Many older homes use radiant heat to keep the house warm. Along with radiant heat comes cast iron radiators. Some homes have updated the heating system so that the radiators are no longer in use. If this is the case you can cover them up by building radiator covers. For shorter radiators that sit underneath windows, make a radiator cover that doubles as a window seat. This helps to make use of a space that was no longer usable.
Measure the height, depth and width of the radiator. Add 2 inches all the way around for clearance.
Cut the plywood to the necessary measurements. You will need two pieces for the sides, two pieces for the front and the back and then one more piece for the top. Check to make sure that your radiator is not attached to the wall. If it is, make adjustments in the plywood for the back piece by cutting notches to fit around any fixtures or pipes that connect to the wall. If your radiator is attached to the wall, you can eliminate the back piece.
Stand the side pieces on their edges. Place the front piece on top, making sure to align the edges so that they are flush. Apply a bead of wood glue all the way down the edges where the two pieces meet. Secure the two pieces together by screwing in 3-inch wood screws. Put four to six screws in each side depending on the height of the window seat.
Repeat Step 3 to attach the back to the radiator cover window seat. This will create a box that is open at the top and bottom.
Set the box upright and use the wood glue and the screws to attach the top.
Cut three pieces of wainscoting to the same measurements as the two sides and the front. Covering the back is not necessary since no one will see it. Attach these pieces to the sides and the front using finishing nails.
Use the mitre saw to cut 6 pieces of moulding. Cut two for the top and bottom of the front of the radiator cover window seat and 4 for the top and bottom of the sides. Cut them at a 45 degree angle to allow them to fit together at the corners. Attach them using the finishing nails.
Make a cushion for your window seat by cutting a 3-inch thick piece of foam that is the same length and width as the top of the radiator cover. Cut out fabric large enough to wrap the foam as you would a present.
Follow the directions to the iron-on hem tape, as some instructions may vary from brand to brand, to enclose the foam inside the fabric without having to sew.
Set the completed radiator cover over top of the radiator and top with the cushion for comfort.
You can sew a cushion cover for your window seat instead of using the hem tape. Sew the cover just as you would when recovering a cushion for a piece of furniture. For radiators that are still in use, replace the plywood and the wainscoting with metal screening. Build a frame that will fit around the radiator and fill in with the screen.
Tips and warnings
- You can sew a cushion cover for your window seat instead of using the hem tape. Sew the cover just as you would when recovering a cushion for a piece of furniture.
- For radiators that are still in use, replace the plywood and the wainscoting with metal screening. Build a frame that will fit around the radiator and fill in with the screen.