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There has been a change in how old baseboard heaters are decoratively rejuvenated. Perfectly functional, yet ugly as sin baseboard radiators are everywhere. Their reputation is undisputed. But it should be made clear that the design of hot water baseboard is so good that finned tube element from the Truman era continues to still put out reliable heat year after year. While the three decades following the end of WWII marked a boom era for so called “perimeter heat” folks nowadays are seeking out low cost ways to restore these things.
So where are the deep discounts on baseboard heater covers? Some people are fooled into thinking dummy covers are the low cost solution. These thin gauge monuments of the 1950s are the bargain bin item of 2014, or so it might seem at first. Although dummy covers still haunt the aisles of many Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, the dummy cover relic has evolved from being the only solution to the choice of the uninformed, those with extremely poor taste and the interior designer who’s been asked by their client to keep the place “mint”. Problem is, their low cost appeal quickly evaporates when the installation labor costs are added. DIY they are not. Cheap? Not when the installation labor costs are added.
If you’re looking for a discount, consider the big picture. Fact is, baseboard heaters are everywhere in a home that employs boiler baseboard heat and a sound renovation strategy is needed. Way back when these puppies were installed, nobody cared if they would rust. Replacing the covers wasn’t on the contractor’s radar at the time. Besides, if a replacement was ever needed, it would mean a nice sized project awaited a lucky contractor. Cha ching. Hence the big picture needs to account for the long term liabilities like rust and the cost of dealing with such a mess. In a typical sized home, this can involve over 100 linear feet of baseboard panel that will be crying out for attention. If the dummy covers are installed, our research suggests a master plumber will spend a full 20 minutes per linear foot to remove the old covers, patch the wall, and install the new “discount” dummy covers. Loosely translated that works out to about $20 – $40 per linear foot in labor costs alone. This makes Baseboarders look like the discount option. Easy slip-on installation = $0 per linear foot.
The trend towards the do it yourself easy slip-on baseboard heater cover started back in 2007 when we launched Baseboarders. Not only did the overall cost of a baseboard heater renovation go down, the overall visual aesthetic went up. Way up. Baseboard heater covers can easily become the architectural highlight of any interior space. Always in a prominent location, it can say a lot about someone’s design taste and attention to detail. Architects and interior designers routinely specify Baseboarders from residential bathroom remodels to college dorm upgrades to new construction of high-end lofts in Manhattan.
Every consumer wants a great deal when it comes time to renovate their old baseboard heaters. They also expect their heating system to continue to function properly with minimal annual maintenance. Utilizing a design that ensures sufficient air flow around the finned tube element is a must. Manufacturing a high-quality product in Canada using raw materials from the United States is a bonus. Rejuvenating an entire house full of hot water baseboard heaters in less than 30 minutes by yourself is rewarding. Standing back and reflecting on the overall value added to the property by dropping on a few Baseboarders panels, well that’s one heck of a deal.