Baseboard Radiators and the Renovation Dilemma
It doesn't matter if you call them baseboard radiators, baseboard heaters, perimeter heaters, baseboard registers or those old metal rads; it's all the same thing. What most people will agree on is that they're ugly. So what are you supposed to do? From my experience there are two routes. The first and most common is to just paint them. Not very effective though. The other way is the dummy replacement method. Usually not a DIY job as it involves slow tedious skilled work that leads to less than impressive results. It's also worth considering that the labor costs can be a nasty surprise on these jobs if hired help is required.
This long-standing dilemma led to the development of the easy slip-on baseboard heater cover. When I conceived the idea back in 2007 it seemed more of an obvious solution than a clever idea. The back plate was already nailed to the wall and getting it off for easy replacement was clearly not going to happen. This was an inherent property of the original cover design. So why not leave it there and use it as a secure anchoring point I thought. All of the other bits were so flimsy and prone to falling apart that they would have to be abandoned. The copper/pex pipes and finned tube element were going to have to remain strictly off-limits as this part of the heater requires special skills to replace. Fortunately these functional parts rarely need to be replaced anyway, so they could be considered a non-issue for visual renovation purposes. The final piece of the puzzle was the varying geometries in existence today. Dozens of finned tube element manufacturers over several decades introduced their own designs, color options and brand names. What they seemed to agree on was maintaining a fairly consistent height and depth geometry. This was the key in designing the one size fits most architecture that Baseboarders has used since day one.
Easy slip-on Baseboarders are essentially the modern third option. They represent a solution that is super easy to install and yield the most attractive results. For most baseboard heater renovation projects in 2014 and beyond, Baseboarders have become and will likely remain as the standard go-to solution.