Floor-to-ceiling bookcases and radiators - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-21-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Floor-to-ceiling bookcases and radiators

I would like to build a floor-to-ceiling bookcase going wall-to-wall. The trouble is that I have a radiator on the bottom of the wall. The radiator is small -- maybe 8" tall and comes out 3" from the wall. It goes all around the house (basically on the bottom of every wall). It's not a problem for furniture (which I just leave 3" from the wall, with occasionally things falling awkwardly on the radiator). On wall-to-wall bookcases, I can do a cut-out in back (it's small enough to not cause a problem), but I'm not quite sure what to do at the ends.



How do I do supports? I think a wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase would look really awkward with a 3" gap at the end (plus, I wouldn't mind the extra 3" of storage space).



Any ideas?
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 07:12 AM
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Hmmm.. my first thought is, will said bookcases mind having all that dry heat. I might look into removing those sections of baseboard heat that interfere. If left, you could scribe the end to fit over the heat.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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I think they'll be okay with the heat. It's not a lot of heat. The radiators run all around the house, and so no section individually gets all that hot.



The problem isn't the back -- as you suggest, I can do a cut-out (and I was planning a larger cut-out than scribing -- I'd like to give room for heat to dissipate into the room).



The problem is corners. Each end of a normal bookcase is a vertical board. The radiator is right where that board ought to go. I'd need some kind of in-set support or something, and I'm not sure how best to do that.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 08:09 AM
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I wouldn't build over a heat source like that.

For a floor to ceiling bookcase you will need some sort of base, or you are going to trim it with some wide molding at the top unless you build them in place.

I would build a base for the book case to set on, move the radiator to the front of that base and cover it with some sort of decorative grill. Either that or remove it, those are the 2 of the right ways to do it, covering it is not the right way.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 08:17 AM
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deleted, somehow got a double post.

Last edited by GeorgeC; 12-22-2019 at 08:32 AM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12penny View Post
Hmmm.. my first thought is, will said bookcases mind having all that dry heat. I might look into removing those sections of baseboard heat that interfere. If left, you could scribe the end to fit over the heat.

I totally agree. That was also my first thought when I read this post. Not only will the bookcase not like it, the radiator will be unable to do its function of heating the room.


Is this al electric or water radiator?



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post #7 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Water. I'm not sure how to move it or remove it. The unit is pretty ancient at this point, and I've never touched anything with plumbing myself.

It also definitely doesn't get all that hot. It's warmer than body temperature, but it's perfectly comfortable to touch.

Furniture has always stood in front of these units, since the house was built.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-22-2019, 10:56 PM
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Is there a way you could vent it?

People make radiator covers all the time .

They are able to lent the heat out into the room

Maybeput some slats on the toes kick to allow te heat to escape in the room?

Here are some photos of a basic radiator cover. Maybe you could come up with a way to vent your radiator

https://radiatorcovers.com/product-c.../basic-covers/

Last edited by sancho57; 12-22-2019 at 10:59 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-24-2019, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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I am definitely planning to vent it somehow. I haven't figured out the best way to do that. The simplest way is to just make the back of the bottom shelf open, so air can move around, and to be careful of what I put on that shelf. Another is to raise it up on legs.

One of my major goals for this project is to make this maintainable. I care about functionality much more than aesthetics. Many of the traditional radiator covers are dust magnets, and I'm trying to come up with a design that's easy to clean. More broadly, I'm planning to cover the bookcases in some way. A barrister bookcase would be awesome, but I think too much time and material. I'm thinking of either curtains or sliding doors (there isn't room for doors which open out everywhere).

More broadly, to give an idea of the space, it's a bit over 7 feet high. It's 24-feet long, but there's a structural member in the middle, so it's naturally two 12-foot spaces. Each of these can be further subdivided into three roughly 4-foot segments, each with its own shelves and cut-outs (we have two windows and a wall-mounted AC which naturally subdivide-up the space).
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-26-2019, 01:01 PM
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I would make sure you have a way to access those baseboard heaters in case there ever is an issue and it needs serviced. The bookcase I'd have raised up with a vent running along the front, think like the toe-kick panel of your kitchen cabinets. You could even install some 240mm PC fans to help pull the air out from underneath the cabinet.
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-26-2019, 09:49 PM
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Pete, some pictures would really help.
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Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-30-2019, 08:23 AM
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Something else to possibly consider, do building codes allow for something to be built over top of these heaters?
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-30-2019, 09:07 AM
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A quick google search for "building around baseboard heaters" produced a lot of images and ideas.

The common thread I noticed in the 10 seconds I perused the images was that they all built above the heaters, and did not really encase them. Most of the structures had legs in the front and the cases affixed to the wall with spacing above and away from the heat source.
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