situation tends to be done differently. As ours are what you would find for external pipe boxing, so we needed to stagger them and install in sections.


We didn't want to the studs to be resting on the floor, or any wood until we got to the skirting just incase it ever leaked. We also added a few in the middle, too, for extra support when screwing on the plywood.


So above, we propped up with wedges and screwed to the wall in sections. BUT, it's vital you make reference where you put them, so when you get to the next step, you don't screw through the pipework!

Covering Pipes With Plywood

Once your last spars are screwed in and the side piece is screwed to the wall, it's time to screw the plywood cover on.


Again, if you've had to stagger anything, make sure you've made reference of them so you don't screw through pipework.


And of course, there are no leaks there to begin with! We're also not gluing and screwing, just in case it ever needs to come off.

Adding Skirting Board on Boxed Pipes

For the final furnished feel, I cut skirting board with my Worx battery powered mitre saw.


It has a useful push down far to keep your fingers away from smaller cuts and is great to cut anywhere in the garden! Then screwed it all around the boxed pipes, including the exposed brick wall for continuation.


We've also decided it's going to be our main choice of power tools after buying a narrowboat, due to its flexibility and we love many of their other tools.


You can read my full how to fit skirting boards tutorial here.

The Final Reveal

After painting the boxed pipes to the same wall and laying down artificial grass over the block pavers, here's how it looks!


It's essentially our cloakroom for coats, wellies and walking boots for our twice-daily dog walks.


And, we now have a cosier spot for when we walk from the kitchen (left) to the wash room (right).

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Prep Time
3 hours
Active Time
3 hours
Total Time
6 hours
Difficulty
Some skill required
Materials

  • Plywood

  • Studding

  • Concrete screws

  • Skirting board

Tools

  • SDS hammer drill

  • Combi drill

  • Jigsaw

  • Hand saw

  • Mitre saw

  • Pencil

  • Spirit level

Instructions
  1. Use a spirit level to draw a straight line around the pipes you want to cover, while allowing for thickness of studwork.
  2. Drill holes in CLS timber with a wood drill bit
  3. Line up with pencil mark and use an SDS hammer drill to drill through timber, then to masonry.
  4. Use a combi drill to mount with concrete screws
  5. Repeat to add another on opposite side of pipes and any sides or bottoms required. See main post if needing to stagger cut pieces
  6. Add any extra stud work for extra supports if similar to my example
  7. Screw ply lining to frawework, making sure you don't screw through pipes - it's best to make references
  8. Paint and caulk to blend in with wall.

The Carpenter's Daughter
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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